Study Guide

Spider-Man Power

Power

HARRY: Leave him alone.

FLASH'S CRONY (mocking): Or what?

[…]

FLASH: What's Daddy gonna do? Sue me?

Say what you will about Norman Osborn, but the dude does wield a lot of power thanks to his massive bank account. Harry, on the other hand, does not. Here, Flash is making fun of the fact that Harry doesn't fight his own battles—figuratively speaking, that is.

STROMM: We need to take the whole line back to formula.

NORMAN (hissing at Stromm): Back to formula?

SLOCUM: Dr. Osborn, I'm gonna be frank with you. I never supported your program. We have my predecessor to thank for that.

FARGAS: Norman, the general gave the go-ahead to Quest Aerospace to build a prototype of their exoskeleton design. They test in two weeks.

SLOCUM: And if your so-called performance enhancers have not had a successful human trial by that date, I'm gonna pull your funding. I'm going to give it to them.

Norman may be a rich and powerful scientist-businessman (you know the type), but he's not as powerful as the U.S. military. Gen. Slocum uses his powerful position to put the squeeze on Norman…and we know how well that turns out for all parties involved.

UNCLE BEN: Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

Here it is. The line from Spider-Man. The one you've heard quoted by everyone from your mom to your algebra teacher. The reason why it's quoted so often is because it's true. Just look at Peter and Norman, two guys who both have huge amounts of power. One uses it responsibly, and he saves dozens of lives. The other doesn't, and he ends up impaled by his own flying boogie board.

WRESTLING PROMOTER: Stop him! He's got my money!

ROBBER: Thanks.

SECURITY GUARD: What the hell's the matter with you? You let him go! (into his walkie talkie) Cut him off in the lobby, and call the cops!

WRESTLING PROMOTER: You could've taken that guy apart. Now he's gonna get away with my money.

PETER: I missed the part where that's my problem.

Peter is acting like a petulant child here, not like a powerful adult. Because he intentionally shirks his responsibility to stop the robber, not just as a superhero but as a citizen, the robber gets away and, as the cruelest of fates would have it, kills Uncle Ben.

MARY JANE: Don't tell Harry.

PETER: Don't tell Harry?

MARY JANE: Aren't you guys living together? We're going out. Didn't he tell you?

PETER: Oh, yeah. Right.

MARY JANE: I think he'd hate the idea of my waiting tables. He'd think it was low or something.

PETER: That's not low. You have a job. You know, Harry doesn't live on a little place I like to call Earth.

Mary Jane laughs.

MARY JANE: No, I guess not.

No, Harry doesn't live on Earth. He lives way above it, in a swanky penthouse, with his rich, powerful, MIA dad who prefers expensive gifts to hugs (we assume).

GREEN GOBLIN: We killed them.

NORMAN: We?

GREEN GOBLIN: Remember? Your little accident in the laboratory.

NORMAN: The performance enhancers.

GREEN GOBLIN: Bingo. Me! Your greatest creation. Bringing you what you've always wanted: power beyond your wildest dreams.

The Green Goblin is like Norman's id unleashed. If he could have anything, it would be unlimited power.

GREEN GOBLIN: No one says "no" to me!

How come Norman is not used to people saying "no" to him? Because he's got buckets of cash, and with buckets of cash come buckets of power. Once he loses his cushy job, which is another source of power—and of his sense of self—he gets all sorts of desperate.

HARRY: This girl is important to me.

NORMAN: Harry, please. Look at her. You think a woman like that's sniffing around because she likes your personality?

HARRY: What are you saying?

NORMAN: Your mother was beautiful, too. They're all beautiful until they're snarling after your trust fund like a pack of ravening wolves.

Not all rich and powerful people treat others like garbage, but clearly some do. Yuck. We're glad Norman missed out on Aunt May's scrumptious Thanksgiving turkey.

PETER (voice-over): Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "with great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift. My curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-Man.

We told you Uncle Ben's line about the responsibility that comes packaged with power was important. It's so important, in fact, that it gets repeated at the end of the film, too. Here, Peter is explaining that, yes, sometimes he'd like to just be a regular dude who could take M.J. out for that burger, but he's got those spidey skills for a reason, and protecting the innocent takes precedence over ground beef every day of the week.

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