(Movie cover art courtesy of spidermanfarfromhome.movie)
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WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Growing Up – Spidey Style
By Sarah Komisky
One of the exciting things for any movie-goer is the anticipated summer season where we can escape the heat and enjoy some of the biggest popcorn movies coming to the big screen. For Marvel fans left on the edge of their seat with the dramatic Avengers: Endgame, the inevitable “must-see” was blockbuster, Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The lighthearted follow-up, complete with comedic banter a la Ned (Jacob Batalon), a cutesy teenage love story, struggles that are real, high school dilemmas, awkwardness, and even a Go-Go’s “Vacation” opener that is likable on so many levels. However, what makes the film even more brilliant is that it works as a modern commentary on adulting. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult growing up amidst very real growing pains it is very teachable soil. So, let’s get started with seven of the lessons I’ve pulled from the film on this month’s theme of adulting.
#1 Be Careful Who You Trust
One of the biggest lessons Peter Parker/Spiderman (Tom Holland) has to learn is who he can and cannot trust. While Quentin Beck AKA Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) seems initially sympathetic and willing to come fight alongside Peter when he is in trouble, he soon shows his true identity as a villain. In pursuit of power and control, he uses Parker, taking advantage of his innocence. In turn, we can be manipulated when we don’t use discernment with others. Someone can be one way initially, but time will tell their character and motives – for better or worse. Adulting means being wise in this area.
#2 Run to Your Happy Place
When Parker is pummeled by Beck, h is at a loss when it comes to his relationships at school, and confused as a superhero. He is left in a dejected state. Then comes long-time friend and assistant to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). H came to Parker’s rescue in an aircraft when he’s was stranded, cleaned up his wounds and allows Parker to vent his pain. Hogan becomes a shelter to Peter. Giving him sound advice, he encourages Parker to move forward and he also protects Peter and his friends when they are in jeopardy. This beautifully illustrates the point that we all need to run to our “Happy place” when we need a shelter from the storm ( that is Jesus). The Bible is full of promises that God will be our Protector! Furthermore, God brings people in our lives to help us do life and be down for the long haul. Adulting is about knowing where to run in the storm.
#3 Know Your Vulnerabilities
Parker was in a vulnerable place as a teenager, as a new superhero, and as someone facing loss. Beck was someone who had a similar story. Someone who in fact reminded him of his former employer Iron Man AKA Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), when he was far from home (no pun intended). Therefore, bonding and friendship happened quickly because of their similar stories and similar superhero goals. However, Parker was taken off guard when he entrusted too much, too soon. In turn, we must know our vulnerabilities and to do all we can to protect them from our spiritual Enemy known as the Devil, who seeks our demise (especially if you are following God). He will try to trap us in the areas we are most vulnerable. Adulting is being aware of your vulnerabilities and doing what we can to guard them, so we aren’t left hurt.
#4 Face Your Fears
Even though Stark (Iron Man) believed in Peter, Peter didn’t believe in himself. Throughout the film, he wrestles with self-doubt feeling ill-equipped even after he is approached by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) the leading agent of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D when evil attacks rise up aboard. Initially, Peter declines and avoids Furies calls, choosing to be a normal teen instead. And one of the main reasons Parker entrusts E.D.I.T.H (Stark’s glasses equipped with artificial intelligence) to Beck, granting access to Stark Industries databases and more, is because he thinks Beck is more equipped and mature for the job. Just like Peter, you might be young or feel not enough, but God has chosen you! He believes you’re the right person for the job, so step confidently into it and He will equip you. Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk on the phone and have a direct conversation versus relying on texting. Texting can come off wrong, confusing and it also is unprofessional if you’re answering someone in the professional world. Regardless you don’t want to miscommunicate with anyone in general.
#5 Own Your Mistakes
In the film, Peter makes a few mistakes, not only with Beck, such as misfiring via E.D.I.T.H. (#oops!). However, when he and MJ (Zendaya) discovers Beck’s true identity as a villain, he seeks to make things right. Ultimately, good triumphs as Spiderman takes on Mysterio, disrupting the illusion, regains control of E.D.I.T.H, calling off drone attacks, and ultimately confronts Beck to defeate him.
#6 Train For Battle
Every superhero needs training to gain victory. Spiderman learned from his battle with Mysterio how to overcome illusion and trickery. In the same way, through life we learn how to spiritually arm up for battle and fight to win. We train. We wise up. So don’t get down when you fall down. Get back up ( 2 Corinthians 4:8-12) and try again. Your failures and your enemies will make you stronger. Peter discovered Beck’s drones and projector. We too need to discover the traps Satan uses and counter them with spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6 talks about our spiritual armor and weapons).
#7 Get Real
In this film, Peter deals with his feelings for M.J. ( Zendaya). He tries to buy her a gift, switching seats on an airplane to try to get closer to her, as well as attempting small talk. Sharing his woes with others, Parker tries to figure out how to approach M.J. – awkwardness and all. When he is honest and direct about his feelings, he actually finds out M.J. likes him too! Lesson learned – have a DTR (define the relationship) talk. Adulting is about being honest about your feelings when it comes to relationships. It’s not about dishonesty. Adulting is about communication because that person’s feelings (and your own) should be treated with honor, honesty, and respect.
There you have it! My 7 Spidey lessons on adulting. Hope you had fun and learned something along the way. And, if you haven’t seen the film, let this be a reason to do so! Marvel plus adulting…I say win/win!