If only Hol­lywood knew that with great power comes great responsibility. 

As is the case with most Marvel movies, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” released in December, was a spec­tacle filled with excellent ani­mation and thrilling action sequences. 

In an inter­esting twist, actors Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, who played the 2012 and 2002 Spider-Man, returned to the screen to reprise their role as the newest Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, acci­den­tally sum­moned them to his uni­verse with a magic spell. 

Marvel took full advantage of Spider-Man’s fanbase and used famous lines and plot points from the old films to shape how Maguire’s and Garfield’s char­acters inter­acted with the new universe.

While the movie was well done, it’s sym­bolic of the state of modern media and the rotten culture we live in. 

Old lines were scat­tered throughout the new movie and used to call back to the old Spider-Man films. They were easily rec­og­nizable by the char­acters’ emphasis, but many of the ref­er­ences fell through. I was mad I had not rewatched the old films in advance, then I realized that was absurd. 

Why should a movie from a decade prior determine my enjoyment of the one I am cur­rently watching? I was denied full enjoyment because the writers of the movie assumed I would remember movies they didn’t write.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is only one movie, but rep­re­sen­tative of an entire class of media being pro­duced by Hol­lywood. Nothing new is being created, only new spins on old concepts. 

“Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “The Kingsmen,” “The Matrix,” “Scream,” and “West Side Story” are cur­rently in the­aters; not one of them uses an original concept. Each movie is either a remake, or relies on the knowledge of past films to get people in the theater. 

Cre­ativity has been put on the back burner in an effort to ensure profits, and we’re left with a stagnant cin­e­matic culture. It lacks any identity of its own. This ulti­mately reveals a deeper theme of cow­ardice — it is easy to remake some­thing that has already been approved by audi­ences and much more dif­ficult to create a story that an audience does not know and approve of. 

The ten­dency of the cre­ative class to repeat art in the modern West is deeper than any one industry. Risk-taking, greatness-chasing, and glory-earning are roundly objected to by those who seek to cement their own position. The cin­e­matic industry has the ability to be true agents of culture, cre­ating envi­ron­ments to explore the most important things about human exis­tence, but instead it cur­rently chooses to only pass where others have gone before. 

This cannot con­tinue. Movie­goers and art patrons must reward those who create bold, inter­esting work, and even fail at it, or else we risk an extinction of tasteful  media. Spider-Man learns that “With great power comes great respon­si­bility.” It is time for the cin­e­matic influ­encers of Western culture to use their power for good.