The Amazing Spider-Man came out on DVD last week. When I took my boys to see the movie this summer, I was very impressed, but it wasn’t the special effects or action scenes that impressed me. What caught my attention was Peter Parker. I instantly thought he was a Peter Parker my boys could relate to, and the proof came when we left the theater. My boys announced they liked the 2012 Spider-Man better than the previous version.
This time around, Peter Parker isn’t some nerdy genius. He’s a punk with a skateboard, baggy sweatshirt, and attitude. His jeans are hanging so low that we all know what brand of boxers he wears. He has family issues. He gets picked on at school. He’s the kid everyone thinks is a waste of space, that angst-filled kid sitting in the back of the classroom plugged into his iPod. The kid who wants to be something more but doesn’t know what that something is or how to get there.
The Amazing Spider-Man gave audiences a vivid picture of an imperfect hero. It showed that heroes make mistakes—sometimes really big ones—but heroes also learn from their mistakes. They keep trying until they discover something inside themselves that isn’t defined by family circumstances, report cards, or a bank account.
A hero isn’t someone who gets it right every time. A hero is someone who makes a choice to step beyond their circumstances and do something extraordinary, and that’s the most amazing thing about The Amazing Spider-Man. It showed that even a punk kid can find a purpose. Anyone can become a hero.
I can’t honestly say that I like the 2012 Andrew Garfield version of Spider-Man better than the Tobey Maguire version, but it was pure genius to update Peter Parker and make him someone teens could identify with. Movie-makers found a way to connect with an entire generation of young adults, and they might just inspire a few of them in the process.
©2012 Kim Vandel