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While Spider-Man 3‘s most infamous scene, also referred to like Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) emo dance scene, is very controversial, it’s also arguably one of the film’s smartest moments. As audiences watch Peter Parker badly adopt a suave villain persona, possibly the genius behind the emo dancing scene is its contentious character and how it elevates the entire movie by intentionally inventing an extreme reaction in the Spider-Man fandom.

Even though Spider-Man 3 has been a box office hit, grossing $894 million worldwide, the movie received terrible reviews from fans and critics alike. And Peter Parker’s emo dance scene isn’t the one thing which arguably went wrong with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3; what’s intriguing is it’s the 1 scene that’s most notably related to Spider-Man 3 because it is as memorable as it’s uncomfortable to see. After coming in contact with a parasitic alien symbiote, Peter Parker starts to embrace his darker side by embracing a devil-may-care attitude, emo bangs, guyliner, and some new dance moves outside a department store in NYC. While the Spider-Man fandom may be divided on whether or not the notorious scene is cringe-worthy or comedic, one theory suggests that the scene blatantly communicates a little of both to call attention to Peter Parker’s development as a character.

Within Spider-Man 3, Dr. Connors (Dylan Baker) claims that the symbiote”amplifies features of its host, particularly aggression,” which is why Parker starts to gratify his darker instincts following bonding with the parasite. Aside from tripping his jealousy within his relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and his vengeance against uncle Ben’s real murderer, Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), the symbiote promotes one of Peter’s other vices: his inflated self. The confidence increase Parker obtained at the outset of Spider-Man 3 when New York threw Spider-Man a parade skyrockets to an aggressive assertiveness in Peter’s everyday life, which induces him to demand the staff position in the Daily Bugle, induce his infatuated neighbour to feed him cookies and shoot unsuspecting girls on the street with finger-guns. Unfortunately for the audience, the symbiote doesn’t magically transform Peter into a”cool bad man.” Instead, it manifests characteristics that he already has, such as his standpoint of what makes someone cool.

Since Peter’s thought of the”cool bad man” is so far removed from reality, and out of his character, the scene gets dorky and uncomfortable in a way that rewards the movie as a whole. Having the audience experience such discomfort watching him become a villain, the emo dance scene allows for some interesting insights into Peter’s character, regardless of whether the scene is viewed as either comedic or cringe-worthy. The true comedy embedded inside the scene reveals that many of his darkest instincts are hilariously tame since the symbiote’s influence gives him the confidence to stand up for himself and dance in people, two quite ordinary actions. Alternatively, the emo dance scene’s awkwardness is a reminder of exactly how ill-fitting the”cool bad guy” character is for the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and it’s a bizarre but fun way of making the audience uncomfortable with the person Peter has become.

Ironically, as the audience becomes aware that Parker’s villain character is not too becoming for his character during the emo dance scene, Peter as well becomes aware of how much he’s changed throughout a similarly uncomfortable dance scene from Spider-Man 3 in which he donned a jazz club with Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). From the cringe-worthy scene, Peter commands a crowd’s attention with an establishment where Mary Jane is working, picks a fight with a bouncer, also accidentally hurts Mary Jane in the process. Since the mood of the scene shifts from pleasure and dorky to extreme and acute, it requires Peter’s exhibition of violence against somebody he loves to realize the negative facets of the symbiote’s influence, see the individual he has become, and begin his journey back to the hero he once was.

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