upper room daily devotions

Monday, May 07, 2007

update on spidey and forgiveness


It seems that searches for information about Spidey and forgiveness are quite the rage these days. I am having more hits than usual on this blog from people interested in exploring the theme and the movie. Sam Raimi is no stranger to exploring spiritual themes in his movies. It shouldn't be a surprise that he does it this time. What is interesting, though, is that he doesn't succumb to the temptation in Hollyobvious by hitting us over the head with overblown metaphors and imagery. Instead, the characters' need to seek and offer forgiveness is integrated throughout the storyline. Peter is Everyman, unlike Superman who is a Christ figure. Peter is just like you and me - flawed, timid, and searching. His path is neither straight nor fated. What happens in his life results from the choices that he makes - just like you and me. And the choices that he makes have repercussions for those around him. The same is true for the other characters in Spiderman 3. The formation of "Sandman" is the result of bad circumstances and worse choices. Marko Flint, driven by a need to take care of his child, commits a crime that culminates in the death of Peter's beloved uncle. Escaped from prison, he makes a series of even poorer choices that lead him into a situation in which he is transformed into the supervillain Sandman. Eddie Brock, driven by his ambition, chooses himself over others time and again until the same alien goo that turns Spidey black infects him, making Venom. Peter, Marko, and Eddie need forgiveness for the things that they have done and for the decisions that they have made. Peter's good friend Harry turned Goblin Jr. is driven by his need to avenge his father's death, which he attributes to Spiderman. And last, there is Mary Jane. She is hurt by the blackness growing inside of Peter and wounded by the hate growing inside of Harry. The betrayal that she experiences reminds her of her years growing up with an alcoholic father. Sam Raimi could have overdone any of these situations, but he doesn't. Instead, the superhero and his supervillains are humanized. They are wounded characters seeking a way back to wholeness. Some find this path and others don't. I'm excited to see so many people searching for information about the theme of forgiveness in this movie. Perhpas it has touched a nerve in people reminding us that we all need to extend a little forgiveness and we might even need to ask for it as well.

2 comments:

Miss Eagle said...

Over at The Eagle's Nest, I post from time to time on the topic of public forgiveness. When Bill Clinton said he was sorry how is forgiveness established between him and the public? Conversely, in recent times in Oz when a public figure with a fair bit of status appeared in court on charges relating to fraud and said he was sorry - it didn't seem too sincere. What about the matter of public forgiveness in such a case? Do you know about The Forgiveness Project. See the site at http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/
Then there is the case here in Oz of Baptist Churches sprouting signs that say "Jesus loves Osama": see http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/01/world/main2420546.shtml
I know forgiveness can take time - it can take time for the person to be forgiven to truly understand the situation and come to a truly contrite spirit; it can take time for the wounded, the victim to let forgiveness grow in amongst the wounds, the scar tissue and the memories. How do you think Americans will be able to forgive Al-Qaeda - how long - what might be the process - what will the signs of public forgiveness be? Or will there never be forgiveness - only an image of death: by gun or bomb or a hangman's rope or lethal injection?

rev katie m ladd said...

Miss Eagle
Those are interesting thoughts. The processes of forgiving and receiving forgiveness certainly aren't easy as you point out. I also think that the American people are being formed by an ethic that values retribution over forgiveness, retribution even over justice. Good luck with your exploration into forgiveness. It sounds very interesting.

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