Monday, December 20, 2021

Learn to love yourself, Spiderman.

I’ll let you know when the major spoilers start. Very minor spoilers for now.

Was Spiderman: No Way Home the best superhero movie of the last decade? Well, probably. I loved it, not gonna lie. I’m a pretty big geek, though. 

(Quick recap of the ending of the last movie) The movie starts off right as the last one ended. Mysterio has revealed Spiderman’s identity to the world, which was one of Peter’s top priorities. He was scared it would endanger the people he loves or change his life, and it does alter things in ways he had hoped to avoid. He quickly becomes a worldwide celebrity instead of just a 17-year-old kid. Mysterio really messed up his life and blamed all the evils he performed (giant holographic drone monsters) on Spiderman at the end of Far from Home, which adds to the chaos. Who hasn’t wanted to change their life in some way and undo things that went wrong, especially when it hurt others? Of course Peter wants to make that right, and of course he doesn't understand the consequences that could cause.

On a different note: Multiverses can be fun. I loved when the CW series in the Arrowverse did a multiverse series and we got to see everything from Smallville to two versions of Brandon Routh standing next to each other as different characters. We even got a connection to Ezra Miller’s Flash from the Justice League movies! Those of us that have enjoyed and been along for the ride loved every second of it as all of our dreams came true right in front of our eyes. 

The introduction of the Multiverse to the MCU has been a long time coming and one that was introduced in such a fun way. The Disney+ series Loki really started that intro for us, but we haven’t seen much come of it until now. 


Oh. my. Goodness. This movie was so much fun. It was a happy minefield of Easter Eggs. 

Starting things off strong was Matt Murdock from Netflix’s Daredevil. This was a *huge* surprise to everyone, as most had assumed the Netflix Marvel shows would never really connect to the MCU. It was also perfectly timed with the reveal of the Kingpin from the same series showing up in Hawkeye only a few days before! Apparently all of those connect as well. So does Venom now. 

Hopefully you got those post-credit scenes as well, where Dr. Strange and Wand are talking about undoing this mess, or maybe it’s about stopping an evil Dr. Strange from the What if… series (which, I stand by my opinion, was mediocre at best.) It was a surprising tie-in though. 

Let’s get to the real heart of this movie, though.

Peter having to watch the people he loves get hurt and learning from other Peters who have had to do the same thing. Really, they all seemed to imply that the deaths of Uncle Ben or Aunt May right after they gave a “With great power comes great responsibility” speech was what forged Spiderman into Spiderman. It was an anchor on his path, despite it torturing him and making him angry enough to let someone die, or to kill someone. The two older Peters admitted it would hurt and haunt them the rest of their lives. 

It was also about empathy and finding our tribe. Imagine if you got to meet a different version of yourself from a different universe. What would you say if that version of you talked down to him/herself? Let it slide? Could you see the effort that person was making to be better and the successes that person has had? If so, why can’t we see that in ourselves? The other versions of us certainly could. A friend once introduced me to a wonderful song called Be Kind to Yourself by Andrew Peterson. In it he asks a really good question:

How does it end, when the war that you’re in is just you against you against you? 

You’ve gotta learn to love, learn to love, learn to love your enemy, too.

Two other Spidermen who have experienced that loss are able to help and support Peter in a way they only could, partly because they are a version of him. He was able to mourn with MJ and Ned, who could see his pain and knew him. It’s easy to tell ourselves that others don’t *really* understand though, but that’s really just a cop out as we wallow in misery. People do understand, and some of them can be safe to talk to if we’re willing to open up and be real. What if we did that and found people who could understand us in a way others didn’t fully grasp? I’ve experienced that and have tried to bring that empathy back into my life because, like in this movie, those experiences aren’t reality by themselves. We have to go back into the real world, but we have the ability to make our world a better place, full of love, compassion, and understanding. 

It still breaks my heart that Peter couldn’t let his friends share his pain, though. That wasn’t really his choice to make, especially when they had told him otherwise and to undo the spell. Do I get why he made the choice to leave them behind in the coffee shop? I do, but I still wish he had pushed through that. Having people who see us as we really are, for all that we are, is a gift. Having those people love us when we’re afraid they won’t, is a life changing gift. Check out this spot-on quote from The Moment of Lift. 

Love can transform us, when we're known and loved. The next paragraph as a wise woman told me, is where the rubber meets the road. "Trying to help others while keeping them at a safe distance cannot truly help them or heal us." Poor (literally now) Peter Parker gave that option up for his friends. 

He's going for a new beginning, I think, but he's made it a lonely one. We can do better than that. 


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