Who are the bad guys in the Spider-man movies? And what does this tell us about the politics of the character?

usspirderman.jpgSpider-Man 1:
Uncle Ben’s Killer (see Spider-Man 3): A petty street crook. BUT He is allowed to kill Uncle Ben because Peter Parker does not stop him from robbing the even more evil wrestling promoter who REFUSES TO PAY PETER PARKER. Therefore a lack of power in the worker, pushes him to abrogate his responsibilities to a civil society.

The Green Goblin: OK, so Willem Dafoe’s rubbish masked baddie could be said to just fit the mad scientist model of villain. But he is more than juist a scientist. He is an industrialist working in the MUNITIONS FIELD. Thus at the heart of it, weapons technology and excessive defence funding is to blame.

Spider-Man 2:
Doctor Octopus: OK, the bad guys here are metal legs which have grafted themselves onto the good doctors back. So Technology could be seen to be the bad guy. But what was that technology for? It was to replace lab technicians, to literally give Doc Ock some extra arms. Therefore the inherent evil is mechanisation removing gainful employment from the workers.

Poverty: Remember Peter Parker almost jacks int he Spider-man gig because he cannot study, work two jobs and woo Mary Jane AND fight crime. And that flat he lives in! Without a decent system of paying for education this budding genius is clearly not making the most of his potential.

Spider-Man 3
The Sandman: Uncle Ben’s real killer (yeah right). Only takes up life of crime because his daughter is dying and he cannot get decent healthcare. Thus a searing indictment of US health policy. Also The Sandman, as a blue collar villain, is aptly constructed of thousand of grains of sand: A METAPHOR FOR THE POWER OF THE UNITED WORKERS.

The New Goblin: Son of powerful industrialist munitions geezer. Illustration of the decadence of the second generation of the rich and powerful. A bit rubbish, and also shows how even the upper classes can eventually ally themselves with the workers.

Venom: Even I am hard pushed to see the socialist relevance in an alien body suit taking over your body. But in as much as it is a black suit, like a black shirt, he is clearly a fascist symbol and indeed Peter Parker’s internal struggles illustrates the dangerous seduction of fascism. Eddie Brock’s sense of entitlement seems to underpin much fascist dogma, though as I say, it is unclear how this directly related to a blob of goo falling from outer space!

Spider-Man’s costume isn’t red for a laugh, clearly it is a political statement. After all, have you ever seen a spider that colour?