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Monday, 13 April 2009

Web of deceit

Oh, dear! I think I’ve just had one of my childhood illusions shattered.
Spider-Man? Some sort of religious icon?

There to encourage kids to become priests and nuns?


And yet . . . and yet . . .

Oh, dear! I think I’m going to barf. Look! Even the comic we uncovered for our photo has our hero practising for the Crucifixion. This is worrying!

Scotland on Sunday told us yesterday that the Catholic Church in Scotland

has made the amazing claim that Spider-Man is an emissary of an even higher power.

They claim the superhero’s story has strong parallels with the gospel and that his selfless sacrifices and struggle against evil can even be compared to the life of Jesus.

As part of the annual Lentfest, run by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, children from Catholic schools were offered the chance to watch a special showing of the Hollywood adaptation of Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire.

The screening entitled Search for the Hero described the big-budget blockbuster as a “parable for our times” and organisers hoped the web-slinger’s travails would inspire youngsters to consider joining the priesthood or becoming nuns.

Oh, well, when you’re desperate for recruits, I guess you’ll try anything.

Yes, spandex-clad superheroes can be compared to some sort of world-saving messiah figure (if you’re that way inclined), but we don’t have to see them as Jesus figures. Anyway, JC didn't wear tights with his underpants outside them. And we know, for instance, that Clark Kent has had sex with Lana Lang (among others, no doubt) and has weaknesses (certainly in the Smallville series). Is Lang his Mary Magalene? Is Kryptonite his Pontius Pilate?

Anyway, the news story continues:

But Lentfest director Stephen Callaghan claimed the solid moral bedrock in the Spider-Man trilogy meant they ranked “among the most prominent spiritual films of our time”.

The film studies graduate said the films were infused by both overt and subtle nods to the Catholic faith.

He said: “As a trilogy there is absolutely no doubt that it explores Catholicism.

He’s a film-studies graduate, yes, but he’s also the director of this Lentfest thing. What else is he going to say? He’s casting around for meaning, as most of the Deluded Herd are. You can draw parallels with all sorts of things – and clutch at straws when belief in this stuff is dwindling in the UK and America.

I just hope I can forget about this story before I catch Spider-Man II next time it’s on the telly. It’s a bit like discovering that Batman is a child molester, or that Doctor Who is an axe murderer.

I really don’t want to think about this . . .


Stuart Hartill said...

Don't know about spandex-clad superheroes or Christians wearing their Y-fronts outside their trousers, but I was suprised to notice unusual fashions in undergarments in a bishop I once interviewed.
He breezed in wearing the full cloak and ankle length dress thingy. On happening to look at his shoes I was startled to note he was wearing long johns tucked into his socks, and no trousers!

Andy Armitage said...

I used to share a flat with a priest in Coventry and often, in the summer, he would conduct a service in the cathedral in his vestments with nothing but underclothes on underneath.

Tony_irwin50 said...

Hey there! I went to the seminar and Spiderman screening he ran at Lentfest in Glasgow. I arrived very skeptical and was just looking forward to seeing Spiderman on the big screen again. But his argument and step-by-step look through the films convinced me - all three films are steeped in Christian imagery and the controlling ideas in the three movies will resonant particularly strongly with Catholics: vocation, confession, and the belief that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness.

Are they Christian/Catholic movies? No, I don't think so - but the writers and directors do draw upon the language of Catholicism to say what they want to say about life.