Socialist Worker

Spider-Man 2 | Status Symbols: Identity and Belief on Modern Badges

Issue No. 1912

Spider-Man 2
Directed by Sam Raimi

Spider-Man is a superhero we can all identify with. Peter Parker, the teenager who becomes the superhero, is an impoverished student. He lives in a squalid flat and struggles to keep up with his rent payments.

His desire to change the world comes into conflict with his need to make a living. His love life is a confusing disaster.

In the Hollywood blockbuster Spider-Man 2 his super-powers are failing him as his catastrophic personal life destroys his self confidence. He decides to knuckle down, to complete his academic studies and to develop his career, working in the cut-throat corporate world of journalism.

He discovers that life is not so simple when Doctor Octopus, a new eight-limbed supervillain, tries to ruin the lives of all those close to Parker. The product is an action-packed movie with a human angle, and a whiff of anti-corporate politics.

Spider-Man’s radical edge is no accident. The character was a product of the revival of the comic superhero in the 1960s. New York based Marvel Comics focused on characterisation as well as plot.

It was influenced by the huge social, cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s, creating characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men and others.

Many of their comics had an edgy feel, with more interesting, flawed characters.

The new Spider-Man film manages to be an exciting action movie without losing this essence, or its sense of humour.

Simon Towers

Status Symbols: Identity and Belief on Modern Badges
22 July-16 January 2005, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B

This free exhibition looks at how people and campaigns have used badges to express dissent and opposition throughout the years.

Badges are included from most of the political struggles of the last 40 years including the Black Panthers, anti-nuclear and Stop the War Coalition campaigns.

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Article information

Sat 31 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1912
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