Monday, January 5, 2015

In Which Peter Becomes Spider-Man

I want to start by saying two things. One, I am only familiar with the movie adaptations of Spider-Man and I’ll be focusing on Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. (I know a lot of people don’t like the new ones as much as the old ones, but this was the first I ever knew him and it holds a really special place in my heart.) I have not read the comics. Two, spoilers, like usual.

Peter Parker is basically the most INFP to ever INFP. It’s almost a little scary. That is, coincidentally (or not?), also what I am. Peter is a pretty special character to me, because I’ve always empathized with him a great deal. I can point to pretty much anything he does and think, “That is exactly what I do.” This post is pretty important to me and almost a bit personal, honestly.

Peter can be described by the following adjectives: shy, awkward, loving, passionate, sweet, impulsive, and intelligent.

When we first meet Peter, we realize that this kid is an outcast. He’s intelligent and creative, but also painfully shy. He lives with his aunt and uncle, due to his parents mysteriously disappearing years before when he was little. He doesn’t know why and that has…haunted him.

The thing about Peter is that he loves so much but it all stays inside him. He doesn’t stop. He’s not the type to take loving someone for granted. Once he’s in your life, he stays there because he can’t let go. Once he asked Gwen out, nothing could keep him out of her life, not even her father’s last dying wish. (Which actually made him go through a lot of pain because he couldn’t justify being with her, but couldn’t stand to be without her. Which lead to death. Which leads to more pain.) And he is so in love with her.

One of the reasons I like Spider-Man so much is because Peter is just a teenager. He doesn’t know what he’s doing; in reality he’s still trying to find himself. He’s in that weird stage where he’s not a kid anymore, but he needs someone looking out for him, because he doesn’t really know how to do it himself. But he also doesn’t know how to let people in and do things for him. He doesn’t know how to talk about things that need to be said. He tries, oh he tries so hard, but the words just slip. (That’s me too.)

When he gets all these crazy new-found powers, he does not know what’s going on. He’s freaking out and “WHY am I breaking EVERYTHING? What is going ONNNNN?” He goes a little crazy during those first few days.

When his Uncle Ben is murdered, he feels responsible and goes on a mission to avenge his death. He puts on a mask and makes this his life mission. He becomes extremely fixated on this and I think it’s hard on him; he doesn’t really have the chance or time to grieve. He needs that to heal, but he doesn't let himself have it.

After Gwen dies, we don't see much. Just a terrifying image of a lonely Peter at her grave all year-round. Because he has that awful guilt again, that it's his fault. And now he's alone; he's just wandering. That is the moment where I most want to comfort him throughout his movies. But how could he be comforted really?

Peter is kind of who we all are as young people or teenagers or whatever. He's trying to find himself, trying to find who he really is, not who he is as defined by the people who know only the suit. He's confused and doesn't really know what to do about that. So far in his story, I think he's found it only to lose it again. We can only look forward. (Provided they don't reboot again. That rumors been floating around for awhile.)

I will end with a quote from Aunt May that I think perfectly sums up Peter, "Everyone has a part of themselves they hide. Even from the people they love most."


  1. Peter Parker really is great, isn't he? My favourite thing about him is his sense of humour. I don't think that ever quite clicked in the Tobey Maguire series (he just never seemed like Peter to me), but I think Andrew Garfield has nailed the character perfectly. After the first movie, I wasn't sure if they'd follow through with the Gwen storyline--now that they have, I'm extra curious to see where they go with the next one.

    1. I totally agree :) Andrew Garfield is perfect for Peter and he really nails Peter's snark, along with all the other aspects of his personality.