|The wanted poster for the "blond" killer of Uncle Ben in The Amazing Spider-Man|
Though comics do boast a proud history of heroes resisting tyranny, the cinematic world depicted in Superman Returns, in all of the Christopher Nolan Batman films, in X-Men, The Punisher, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, Green Lantern . . . well, they all offer pure escapism when it comes to the casting of villains.
The villains, be they megalomaniac super-villains with extraordinary powers or just your run-of-the-mill street criminal, are almost always white. In the world you and I live in, there are no super-villains; there are just your average, run-of-the-mill thug that depressingly tends to be either Black or brown.
It was my belief that were a vigilante to exist in our world, he would instantly be painted a racist by the media (and the government) and be peremptorily hunted down by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) (if not first terminated with extreme prejudice) for violating the civil rights of criminals. Yes, a vigilante would be the ultimate racist: an individual engaging in the hate crime of trying to keep a city (or your gated community) safe from crime.
And crime does have a color in America.
But wait: Didn’t we recently see what would happen to someone fighting for justice and the betterment of a community? Isn’t that exactly what happened with the story of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin? That "white Hispanic," George Zimmerman, might just be the next man in hell...
The whole Zimmerman/Martin affair seemed to destroy the concept that a half Black/half Hispanic Spider Man would be allowed to fight crime; Martin became the "hero" in the eyes of the media and government, while Zimmerman was demonized and has been harassed by those same entities that celebrate "Obama's son."
Thus the entire Zimmerman/Martin affair is just a real-world application of the plot from The Next Man in Hell.
On that note, The Amazing Spider-Man swung into theaters on July 3rd, re-booting a franchise that was beginning to prove true the law of diminishing returns (at least in the American market). Just like the Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man sticks to the formula of Peter Parker's beloved Uncle Ben being murdered by a blond-haired white criminal. Leif Gantvoort gets to portray the Nordic killer of Uncle Ben this go-around, filling the shoes made famous by Michael Papajohn in the original trilogy.
Indeed, once Andrew Garfield's version of Peter Parker (who plays Spider-Man in this re-boot) tries to avenge the death of Uncle Ben by hunting down the blond-haired baddy, the viewer is treated to the hilarious spectacle of Spider-Man chasing down not one, not two, but at least six different blond-haired thugs in New York City -- all with police records.
|Uncle Ben's killer in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy|
The New York Times published an informative opinion piece on March 14 by Peter Moskos (You Can’t Blame the Police) that seems to paint a portrait of crime in New York City that isn't replicated in the cinematic world of Spider-Man:
Heather MacDonald from City Journal goes one step further (Distorting the Truth about Crime and Race, March 14, 2010). In discussing the "stop and frisk" program in New York City, she writes: