Spidey Gets Spiritual

As Spider-Man 3 releases to theaters, director Sam Raimi and cast talk about the biblical themes and spiritual imagery in the movies—especially in the latest chapter.

Director Sam Raimi, a self-professed comic book geek when it comes to Spider-Man, was clearly the right man for the job when it came to making movies about the wall-crawling superhero.

More than just a Spidey fan, Raimi was particularly interested in developing the character of Peter Parker, the web slinger's very human—and very flawed—alter ego.

Sony Pictures knew they had the right man when they hired Raimi, now 47, seven years ago for the job. And it's paid off—earning the studio a whopping $1.6 billion worldwide through the first two films.

That figure is sure to soar—possibly to as much as $3 billion when it's all said and done—as Spider-Man 3, which cost a reported $250 millions to make, swings into theaters this week (late Thursday night in some markets, Friday everywhere else).

A huge part of the franchise's popularity has been Raimi's treatment not just of the action hero in the spider suit, but of the young man underneath. Raimi's direction and Tobey Maguire's acting have made Peter/Spidey arguably the most popular comic book icon in film history.

Christians have been among those embracing the protagonist, in part because Raimi has been unafraid to clearly include biblical themes and spiritual imagery in the films.

Spidey 2 (2004) might well have been subtitled The Passion of Peter Parker, as the hero wrestled with whether or not he wanted to be a "savior" of sorts. And when he saves the runaway train near the movie's end—in a crucifixion pose, with a wound in his side and holes in his wrists, no less—and then goes through a symbolic death, burial and resurrection … well, let's just say it's quite a spiritual moment.

Raimi doesn't hold back from the spiritual imagery in ...

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