The new Spider-Man movie was okay. I audibly groaned at certain segments (wait, lizard-man cops?) and openly weeped at others (UNCLE BEN NOOOOOOOOOOOOO), but all in all, it was fine enough. It was no Spider-Man 2, but few things are, and it's an unfair standard.
A friend of mine was whining about the need for a "reboot" just five short years after the last flick. And it's true—they recast from the ground up, got a (crappy) new director, made it all "grim and gritty" instead of, you know, fun—but the last flick wasn't all that well-received, so from a financial perspective, yeah, I guess it makes sense.
I got to thinking about who made that decision, who it was that took the reins from genius Sam Raimi and put them in the hands of the walking She-and-Him song who made 500 Days of Summer, the most misogynistic piece of claptrap ever wiped from the last ten years of cinema's shoe, who decided to make it more like Twilight than like the Busby Berkeley-meets-Three Stooges-meets-Vertigo of the first three. Where was the fun? Where was the goofy humor? Where was the "with great power comes great responsibility" stuff? That is Spider-Man, and this suit sitting on a pile of money while wearing a suit made of money and drinking money-infused scotch distilled from single-grain money while he burns money for warmth, it was ultimately his decision to do this, and he doesn't understand. Spider-Man isn't his, he's mine.
What's in that dude's checkbook? I asked. What's the long game? I wondered if they were trying to set up a new franchise, or if they were going to pull some retcon crap at the end, just so they could start it all over again and hire the 12-year-old star of High School Musical 7: Schoolz Out LOL to play my beloved Peter Parker, while Suri Cruise gets to play Gwen Stacy, my first love, leaving me dramatically overreacting to it.
But you know what? They'll never kill Spider-Man in a movie. It just can't happen. They sell too many underoos and action figures and cartoons on DVD and theme park rides and electric toothbrushes to let Spider-Man just die. And even if he did, by some random fluke of focus groups who decide that the death of your main character was "kewl, dawg," they'd just wait a few years, bring on a new gang, and get cracking all over again.
Everything would be okay.
And I guess that's sort of how I think of God. Not as a know-it-all production executive focused exclusively on market research and demographics, but maybe as someone who sorta just gets it. He/She/It understands how it all works—how it all has to work—and operates accordingly, knowing that, in the grand scheme of things, it's all gonna be okay.
Sure, bad things are going to happen. Uncle Ben is gonna die, just like he did in the comics. Captain Stacy's dad's gonna die, just like he did in the comics. And Gwen—sweet, sweet Gwen—is gonna die, too, just like she did in the comics. And eventually, at some point during his natural life, Peter Parker himself, our beloved hero and inspiration since childhood when asthmatic lungs sidelined us from sports and put our butts on bleachers and our noses in novels, the kid who learned to handle death at too young an age and by too great a frequency and all in the service of the good he thought he could do:
he's gonna die, too. Just like you are, like I am, we all are.
And there's God, just like that Sony exec, all-powerful, waiting to see how we'll react. We all know what's eventually going to happen—so does He/She/It—but that doesn't mean it won't be painful.
But it doesn't mean it won't be great, either. There are so many things that we have here to make us happy, to light those fires behind our eyes and carve smiles where they wouldn't normally belong, the music, the sunrises, the good beer, the lovely women (and handsome men, if you're into that kind of thing), the warm breeze of a southwestern August night, the Vonnegut novels, the adorable penguin videos, the dog who would follow you anywhere, the Blue Planet documentaries, the cross-country road trips in search of lost loves, the 2 AM phone calls you hope that you'll always be awake for, the broken shards of relationships we use to build our new futures, and the futures that we hold up like a carrot on a stick to chase until we get there:
all of that is there. And I don't think of God as a sentient being, or even of a cosmic force, but as something sorta inbetween. But whatever God is, whether it's just the driving principle behind the universe, the singularity that expanded into a primordial soup from which our biological ancestors ascended, or an old white dude with a great big beard writing stuff on tablets for human consumption, He/She/It is there.
And this world is gonna keep on going, until maybe it doesn't anymore. And I can't think of anything more beautiful than that.
God, however you understand Him/Her/It, is There, one of the only absolutes we have, and the notion that this ball will keep on rolling is what keeps me going.
Because nobody should be left behind.