For: pervasive lying, moral confusion, presuppositional evolution, some sensuality and immodesty, language, and foolish behavior
The Amazing Spider-Man incurs a double penalty. It makes sin and bad philosophy look credibly cool, but it doesn’t do the same for its spider-themed protagonist and his super-lizard archenemy. Unlike most superhero movies, this story goes shallow on ethics and deep on science fiction, leaving the morally loose teenage mutant to flop around in the philosophical nightmare of cross-species genetics taken seriously. The Amazing Spider-Man is untenable, immoral fluff.
Even before becoming a superhero, Peter Parker lies about his actions. After that significant turning point, the pattern of unnecessary deception just gets worse.
Peter steals someone else’s name badge and later watches, silently, as the (innocent) kid he’s impersonating gets dragged forcibly out of the building by security. Peter sneaks into his girlfriend’s bedroom and hides while she lies in order to keep her father away. Peter nonchalantly steals credit for scientific research. He deliberately reneges on a promise. He tells miscellaneous and sundry lies about his well-being, including saying that he went to a nurse about a serious injury, when he hadn’t.
While the differences between Spider-Man and The Lizard, everyday criminals, or even the school bully, may seem obvious, a lot of lines get blurred between the two sides’ actions and motives.
Peter Parker commits criminal trespass and criminal impersonation, and is guilty of criminal possession of stolen property, with no legal or moral justification whatsoever1. He destroys private property and then runs. He deliberately violates school rules, strictly for fun. Peter Parker is an irresponsible criminal. Ultimately, the only difference between Peter and the non-Lizard bad guys is that Peter didn’t get caught. Meanwhile, however, Peter is told that, “If there’s one thing you are, it’s good,” (despite his casual immorality). He goes so far as to claim moral responsibility for The Lizard being at large (even though he won’t take responsibility for the property he destroyed). The belief that those who are able to do good things for other people are morally obligated to do them, is advocated (even though he won’t submit to the idea that he is morally obligated not to do potentially harmful things to people).
As an aside, Peter spends most of the movie as a vigilante, for his own ends. He declares that he’s doing a good thing by catching criminals (although that’s at best a byproduct of his actions), and he argues that he is helping the police, who should be grateful to him. The movie takes his side of the debate, despite also making it clear that his assaulting these alleged criminals opens him up to legal arrest, and that his vigilante quest has ruined major police operations, allowing worse criminals to remain free.
Macroevolution is referenced directly and indirectly a number of times, and is the background philosophical basis for both the science fiction experiments and their outcomes.
“Cross-species genetics” results in a human who “transformed himself into a giant lizard”. While cross-species genetics as a concept raises significant questions of bioethics, the main issue in The Amazing Spider-Man is the destruction of the line between the human and the non-human. The Lizard is not fully human, but he/it has the mind and will of a human. The question (which is entirely beyond the scope of the movie’s shallow, unbiblical philosophy) is whether the character known alternately as Dr. Connors and The Lizard, is made in the image of God all of the time, only some of the time, or, as The Amazing Spider-Man’s evolutionary frame of reference would suggest, none of the time? The movie creates an impossible half-human creature for which there is no biblical category, and therefore requires the viewer to submit to an unbiblical worldview.
Evolution references include overt claims that science can “enhance humanity on an evolutionary level,” a “tree of life” chart displaying the evolution of different species from a single origin, and a comment on how animals have “brilliantly adapted”.
Some Sensuality and Immodesty
Peter and his girlfriend, Gwen, kiss passionately on multiple occasions. Twice he forces his kisses on her until she gives in and returns the passion. Peter sneaks into the Gwen’s bedroom, and, shirtless, makes out with her there, eventually persuading her to sneak out of her parents’ apartment with him. Peter shoots a web onto Gwen’s rear to pull her into an embrace and kiss.
Peter accidentally pulls a woman’s shirt off, leaving her in nothing but a red bra. Gwen wears short skirts and tall boots.
Oh my G-d
Oh my G-d
Oh my G-d
Peter and Gwen frequently take on enemies and get involved in extreme or immoral situations out of foolishness.
Peter’s choice to keep his super powers a secret from his immediate family, and to keep his identity a secret from the police, results in foolish irresponsibility toward his family, and foolishly evading a police officer, on multiple occasions.
A teacher says that, despite having been taught that there were ten plot types in fiction, there is really only one: “Who am I?” This is existentialist balderdash.
Many of Peter’s actions and interactions take place in a government-run high school, which comes across as normal.
Peter’s interactions with female fellow students are based on a dating mindset, where, in order to get into a romantic relationship, the guy and the girl have to be alone together—and, for a guy and a girl to get into a relationship at all, it has to be romantic.
1 All of these offenses are Class A misdemeanors punishable by prison time, in the state of New York, where the movie takes place.