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.