BEWARE: Possible spoilers
At the end of this film, as Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) stands face-to-face with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and realizes that he can finally have his dream woman, he instead decides to walk away and leave her with nothing more than the infamous "let's be friends" line, a line that no real man has every uttered to a woman in his entire life. Finally, we understand what's been bothering Parker throughout the whole film: He's gay.
While it takes Parker a long time to admit this to himself, the clues are ever-present. First of all, what heterosexual guy pines to put on a skintight leotard and run around the city in it? You can only be gayer by dressing up as a large, pink triangle. Despite his claims about being deeply attracted to Mary Jane, the lack of a visible erection in his form-fitting suit during their encounters is testament to his gayness. And, of course, Spider-Man just loves to get other men sticky. In fact, the web that emerges from his wrist after a spider bite is simply a metaphor for the uncaring society that keeps his gayness in check.
Certainly, residents of San Francisco's Castro district will tell you about their famed Green Goblin festival, so the fact that Spider-Man is battling the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) suggests a sexual complexity to his inner conflict. Even Parker's roommate, Harry (James Franco), who is dating Mary Jane, says to Parker: "You never made your move." Well, of course he didn't. Parker lives with Harry and it's obvious from Parker's every move who he really wants.
Throughout history, spiders' use in art has always been seen as representative of a need for the phallic extension to dominate. Peter Parker's oft-closeted alter ego is the cinematic representation of the penis given full power. While one might interpret this phallic power as being directed outward, toward the female, the very interpretation of a "spider" "man" thwarts such an interpretation. "To spider" literally means to extend, while the "man" is quite obviously the object to which the spider is applied. Clearly, if Peter Parker could have come to grips with his need for the hot, sweaty man-love, his exploration into the culture of the superhero would have been redundant and thus entirely unnecessary.
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