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"Reel Spirit" is copyright by Raymond Teague, and is featured on SpiritSite.com. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"With great power comes great responsibility."

 

Raymond Teague is the author of Reel Spirit: A Guide to Movies That
Inspire, Explore and Empower
, from Unity House. 

He is an award-winning
journalist, an editor of spiritual publications, a popular New Thought
speaker, and a lifelong movie buff. 

His book is available by clicking the "Buy the Book" link above or by clicking here.

  Raymond Teague, 
"Reel Spirit" Movie Reviews

Spider-Man 
(2002, 116 minutes, PG-13)

As a role model, Spider-Man is not creepy at all. He actually spins an empowering web.

Why? Because Peter Parker, alias Spider-Man played to perfection by Tobey Maguire, lives by the Golden Rule and the second greatest commandment. It's not that Peter gets up every day and consciously focuses on the Golden Rule - "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you" - or the second greatest commandment as identified by Jesus - "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," - but it is his way of living. He unselfishly, unconditionally gives of himself to help others in need. Peter tells his arch-enemy, the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), that he helps others simply "because it's right."

It's right because from a spiritual perspective, that's part of why we are in this earthly classroom. It is in helping others - in giving understanding, tenderness, love, and compassion - that we remember our unity with each other and with God (or whatever name one prefers for the infinite spirit of life).

Peter is an especially good role model for teenagers because he is a 17-year-old who is graduating from high school and trying to find his place in the world. Despite his own confusions, doubts, and hurts, Peter is inherently responsible, resilient, determined to succeed, and altruistic. The theme of the film is presented as advice to Peter from his loving uncle: "With great power comes great responsibility" (a line included by script writer David Koepp straight from the Marvel Comics character's original writer, Stan Lee).

Peter accepts the truth of the advice and chooses to sacrifice himself for the bigger Self by helping others (even his enemies). The young man/Spider-Man learns that life is an interconnecting web in which every action or reaction has a consequence, and he wants to do his part to connect the parts of the web in a positive way and to rescue others from their own entrapments in the web.

Someone says of Spider-Man, "He protects the people." Peter is to be admired for his outlook and for his acceptance of responsibility to help make the world a better place. The Green Goblin tempts Peter/Spider-Man to unite with him for more power and control. However, Peter isn't interested in personal glory, riches, or power.

"We are who we choose to be," the Green Goblin, echoing a theme of the animated gem The Iron Giant, tells Peter. In his choices Peter repeatedly shows that he desires to live and act with compassion and integrity to serve his neighbors, again "because it's right." It is such a philosophy of living that makes Spider-Man a true super hero.

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