Film Theory: The Spiderman 2 Mystery! Why Spiderman Lost His Powers!

(Old-timey super hero theme music) (to the tune of the Spider-man theme song)
“Theory-Man, Theory-Man” “Does whatever a theorist can” “Spots details, with his eyes” “He’s got stories to theorize” “Look out!” “Here comes the Theory-Man”
*Trumpets blaring* “Uses words, doesn’t fight” “He has memorized Mario’s height” “In the theories in his head” “Can say that the character’s dead” “Look out!” “Here come the Theory- MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! *Old-timey episode intro music* Mat: HELLO INTERNET, Welcome to Film Theory, where today can we just stop to appreciate What a great year 2018 was? Oh, no not for me. For SPIDERMAN! His PS4 game crushed! And was nearly Game Of The Year! Venom was way more enjoyable than most people expected and earned nearly a BILLION dollars, and Into the Spider-Verse was literally the best animated movie that I have seen in YEARS! I mean sure, he got dusted out of existence and all that, (i don’t feel so good) So that was a bit of a low point, but STILL, pretty solid year on the whole, and sure we may have lost one Spidey, Press F to pay respects,{ F} but heck Spider-Verse gave us another 6 to root for. They’re multiplying like flies or spiders.. I guess. You know what else it gave us though? An incredible tribute to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy The one that redefined what superhero movies were in their darkest of days (I was expecting bat-nipples) The trilogy responsible for the superhero Renaissance. The movies that did the Thanos snap 17 years before it became a spicy meme. Sure, those references at the beginning of Into the Spider-Verse were just that: references to those past movies. This Peter Parker is not the same one as the one from those older movies, but it did get me eager to go back and revisit that original trilogy. For those of you who haven’t seen these classics in some time, you know the basic premise: bobblehead Tobey Maguire gets himself bitten by a genetically altered spider, “Great power great responsibility” blah blah blah your standard Spider-Man, but upon re-watching them there was one mystery that was never explained in movies. One that has remained unsolved for the last 17 years and a mystery that today I think I can finally answer. You see in Spider-Man 2, largely considered to be one of the best superhero movies of all time, Peter Parker loses his powers (clip that shows movie plot logic) (groans about the plot) They just stop working. No explanation, no nothing. Just pooping out at the times that he needs them the most. Peter: Why is this happening to me? MatPat: Good question Peter. That’s what I intend to answer today. Taking this as a sign, Peter briefly gives up the mask to focus on his personal life. Later, when the threat of the super-powerful Doc Ock emerges, Spidey’s dragged back onto the scene and wouldn’t you know it, his powers just conveniently come back the moment that he needs them. And of course all this is probably just for plot convenience But you know how I roll. If there’s an explanation that goes beyond “well, it was important to the theme of the movie”, that I’m gonna find it, and I think I have. I believe that there is a legitimate, scientific explanation for this seemingly random plot thread in Spider-Man 2. One that not only fills the narrative gap AND gives us greater insight into the movie’s themes, but also gives us a bit more information on the nature of Peter’s spider abilities So to truly understand what’s happening We have to first rewind to Spider-Man 1. So in the first movie, running parallel to Peter’s spider-puberty, is the story of Norman Osborn His best friend’s father, who does some sciencing on himself to gain laboratory induced superpowers with just a dollop of madness *Osborn laughing* As the newly-born Green Goblin, Norman does all the usual villain stuff: menace New York, turn people into spooky scary skeletons, dress as an old woman, and star in terrible Broadway musicals. Oh man the stories I could tell you about that show And yes that character with the inflatable t-rex coming out of his chest is The Lizard. “Give that man a Tony” anyway The film comes to a dramatic climax when Norman drops both the tramcar and Mary Jane off the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Spidey manages to save them both – get DUNKED on Andrew Garfield! *ded* but in the course of the final battle, ends up killing Norman Norman: “Godspeed, Spider-man” Norman:”Godspeed, Spider-man *Osborn in pain* *ded 2: electric boogaloo* Unsurprisingly this takes a mental toll on Peter. After Norman’s funeral, he rejects the advances of Mary Jane: Peter: “All I wanted was to tell her how much I loved her” “I can’t” And listens to his best friend Harry swear vengeance upon Spider-Man: Harry: “I swear on my father’s grave, Spider-man will pay” It’s shortly after that that we see Peter’s powers start to fail So looking at the events of the first movie and how they impact Peter in the second It’s my theory that Peter’s power loss is directly tied to him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD Let’s look at the facts. The anxiety and depression Association of America, or ADAA for short, lays out four categories of diagnostic criteria for PTSD and Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 qualifies in each and every one. The first set of criteria relate to the trauma itself. To pass diagnosis in this category a patient needs to have gone through one of the following: either directly experiencing a traumatic event themselves, witnessing, in person, a traumatic event, or learning about traumatic events occurring to a close family member Peter doesn’t just hit one of these; he hits all three. In the first movie, Peter, in a matter of months experiences two indescribably traumatic events, (getting high?) both of which involve the death of father figures. First Uncle Ben and then Norman Osborn, a man who claims: Norman: “I’ve been like a father to you” and not only to both men die, and not only does he witness both of those deaths, but they are both dead BECAUSE of the action or inaction of Peter. He doesn’t stop the robber, which directly leads to Sandman shooting Uncle Ben and after some brutal psychological warfare from Norman: Norman: “The Goblin killed. I have nothing to do with it. Don’t-don’t let him take me again!” “I beg you, protect me” Spider-Man jumping over the glider finishes off his other other father. And all of this is without even mentioning his childhood love getting kidnapped because of her *ded again again* finishes off his other other father. And all of this is without even mentioning his childhood love getting kidnapped because of her association with Peter. It’s pretty much unquestionable that Peter has every reason to be suffering some level of PTSD But is he really? Well, to know for sure we have to move on to the second category of criteria which looks at any lingering psychological effects of the trauma and whether memories of it are intruding into everyday life. Of the following, patients must be experiencing at least one to be diagnosed as suffering from PTSD. That list includes: unwanted memories of the event interrupting the day, having dreams related to the trauma, psychological distress when exposed to cues that remind you of the event, or physiological reactions to those same cues. Throughout Spider-Man 2 we see memories of Uncle Ben intruding into Peters everyday life. Ben’s oft-repeated mantra “with great power comes great responsibility” drives Peter until he ultimately tells his uncle: Peter: “you can’t live in my dreams anymore” We also know that Peter is having difficulty sleeping He’s suffering from repeated dreams of these traumatic events as he reports to his doctor Doctor: “you say you can’t sleep.” And Dr. Connors (supposedly the man in the live show with a t-rex in his stomach) says “you always, appear EXHAUSTED” in short Peter checks off each and every one of these qualifiers and remember only ONE is necessary for a diagnosis of PTSD the third criteria required for an official diagnosis looks at the trauma’s effects on a patient’s emotional life and self-identity of the massive list that you see on screen right now Only two are required to move into the final stages of diagnosis But Peter checks off a solid six a SINISTER SIX a SINISTER SIX if you will if by sinister six we’re replacing a man vulture with persistent feelings of detachment.
(wonder what super powers he would have) Well the first two: negative beliefs about the world, and blaming yourself for the trauma are kinda sorta…Okay, absolutely hundred percent true in Peters case There’s no doubt that he’s isolating himself from the rest of the world as both MJ and Harry complain about how hard it’s been to see Peter Harry: where you been pal? you don’t return my calls. He’s self sabotaging at his job. J.J.: Where ya been? been looking for ya all morning, why don’t ya pay your phone bill? Struggling to pursue the activities in life that he wants to enjoy Dr. Connors: where are you headed Parker? Peter: to your class Dr. Connors: My class, is over Peter: I am trying I wanna be here And slowly eroding the most important relationship in his life Mary jane: Do you love me? Peter: I Peter: …don’t. Missing Mary Jane’s performances in her new play and when he sees her pulling away into the arms of other people wouldn’t you know it, but that’s when his powers truly start to falter. The powers appear to be tied to Peter’s mental health but to know for sure we have to move on to the final diagnostic category: “changes in arousal” ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) NO- NOT THAT SORT OF “AROUSAL” the way you react to stimuli in the world around you and once again in this final category Pete checks Practically every item off the list: Problems with concentration, Problems with sleep, easy to startle, staying up all night Unlike the first film, Spider-man becomes far more hyper vigilant in the second movie: Staying up all night, listening to the police radio. Just hoping for something to come up But where this theory really shines is in explaining why Peters powers come back. In the movie, they just sort of reappear. Mary Jane gets kidnapped, BOOM, They’re back. It is never addressed, but it can’t just be Peter reacting heroically in the moment He’s already done that with a child trapped in a burning building earlier in the movie and his powers didn’t come back then No, there’s something deeper here, something more psychological at play You see, well…it’s not perfect, and certainly not clinical, Peter does manage to give himself some rudimentary PTSD therapy in the movie After some advice from a very chill doctor: “You always have a choice Peter”. Peter gives up his costume and starts focusing On his normal life again. He gets his job under control He’s back to his studies full force, he re-engages with his friends again, seeing Mary Jane’s play reconnecting with Aunt May Even reaching out to his neighbor in a B-plot romance that you think is going somewhere but then gets totally forgotten about despite her Being totally available, totally into Peter, and totally making mean chocolate cake # #JUSTICE #JUSTICEFOR #JUSTICEFORNEIGHBORGIRL this behavior on the part of Peter Parker correlates to the type of work that you’d be doing in IPT, or interpersonal psychotherapy which specifically has the patient resolving lingering issues with people around them in order to get more control over their life, In order to attain a support network and ultimately come to handle their past trauma. through these interactions in the movie, Peter is forced to confront some major questions about his relationship with Uncle Ben and his behaviors as Spider-man. which in turn helps him come to terms with both Ben and Norman’s deaths. Mix all of that in with a healthy amount of outdoor exercise and an overall healthier lifestyle; both of which are regular recommendations for anyone struggling with a mental health disorder and Peter has really done some heroic work. Only this time not for the city of New York, But for himself Finally after all these years why Peters powers disappear makes sense He’s dealing with the impact of emotional trauma Trauma that he never had the chance to properly address and deal with in his life when he was having to double as spider-man (high-pitched scream) *thud* and the powers only return when he’s able to step back, give himself the self care that he needs, and help himself Before he reaches out to continue helping others. The saddest thing about this is that it’s never explicitly addressed in the film; that Spider-man, in addition to serving as a role model of physical strength, could have also been shown as a role model of Psychological strength of living with and handling not just goblins and demons out in the real world But the even more dangerous and seemingly unstoppable ones that lived inside his own head And at the end of the day this theory just goes to show that everyone including superheroes, have their own issues, and that battling against depression or the effects of trauma Might not be as visually exciting as a battle against tentacle doctor over here But it’s a battle That is far more real, far more scary, and far more important than any of the ones that you see happen in spider-man 2. and that sometimes the most heroic action you can do is Taking the time to rescue yourself before you try rescuing someone else and with that There are no more mysteries left in the Sam Raimi trilogy well (oh here it comes) Except for how a woman born in Brooklyn has a British accent (oh nvm) Aunt may: its water over the dam or under the bridge or wherever you like it I’m on to you AUNT MAY (if that is your real name!) BUT HEY THATS JUST THEORY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA A FILM THEORY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDD cut

About the author


  1. He loses his powers due to his love for MJ is even stated from doc Ock in that if you keep love stored inside you it can make you sick

  2. MatPat: " This Peter is NOT the same from the Sam Raimi movies

    Also MatPat 2019: "Peter Parker from the Sam Raimi movies is the same Peter in into the apiderverse

  3. When I first saw that movie I was with my dad and I remember asking him why did spider-man lost his powers. My father's answer was :cause he got sad.
    Film theory who? I got dad theory and it works

  4. matpat predicted what's happening to spider-man's "Peter Tingle" 6 months before far from home even came out

  5. Matpat: Spider-Man 2 is widely considered one of the best superhero movies.
    Homecoming: Are you sure about that?
    Infinity War: Can I join?
    Endgame: Room for one more?

  6. I can’t watch these because of the music in the background. It’s just got that spooky vibe and I hate it. To each their own tho

  7. I wish thanos was real and could wipe movies too so we wouldn’t have to deal with Star Trek or that spider verse shit

  8. I just assumed that this theory was a given from the movie, and that everybody knew it. Although, I also figured out the plot twist in 6th sense before it was said in the movie.

  9. Yet another channel trying to convince me that Parker the fool is that professional criminal Spiderman….. Ha, I know how stupid he is, I won't give you a shit…

    By the way, nice theoryboy outfit and green is my wife's favorite color, so give me that suit and for that I gonna hire you and will believe that Parker is that thief Spiderma………..
    Hahahahahhahaa this-this so nasty to just think about it.

  10. Sooooo what about the movies where Peter is making his webs from random stuf instead of you know… like spiders do? He had that in the first movie, right???? Or am I missing something???

  11. If it is PTSD I think that would be more realistic since come in your saying none of these supers is traumatized?!

  12. Thank u for this! I always ask myself why did Peter loses his powers in Spiderman 2 and deep down, I kinda knew it was something to do with his psychological state. This is why I love the trilogy and he is one the best influence as a superhero and shows that he is still human no matter what. It's sad to see this and the movie portrays alot about the people who might face the same situation as Peter. The reality hits just right. Yet, he is still one the strongest person I ever met

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *