Sometime in Spring or Summer, circa 1976 or '77, I discovered how to access the attic of my parent's home. My Dad was remodeling and adding to the house, and there were new nooks and crannies to explore.
The attic wasn't finished or functional, so access wasn't really that simple. And once I got up there, it wasn't as if I had lots of places to go; there was a piece of plywood covering a 6'X8' area immediately off the makeshift entrance, and a light bulb connected to a power cord.
It became my refuge.
At least once a week I'd roll up the half-dozen comics I'd picked up at the local five and dime and stick them in my back pocket. After making sure I wasn't seen, I'd hit the homemade ladder fast, heading straight to the plywood. Typically, I'd read quickly through The Avengers, Justice League, Daredevil and Batman.
But I'd save Spider-Man for last.
It was the best, in my opinion, and Peter Parker was a character with whom I identified. He struggled with the same life problems as me: girls, finding his personal path, girls, handling responsibility and girls.
Except for the cool web-slinging, spider sense, super strength and increased agility, my life was a Spider-Man comic. I was awkward, and knew it. The magazines were cheap therapy.
While watching Spider-Man 3, I noticed I felt as if I was hiding out in that attic, reading a giant-sized issue. I didn't want it to end.
Spider-Man 3 has the perfect mix of Spidey-action and Peter Parker angst. The movie is busy--it juggles at least four major plot points--but it gives each the time they deserve. The effects are remarkable, and the action is fast-paced.
But more than anything else, Spider-Man 3 gets across the angst that is pervasive in the life of Peter Parker. The distress, self-doubt and confusion that he struggled though each issue.
And that the pre-teen me struggled with each day.