This week Sam and Zach discuss “your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.”
Sam: Spiderman is one of the greatest heroes ever created. His flaws allow audiences to relate to him easily. He has an incredible rogues gallery with quintessential villains such as Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Venom, the Lizard and Carnage.
Zach: I would have to agree with the fact that Spiderman’s villains are simply fantastic. Many of them have a personal connection to Peter Parker, so this creates a moral dilemma for the hero as he tries to defeat them. Both Dr. Otto Octavius (Dr. Octopus) and Dr. Curt Connors (The Lizard) were beloved mentors of Peter, but he is eventually forced to destroy them. Also, the Green Goblin, Spiderman’s greatest villain, is his best friend’s father. The internal conflict of Spiderman is what makes this hero one of the most intriguing and perhaps the best.
S: I would argue the best part of Spiderman’s character doesn’t always “get the girl.” Sometimes the girl dies, other times she rejects him, and he even stops himself to protect her. This makes the character of Peter Parker that much more human and fallible, and as we have discussed in weeks past, flaws are what make a hero great.
Z: Well, Spiderman is nice because he doesn’t always get the girl, but neither do a lot of other superheroes. For example, Batman didn’t get Rachel because she dated Harvey Dent and was then killed by the Joker. Daredevil doesn’t live happily ever after with Elektra because she is killed by Bullseye. Honestly, the best aspect of Spiderman is his great underdog story. He’s a small, nerdy kid bullied constantly by jocks and suddenly given an amazing new power. Peter Parker is no longer the kid who is shunned by society, but now he fights crime and upholds justice in a world of vice.
S: I will concede the point that Spiderman’s underdog story is an epic one. He is flawed but not to the extent of the alcoholic playboy Iron Man or the brooding Batman. His intentions are virtuous enough that a reader can support him without moral qualms. His flaws don’t detract from his personality, rather they add to it, in a uniquely Spiderman way.