Illustration of a boy dressed as Spider-Man eating popcorn. 

It’s been 20 years since Spider-Man. Have we reached the peak superhero? – ABC everyday

I’m not even going to pretend that the kid in the photo is supposed to be me.

When Spider-Man came out 20 years ago in 2002, I was already a grown-up nerd. And the movie just blew me away.

Seeing Tobey Maguire (or probably his stunt double) swing through New York City was so exhilarating. It wasn’t like Superman flying gracefully above the clouds or Batman slipping in and out of the shadows in Gotham. It was broad daylight, arms and legs flailing, weaving around skyscrapers and swinging dangerously close to traffic. Spider-Man was a barely mastered roller coaster ride.

There were scenes, characters, and poses that I had previously only seen on paper come to life before my eyes. The words I was only reading now were spoken by real humans (not at a comic book convention).

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Shit, it still sends shivers down my spine.

Oh, and then there’s that kiss. You know this one.

More than any other film that came before it, Spider-Man was an animated comic.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

Spider-Man has always been the people’s superhero. Superman is too perfect. A too platonic ideal. Batman is cool, but he’s too brooding. And too rich to be truly relatable. But Spidey, you can relate – a geeky kid who gets bullied at school and is in love with the sexy girl. He’s what all comic book nerds wish they were.


It really is a coming of age story. Spider-Man is about a child exploring his newfound strength and freedom and learning to deal with the consequences of his actions.

And if Peter Parker wakes up to find he can now shoot a sticky white liquid isn’t an analogy for a boy going through puberty, I don’t know what is.

There was also the New York City element. Spidey has always been tied to the city in the comics, but with the film’s release less than a year after 9/11, that connection grounded the film in time, place, and mood.

There’s a scene where the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) forces Spider-Man to choose between saving the love of his life or a cable car full of children. And as they fight, we see a crowd of people on the bridge throwing things at the green goblin and defending their man.

“You take one of us, you take all of us.”

Sounds corny now, but it affects.

Job , updated

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