How ‘Spider-Man’ Helped Heal America After 9/11

- Advertisement -

It’s hard to think back at a time, when the United States needed a hero more than ever following the fateful day on September 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 lives were extinguished in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania by four hijacked airliners in the deadliest attack on American soil. A mere eight months later, Spider-Man answered the call.

Some of the promotional footage including the trailers involved the Twin Towers, which the terrorists took down on 9/11. Sony deleted any references to the landmark prior to releasing the film. When the film was released in May 2002, it provided a relief for American audiences and some claimed ushered a new wave of escapism giving birth the modern superhero movie as we know it.

Directed by Sam Raimi, whose greatest acclaim at the time was the Evil Dead trilogy, already had prior experience directing another superhero film, the cult classic 1990 Darkman with Liam Neeson. Spider-Man starred Tobey Maguire in the title role and alter-ego Peter Parker alongside Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson and James Franco as Harry Osborn.

Facing Spider-Man is his greatest rival, the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), who also is Harry’s father Norman.

- Advertisement -

Despite changing any reference to the towers following the attacks, the film still treaded a thin line given sensitivity of the action. Most of the fights between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin took place across buildings in New York. Goblin’s weapon of choice is bombs and he flies on a glider. You can see where people can be sensitive about those who are falling off of buildings or having to avoid collapsing debris.

The concerns weren’t so far-fetched because the FCC worked with TV and radio broadcasters to avoid as many references to terror and explosions in the short term, which I imagine was quite difficult.

Ultimately, the film became a resounding success, not because of how close Raimi captured the essence of Spider-Man, rather the film allowed Americans to confront adversity at its greatest peak and have hope again.

How much did the film fulfill the need for Americans to hope again? As of the 15th anniversary of the tragedy, it still remains the highest grossing superhero origin film at $403.7 million, which currently beats no. 2 in Deadpool by over $40 million.

Spider-Man resonated with audiences not just because of how many can empathize with Peter Parker and trying to uphold responsibility with his newfound powers, but in the effort to do what right for his community, he served as a beacon of inspiration for everyone around him. People took up courage because he stood for them. Spidey became far more than just a symbol for New Yorkers to embrace, he represented the need for Americans to hope and dream again.

Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!
Tom Chang
Sci-fi and technology geek since the NES days, Tom loves everything from the cult classics, the contemporary hits to the beast with two backs that is Disney and Marvel. His life's mission is to be the ultimate nerd savant sitting on the iron throne as CEO of Skynet while masquerading as a vigilante at night wearing hockey pads.


If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

How 'Spider-Man' Helped Heal America After 9/11 4


How 'Spider-Man' Helped Heal America After 9/11 5

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.


Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

How 'Spider-Man' Helped Heal America After 9/11 6


COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!