You may have begun noticing signs you’re getting old. Maybe you can no longer stay up until ungodly hours in the morning and still be productive the next day. Perhaps you’re unable to stomach kids cereal, which is the best kind of cereal. I realize now that I may have reached my mid-life crisis a couple of weeks ago.
This self-diagnosis stems from my experience watching the latest reinvention of the Spider-Man franchise, Spider-Man: Homecoming. This film is perfect for families, as kids of all ages will leave the theatre with a smile on their face—well, if you leave before the final Easter egg at the end credits. Ultimately, this reprisal of the webhead is in line with fans’ expectations. It did its best to pay homage to the original Stan Lee cartoon, which was a Saturday morning fixture in the late 1960s. I admit to geeking out a bit when hearing The Ramones’ cover of the Spider-Man theme song. I thought the acting was spot on, with the portrayal of each character highlighting the stellar job of the casting department.
The difficulty I had with the film was with the modern element rather than the narrative. I won’t be divulging any major plot points by stating that the majority of the film takes place at a high school and at student-related functions. I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the differences between the high school experience portrayed in the Marvel film and my version of it. Early in the movie, we see the teenaged Peter Parker documenting his brush with the Avengers from Marvel’s blockbuster film Captain America: Civil War. Even at a party, the man-made monster that is social media gets fed in a setting where people are meant to be, well, social with each other. Dependence on technology, both for the average human and superhero, played an integral role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. I found this obsession with social media to be off-putting, probably because I could not relate to the generation portrayed. I now feel another step closer to telling kids to get their bikes off my lawn.
It’s clear that we’ve become more reliant on tech than the earlier entrepreneurs probably fathomed. I’m certainly guilty of picking up my phone to avoid conversations, pass the time by fluttering through apps, and enjoy the experiences of others more so than setting off to have my own. But for most of my life, I’ve been a late adopter of new technology. At first I didn’t have access to the technology. When I did, it seemed as though I was always chasing the current trend, whether it was creating a MySpace page or joining Facebook when it used to be exclusive to university students. It took me years after Twitter’s launch to consider it a decent platform. I’m still fairly wary of Snapchat and its various filters.
What I fear the most is not that I’m out of touch with what’s trending, but that I will get to the point of not caring to keep up. While watching the movie, I felt for the first time that I was out of touch with the current trend. From the technology itself to the multitude of abbreviations used on each platform, trying to stay up to date is starting to become more of a job than a hobby.
After leaving the theatre, I reflected on how preceding generations must have felt when the internet became a fixture and then a necessity in the average household. For them, newspapers were among the best sources of information, and they found entertainment to enjoy with fewer than 100 channels on their TVs. It’s humorous to me that we now wax poetic about the 90s, but I’m sure that what people consider as the best decade depends on their age and generation. Everyone lived through some sort of pop culture trend that the older generation probably questioned.
Whatever the reason behind my response to Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s painful to admit that I’m growing older. One can only hope that I’m growing wiser as well—yet no promises on that end.