Last night I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now; I finally watched The Amazing Spider-Man.
I’m a little mad at myself for waiting so long to see it because it was fantastic. I laughed, I cried, I sighed at Andrew Garfield in that skintight suit. But one of my favorite moments came from Irrfan Khan.
Khan played Rajit Ratha, the henchman-like assistant of the unseen Norman Osborn. He also played the adult Pi Patel in Life of Pi. Apparently he’s attracted to roles in which he gets to mention the name “Richard Parker” numerous times. I don’t know about you, but I found this very amusing.
I saw Life of Pi in theaters, which is to say, before I saw Spider-Man. So when I saw Khan as a villain I thought, “Aw, but he was so adorable with his love for Richard Parker.” And then BAM! Evil villain Khan was talking about Richard Parker! Needless to say, I immediately rewound and watched the scene again. Laughter ensued.
This is why I love pop culture. Crossovers and references. Sometimes they’re intentional. Sometimes they’re not. But they’re always great to watch.
R2-D2 in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. E.T. in The Phantom Menace. Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine for two seconds in X-Men: First Class. Joel David Moore’s character in Bones, intern Colin Fisher, camping out to get tickets to Avatar. All things regarding the Avengers.
The entertainment industry is about providing entertainment (shocking insight, I know), and crossovers are entertaining. They offer an opportunity for fans to connect over different titles and over our general love of pop culture. They also give us a chance to see who can dish out the most obscure references, because nerds can be competitive too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to re-watch The Namesake, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, and New York, I Love You. I’m sure Khan says the name “Richard Parker” in there somewhere.