Before the superhero movies rose with all the force of the assembled Avengers, director Sam Raimi was breaking ground with 2002's Spider-Man. It was a box-office smash thanks to Tobey Maguire's golly-josh charms, Willem Dafoe's growling Green Goblin, and that steamy upside-down kiss. But under-sung in this pivotal point in superhero movie history is the inexplicable appearance of soul singer-songwriter Macy Gray. Who was doing what exactly in this movie?
Riding the wave of popularity from her hit song "I try," this raspy-voiced songstress was presumably asked to help beef up Spidey's soundtrack. So she offered up the track "My Nutmeg Fantasy" and somehow was asked to cameo in the movie as the headlining act of Oscorp's World Unity Day celebration in Times Square. Because what goes better with corporate-sponsored pleas for peace than Macy Gray and giant balloons of vaguely racist caricatures?
Even if this setting makes sense to you, Gray's place in the movie is so minor it's actually confounding. There's maybe two shots of her before the Green Goblin crashes the party. Peter Parker's Spidey sense predicts it, and its sound effect drowns out Gray's singing about 30 seconds in. Then the score overruns everything -- even as they cut back to Macy singing! You can't hear her. And you won't see her again.
Did she escape the carnage of the Green Goblin? Presumably, but weirdly Spider-Man takes the time to establish a celebrity cameo in a dangerous environment, then has her vanish without a second thought.
Macy deserved better. She came to play, sporting sunglasses that seem like an ode to the friendly neighborhood webslinger. Behold her tie-dyed pants and gonzo red velvet/faux fur top that made it look like she'd skinned a Muppet for this very special concert. What does the bedazzled "ID" on it stand for? Is it some early Marvel easter egg suggesting Gray will return as an obscure villain to seek vengeance on the New York City superhero who upstaged her? Is it a message: like I Don't (know what I'm doing here)? Or I Deserve (better than this shoddy celebrity cameo, Spider-Man)? I have the answer! Some vigorous research (Googling) reveals the ID top is a none-too-subtle promotion for her latest album, The Id.
Power to you, Macy. You really tried to make the most of your Marvel movie moment.