Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spiderman 3 and the moral imagination

This post is interspersed with spoilers throughout. If you want to watch Spiderman 3 and have not done so, it's best to read this only after you've seen it.

"We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own. We demand windows." [1] We demand stories. It’s how we make sense of the world. Narratives grip us, for good or bad: witness the heartbreaking drama of Madeleine McCann’s kidnapping currently unfolding in the British press[2]. Negatively, it’s why gossip holds so much appeal. The windows are shut, we want them pried open. It’s Gnosticism all over again – “secret knowledge” only known to the elite.

But surely the realm of the imagination has no bearing on reality? They’re fun, they’re entertaining, great for a Saturday night out. But the world of the fictive isn’t so easily separated from what we call the “real world”. They reflect something we already know – we already have an image of New York in our minds, regardless of whether it’s accurate or not, or whether we’ve actually been to the Big Apple – before going to watch Spiderman 3. Even fantastic creations – talking animals and extraterrestrials, have something fundamentally human about them that help make them identifiable in some way to us. But they can shape us too. Fables, fairy tales, morality plays all recognise this. In Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Briony witnesses something which she can’t make heads or tails of, and, not being in possession of all sides of the story, allows her imagination to see things that aren’t quite there which ends up having real consequences. [3] "In works of fiction, we explore the possibilities of understanding and living in this world." [4]

Imagination is often thought of as that belonging to the special few – the artist, the inventor, the musician. But we all have imagination, it simply is that faculty which helps us explain life as it is and it ought to be. It’s part of being human, and it also is not exempt from the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Read on...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sam go home. We want Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) directing Spiderman 4

Dave Chang said...

Great example of a movie review! thx for posting this bro :)