Sunday, July 9, 2017
The web-strand you can't have dissolve, in "Spider Man: Homecoming"
If most of his fellow students had to choose between being Peter Parker with his Spider-Man abilities, but without him having any connection to Tony Stark or the Avengers, or being Peter Parker sans the abilities but with an actually real scholarship funded by Stark, I wonder which one they would choose. Actually, I don't wonder -- these days, almost all of them would be savvy enough to automatically choose to be the Parker who knew Stark.
This Peter Parker, updated to seem plausible in the contemporary era, is evidently going to some kind of private school (how could someone who's known as a top science genius that could draw an industrial giant like Stark to him, and who's going to a high school the rich would accept as sufficiently esteemed to perform its expected role in accenting their kids' reputation, be going to anything other than a prestigious private high school?) -- some place where the future elites are being groomed and made. And to them what is Peter Parker alone, even in full knowledge of him as the Spider-Man, but a guy who's strong and fast but who doesn't have parents who are of the professional class, who lives in a poorer neighbourhood, and who seems fixated on devoting his time and talents towards a career which would have him forever patrolling lower-income neighbourhoods for crime, in some kind of psychosis-driven ritual of trauma repetition. "Looking out for the little guy," is only something one is supposed to do if you can resumé it, dumb-ass; otherwise it's time away from doing the things you need to do keep yourself apart from this sort of human slime.
He'd look like a guy due for a career which would have him categorized as more akin to the baddy in the film, the “Vulture,” than different from him, in that he'd be someone, for spending all his time amongst the neglected, amongst "junk," he'd never really figure on anyone really important's radar (the Vulture endures as a successful criminal for not being big-game enough to be worth the Avenger's while, and for being far too much for street police to handle (FBI involvement begins to become a different matter): he's secured a neglected niche where he can readily handle all threats). One can imagine a mayor of New York City, put there because his interest is foremost in keeping the affluent 1 %, in keeping the elite-education, managerial class, happy, describing the realm Peter operates in as: "in this neighbourhood, we've got spectacular vultures grabbing at alien-radiated crap, spiders outside any you've ever seen, and lots and lots of poor people that are as drug-addled and schizophrenic as anyone can be and still sorta walk and still sorta function -- they’re all sort of spectacularly weird in their own way, and you should definitely steel yourself away from the mesmerizing draw of this local spot of intense mutation and degradation, against its phantasmagoria, and ignore the entirety of it. To wander within, is your oblivion."
The biggest joke, the largest humiliation, in the film, is what happens in our estimation of the Vulture when he is revealed as the popular girl's father rather than whom we'd been groomed to expect to find serving that familial role for this very affluent, poised and intelligent girl, who operates as if under the assumption that everything she wants in life will naturally unfold for her and is so isolated in her privilege that she is befuddled to understand that not everyone experiences life the same assured way -- an aristocratic Obama type. No way; you've just become a pretender when you're meant to be at your most menacing: no guy ten years back who was all working class is going to pass now as amongst the professional class, no matter how much he learns how this sort dresses themselves and articulates their remaining hair. It's one of the great cruelties of our age: we're back to a time where what constitutes the gentry is so refined and hard to achieve without countless years being amongst that sort to get all the thousands of preferences and mannerisms straight (it's not just that you know to read the New Yorker, but that you know how to properly reference the articles you read in the New Yorker), you'll never catch up unless you belong to a protected class of people aristocrats want to deem caught up, even if they still actually have much to learn themselves -- and white, Irish, blue-collar... ain't anywhere near that.
I think young kids watching the film would be traumatized if they sensed that what appeared to happen to Peter actually had happened -- namely, being irrevocably divorced from further connection with either Stark or the Avengers for some intolerable act of deliquency. They’d see his future fate as akin to what happens to the most popular girl's -- he’d be revealed as someone of working class DNA rather than someone who’s future is a given given the nature of his fortuitous affilitations, and he’d be plunked back to the equivalent of her fleeing back to some irrelevant part of the country to spend life outside notice (she goes back to Portland, which isn't the same as saying she's headed back to Oregon with her tail between her legs, and certainly distant from being sent back to some place absolutely hopeless, like Appalachia, but it is meant to feel like a deeper demotion than just retreating to smaller urban hipsterville).
And his aunt, May... and Aunt May wouldn't be someone who is effectively marginalized in prowess as some lone individual pit against the will of the Marvel Empire, someone on the periphery, that is, who could never really serve to waylay Peter with her hysteria over his extra-curricular activities without finding herself banished from the Marvel cosmos, but the powerful loadstone he'd come home to everyday who's sure to catch him out near daily on some ostensibly private act of exploration of his own, that'll mortify him so bad he could barely breathe afterwards... I'm Spider-Man, I'm, Spider-Man... but I panic at my "mom" catching me unaware... doing anything!
If he pleaded to the gods to take away all his superpowers but granted back his Tony Stark affiliation / scholarship, they’d be with him in this, absolutely. And, identifying with him, if his appeal was somehow heeded, they’d mentally plead that next time he ever should miss a prestigious science fair or math competition in Washington D.C. to help out a member of the distressed that fell into his path, to at least make sure he not rest content with having done the good deed but follow it up by making it his good samaritan, college entrance essay to MIT.... "I wanted nothing more than to help my teammates win the nationals for math excellence, but alas across my path was a suffering elderly woman--". And, of course, since this would be only something he’d have to do once, to be sure to spend all subsequent time inflating other performance metrics, like SAT scores.
Absent that, he's "Good Will Hunting" with abilities that would draw a Harvard-educated scoundrel to draw back from his taunting and be dazed in amazement, momentarily, but only momentarily, as the scoundrel recollects, correctly, that without connections all that ability won't take him outside the class he was born to... it won't amount to shit. Without the unanticipated arrival of the like of Tony Stark-cred, he'll be no more than over-the-top security for low-rent neighbourhoods, for life.
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