I just saw Spider-Man 3 and really enjoyed it. I loved the first two movies and this one did not disappoint me. Peter Parker is such a great character and there is so much in him that I admire. Knowing who he really is, a really good man, makes it so sad when the black suit (Venom—as I believe it was called in the comic books) takes over. We get to see the dark side of Peter and of Spider-Man.
Characterization in writing is so important. We all have a duality in our nature and this movie explored the dark and light in a way that I hope makes masses of people think. The world is not black and white, but shades of gray. One of the supposed villains in the movie, Sandman, is just a man who wants to help his daughter. The Green Goblin wants to avenge his father and punish a murderer, Spider-Man. These characters have a dark nature to them, but they are just like Spider-Man in a lot of ways. Even he is fallible and can make mistakes or let his dark side take over.
We are all that way, whether we admit it or not—which is why I think people like characters who have dual natures. Pure white or pure black characters don’t make sense. They’re not real or believable. They seem fake, not true.
There are characters in novels called villains, and they are considered evil. Really, they are antagonists, while the main character is the protagonist. When I read George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books I hated Jaime Lannister—the obvious villain. Then in a later book I got to see Jaime’s point of view. I was so mad that Martin wrote from his POV. I put the book down when I saw that fact and refused to read it at first. Then I started reading and had a revelation. Jaime is not a bad guy. When you see things from his POV and find out the truth of certain events you understand so much—and realize it’s all a matter of POV.
We are all the hero of our own story. Good or evil, black or white, it doesn’t matter. In the end I think most people are just shades of gray—though I prefer my Spider-Man in red and blue.
Have fun out there and if you are a writer, think hard about characterization.