Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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Saturday, July 24, 2004
Spins a web, any size...

Spiderman, Spiderman...
Does whatever a spider can...
Spins a web, any size...
Catches thieves, just like flies...
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman!

To me, this neighbourhood Spider Man jingle forms the real theme of the movie SpiderMan2. The movie is an exceedingly mature portrayal of a Super Hero's real life, something that can be related to so much of what actually happens around us. Peter Parker is the average guy next door, who has his own concerns and life. He goes to college, is quite brilliant at his studies. He has money problems just like the rest of us. He makes ends meet by doing some free lance job for the news paper, The Daily Bugle, inspite of getting repeated 'firings' from the boss. He delivers Pizza and that too, just a minute late, making the Pizza company pay for the order. He is Peter Parker...he is SpiderMan. This is where the jingle comes in. He is the hero who saves so many people in trouble. He is the hero who is on top of the favorite lists of all kids on the block. He is the hero who is swooned over by females of all ages and classes. He is the hero who is praised in the jingle that is sung at the local inn.

The question that is raised by the movie is if this hero is actually up to the task that has been thrust upon him. With great power comes great responsibility...Peter's uncle had said once...but does he really want to take up this responsibility at all...and that too at the cost of his own love and life? To explain the philosophical side of the story, the director has taken certain liberties with the story line and the original SpiderMan idea. On the whole, however, these liberties only give back to the story, showing clearly the vulnerability of even a Super Hero...taking us through the insecurities that one can fight out of if one is able to invoke the hero within. In fact, in one of the more inspirational, yet subtle, dialogues of the movie, Peter's Aunt May tells him that there is a hero in all of us.

Coming back to the starts with the pizza delivery that I have already talked about. It goes on to show how much of a wretch Peter Parker's life has become. He is certainly pitiable with money going out of his hands as soon as it comes...with reaching college late and the instructor actually telling him that he will be failed in the course...with the guilt of his uncle's death on his conscience...with so many other worries including, primarily, the fact that the one he loves, Mary Jane Watson, is someone he can never really commit to...all this because he is Spider Man and he has a great responsibility which has come with great power. The last part about MJ is highlighted even more, keeping in mind the real comics story where MJ is, indeed, a very important and strong character, pretty much in line with Louis Lane of SuperMan. There is one very sentimental (sob sob...) part where Peter promises to come to see the play of Mary Jane (Incidentally, the play is 'Importance of being Ernest', one of the more comical plays I have read) and is actually not able to make it as he has to save some people from harm. The disappointment of MJ, the resigned and defeated attitude of Peter are really well executed.

To set the cash registers ringing, the story line also has one of the typical Spidey villains and this time, it is Dr. Octavius or Dock Ock, as the papers call him. With a fusion experiment gone haywire, Dr. Octavius, the scientist, is turned into Dr. Octopus, the monster. He wants to complete his unfinished fusion experiment and this time, the monster will do whatever it takes. The nuclear material is available with Harry Osborne, son of Norman Osborne (The Green Goblin). Harry trades the nuclear material with Dr. Octopus in return for Spider Man (who, he believes, is responsible for the death of his father). Peter Parker knows where and who Spider Man is, since he delivers snaps of Spider Man to the local news paper. Dr. Octavius now targets Peter to know the whereabouts of Spider Man.

In the manwhile, Peter Parker is all done with his responsibilities and his color spilling costume. He decides to make an exit when even his powers start declining and he becomes the old Peter again (I don't think that this is mentioned anywhere in the original comic book story line...his losing powers). He is happy now, attending classes regularly, even being able to watch the play of MJ and possibly talk her out of her coming marriage. His reverie is finally broken by the words of his Aunt May, his own conscience and above all, the Spider Man jingle at the neighborhood joint. He is changed again, and when Octavius abducts MJ and sets Spider Man as the ransom, Spider Man comes back, and as expected of a super hero, vanquishes all enemies to emerge victorious. During the course of all this, he even manages to show his identity to a number of people in the train scene (well executed again, but perhaps not in line with the comics where he hardly shows his identity to any one), and finally even to MJ, who now knows that Peter Parker and Spider Man are the one and the same.

The story ends with Harry Osborne, who also knows the identity of Spider Man (how many more!!!), discovering the Green Goblin apparatus in his home, promising the possible return of the Goblin in SpiderMan3.

Kirsten Dunst does a good job of looking confused and even pretty in some scenes (for a change). She is exactly what the doctor ordered, pained at the neglect that Peter shows to her and then again, confused at his subsequent expressions of affection. Dr. Octavius is also played to perfection with the humane side evident in the characterisation. Instead of a hard core villain, the good doctor is efficiently shown to have been actually affected by the bane of science. The movie, however, belongs to Toby Maguire, who is brilliant in his portrayal of a real life Super Hero. He is vulnerable when he is Peter, confident and charismatic when he is Spider Man.

For the movie goers who are into Spider Man for the thrills, the movie might turn out to be a tad disappointing...but for all those waiting for a good movie in its totality, Spider Man 2 is a decent bet.

Statutory warning: All those expecting the SpiderMan1-sque kiss (as I was) junta...will not find the full satiation of their need either. :-)

Posted at 10:40 am by Nitai

July 24, 2004   05:56 PM PDT
Hey cool background pics and a nice review as usual.
July 26, 2004   07:03 PM PDT
Thank you, thank you, mon ami

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