Prior to this, I didn’t know who Spider-Man was. I thought I was walking into an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. After a half-hour of shouting “Show us the cockroach!” at the screen, I realized Spider-Man had nothing to do with Kafka. However, I unexpectedly related to the character. A beehive had recently fallen on my head as I was trying to steal honey from it and I was covered in stings. I found Spidey’s perseverance in the face of insect bites to be empowering.
Unfortunately, I missed the ending as I was passing a kidney stone in the bathroom. At the time, I considered it agonizing, but I would soon learn that my body had only just begun testing the threshold of pain I could withstand.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Widely considered the apex of the Spider-Man films, the first sequel is also significant because its release coincided with the passing of my second kidney stone. Just as the film raised the narrative stakes, so did my kidneys, as they produced a stone even larger than the last. I didn’t enjoy what I saw of the movie because I was distracted thinking about how unfair it is that scientists were more interested in turning guys into robotic octopi than finding a better way to treat kidney stones.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
It’s often cited as a low point, but I couldn’t tell the difference because I was once again busy passing a substantially painful kidney stone in the bathroom for the majority of the film. This marked the first time a theater employee offered to call me an ambulance, which would become something of a tradition at every subsequent Spider-Man screening I attended.
Though I requested a ticket refund and submitted my kidney stone to corroborate my claim, the theater refused to reimburse me, an act that is antithetical to everything Spider-Man stands for (but I could be wrong because I’ve only seen, like, 25 minutes of all these movies cumulatively).
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
I was beginning to wonder if the Spider-Man films themselves were causing the kidney stones, and it was not, as my doctor suggested, the excessive quantities of milk I was ingesting leading to an overabundance of calcium in my body. At any rate, Spider-Man’s red mask looked indistinguishable from Lucifer’s face to me.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
As I stood at the urinal, sweating, cursing, and yet again missing the movie, I became consumed with bitterness. Surely I couldn’t have been the first person to pass a kidney stone during a movie. Why couldn’t the theaters put TV screens in the bathroom that play the movie simultaneously so you don’t miss anything?
Spider-Man had once again swindled me out of the price of a ticket.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
By this point, I had passed five kidney stones in my life, each during a Spider-Man screening. Most people would have stopped tempting fate, but I couldn’t resist. “Surely, it can’t happen a sixth time,” I thought. The golf-ball-sized kidney stone I passed served as evidence to the contrary.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
I had lost all my savings betting that Spider-Man would die in Homecoming (a misguided bet, but one that would have paid off huge if Disney had the courage to do what needed to be done and kill the spider bastard).
My wife couldn’t stand to see me destroy myself anymore and gave me an ultimatum. If I went to see Spidey’s latest, she wouldn’t be there when I returned. I got back to my empty house with a pit in my stomach and a six-pound kidney stone in my hand.
The masked menace had bested me once again.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spider-Man had taken everything from me. Like the Green Goblin, Lizard, or Vulture, Spider-Man was my nemesis. In my delirious state, I snuck into the zoo after hours in an attempt to get bitten by as many animals as possible. I figured at least one of them would imbue me with the powers I needed to fight Spider-Man.
By the time I got to my screening, I was bleeding profusely from a dozen penguin pecks. I had barely even sat down when the familiar sensation that precedes a kidney stone’s passing washed over me. Immediately, I knew my victory against Spider-Man would not come on that day or any other. He was unstoppable.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
This one was pretty good. Kidney stone was excruciating, though.