The summer movie season is upon us.
The tried-and-tested “comic book superhero movie” formula continued its consistent success with American audiences as The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ opened this past weekend with an impressive $92 million domestic box office hit.
What is it about these characters and their stories that has made them so much more successful now with mainstream moviegoers than they ever were as little as a decade ago?
Visual effects technology has grown by leaps and bounds–that much is for sure. Modern acting is now presenting superhuman characters within the everyday blue-collar grind of very human relationships with friends and family.
We seem to be drawn to the “everyday guy possesses incredible superpower but conducts business-as-usual among friends and family” condescension like moths to flame.
I think that’s because these movies, rather than centering their storylines around the things that make superhumans super, are far more focused on the things that make them human. In “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the operative word is “Man.”
Call me a nerdy fanboy (and you’d be totally right) but I see a little bit of myself–a little bit of all of us–reflected in Peter Parker, his experiences with friends and family, and how he reacts to adversity.
These are the real-life lessons I’ve learned from Spider-Man:
1) Bad things happen. What makes us “good people” and “bad people” is how we choose to act when they do.
2) Grieving isn’t about forgetting people. It’s about “finding a better place” inside ourselves for them.
3) We can’t control the consequences of our actions.
4) There’s a big difference between a “secret” and something “sacred.”
5) With great power comes great responsibility.
6) If you’re going to do something, do it right and do it well.
7) Our hardest trials can change us into better versions of ourselves–if we are humble enough to let them.
8) Good people do what they do because they love others. Bad people do what they do because they love themselves.
9) Our most valuable possessions in life are the lasting relationships we build with the people we love.