ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Spider-Man (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: May 2, 2002
CAP Score: 51
CAP Influence Density: 1.03

MinMax: -85

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

SPIDER-MAN (PG-13) -- "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!"

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director(s): Sam Raimi
Producer(s): Avi Arad, Ian Bryce, Grant Curtis, Heidi Fugeman, Stan Lee, Laura Ziskin
Written by/Screenplay: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (comic book), David Koepp (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Don Burgess
Music: Danny Elfman
Film Editing: Arthur Coburn, Bob Murawski
Casting: Lynn Kressel, Francine Maisler
Art Direction: Tony Fanning, Scott P. Murphy

[Image: ©2002 Columbia Pictures.]
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) uses subjective opinion to give their ratings. The CAP model uses mathematical objectivity. Maybe that explains the MPAA giving Spider-Man a PG-13 but the CAP analysis gives Spider-Man a score of 51, three points under the scoring range earned by PG-13s (54 to 68) in the CAP comparative baseline database. I would like to blame the three points on skewing but the CAP model has worked very successfully for seven years. But I gotta subjectively admit, Spider-Man was an amazing piece of work, comparatively lite in sexual issues, comparatively lite in language and obviously a statement of good over evil. But did evil ever make its presence known! Brutally. Spider-Man was, for the most part, true to the Spider-Man(tm) many of us grew up with but this Spider-Man, of course, has an attitude. Not at all like the Spidey we know.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a troubled and tormented teen in Queens High School. Everyone picks on him (Sound familiar? As in Columbine?). And Peter is in love with the girl next door -- for eleven years -- Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst, recently in Cat's Meow. Peter's Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) told Peter that when he first saw her he was 6 years old and he said "Aunt May! Aunt May! Is that an angel?"

But Mary Jane is "in love" with a bully named Eugene 'Flash' Thompson (Joe Manganiello). At least she thinks so. And Thompson makes certain Peter knows it. Physically. There are some episodes of "the strange kid(s)" being tormented in school and an episode of "getting even." Not a good picture to paint in these days. But I felt it, too -- the satisfaction of the bully getting his comeuppance. I've been on both sides of that fence, both giving the comeuppance and getting it. Many of us have. But that doesn't excuse it. And get even Peter does. Eventually. After putting up with only so much. He has special strength and abilities now. Why not use them? I'll leave the answer up to you.

On an outing to Columbia University's Science Department, amidst even more tormentings Peter gets bitten, graphically, by a special spider. One of fifteen like none others on the planet. Specially engineered genetically. Yes, there is presentation and discussion of evolution in this film. Indeed, some pictorial display of DNA sequences being completed to form a new species is shown. But it's a movie. It is not proof. Soon Peter starts to feel the effects of the spider bite and begins to discover some new powers and abilities.

I don't want to spoil the movie for those who will see it, but before I end the discussion about the plot and story I want to throw in a 'nice touch' on the part of the filmmakers. First, some background. The Green Goblin, who is Norman Osborne of Oscorp (Willem Dafoe) sky-surfs his way into causing a tramway car suspension system to Roosevelt Island to collapse, endangering the dozen or so kids in a car, dangling the car from its one cable in one hand high above the river and Mary Jane Watson in the other hand, asking Spidey which one he wants to save. As the battle ensues, the onlookers on the bridge start pelting the Green Goblin with anything they can throw, saying "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!" Nice touch, Sam Raimi, Stan Lee, at al. Nice touch, indeed. I am proud of you. A great "replacement" for editing out the scene of the car of bad guys hung by spider web between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Thank you. And I am sorry to hear your stunt man broke both ankles swinging onto the moving car. I hope he healed well.

I know many of our readers will watch Spider-Man. All I ask is that your somberly consider the findings we offer below and in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide to take your kids to see it or see it for yourself. I find myself wanting to let our teens watch it but not our younger ones. But I am not your gauge. The reason for this service is to objectively tell you the truth about the content of movies which the advertisements, trailers, previews, etc. can't or won't tell you so you can make an informed decision on your own by your own standards whether a film is fit for your kids and/or yourself.

In addition to the few matters mentioned above, among the issues likely to be concerns to parents and grandparents include physical assault resulting in murder, gunfire to kill, firearm to the head and armed robbery, armed mugging and armed assault [Prov. 3:31-32, Jon. 3:8]. There are eleven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary but NO uses of the most foul of the foul words [Prov. 17:20, Col. 3:8]. God's name in vain is used nine times without the four letter expletive but none with it [Deut. 5:11]. Brutal attacks, fighting and beatings, impalement death and multiple murder by explosives add to the violence of Spider-Man. Parental verbal/emotional abuse of a high school aged daughter [Eph. 6:4], lies [Rev. 21:8] and teen arrogance against a father [Is. 30:1, Eph. 6:2] blasted a few scoring points. Excess cleavage, dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure plus ghosting of female anatomy through a "wet T-shirt" led the sexual issues [Rev. 22:15]. There is more you might want to consider before making a decision about this movie. Theses and all other issues are provided in the listing in the Findings/Scoring section of this analysis report.

Thank you for your trust in this ministry. Just know that Jesus loves you, no matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter what you've heard. And you do NOT have to be "clean" to come to know Him. Whether you believe it or not.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 3:31-32 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
  • Jon. 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth [hidden, concealed] with sackcloth [worn in mourning or humiliation], and cry [for help] mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
  • Prov. 17:20 He that hath a froward [iqqesh {ik-kashe'}:twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted] heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse [haphak {haw-fak'}: to turn, overthrow, overturn; obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted] tongue falleth into mischief.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Is. 30:1 Woe to the rebellious [carar {saw-rar'}: rebellious, stubborn, revolters] children, saith the LORD, that take counsel [adopt ways, behavior], but not of me; and that cover with a covering [mask, hide], but not of my spirit [with vain and empty reasoning], that they may add sin to sin:
  • Eph. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Spider-Man (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • high school tormenting, repeatedly
  • graphic close-up of a spider bite
  • violent seizure imagery
  • explosive imagery, repeatedly
  • bully attack
  • driving without consideration of the safety or property of others
  • jumping off buildings
  • wrestling violence
  • armed robbery, repeatedly, once with assault
  • armed mugging
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • action violence
  • firearm to forehead
  • great fall death
  • corporate brutality
  • assault
  • threat with a knife
  • fighting with blades
  • brutal attack of an elderly woman
  • kidnapping
  • endangerment of children with intent to kill
  • endangerment of a woman with intent to kill
  • attempted murder, multiple
  • severe beating
  • impalement death

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • eleven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • teenage arrogance against care-giver, repeatedly
  • parental verbal/emotional abuse of daughter
  • lies
  • facial piercing

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sexual harassment of teen girl
  • excess cleavage, repeatedly
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • intrusive eye movement, once of a father on a teen girl
  • sexual innuendo
  • ghosting of female anatomy through "wet T-shirt" clothing
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking
  • drugging

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • nine uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • promotion of evolution - "new species completed" with DNA sequencing pictorials
  • talk of evolution

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • physical assault resulting in death
  • gunshot murder, shooting unseen
  • murder
  • multiple murders

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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