I love superhero movies and TV shows, but it’s become a bit too much. Did you know that you can buy adult Underoos at Target?
I don’t think I’ve seen a movie, in the theater, in the last couple years that was NOT superhero related. I count Chef. At least in casting.
Even I, Jackie Kashian, dorky comic book fan, am overwhelmed. Because I feel, under the sheer weight of numbers, that I’m being played. The soothing, pacifying, belief in superheroes. We don’t have to do anything. One day, they will.
There’s an interview with Alan Moore from November of 2013 in which he speaks of the importance of dealing with real, dark issues in comics. Now, I don’t know the guy and he is certainly opinionated… But my gut reaction, without enough information, is that I think I’d like him. He seems, to me, like a genuine version of whatever Harlan Ellison is pretending to be.
I was led to Alan Moore’s interview by a quote, taken out of context, claiming that he believes that there will be “catastrophic consequences” to society due to the proliferation of superhero movies. When I read the whole quote I found that what he did say was that relying on the characters and stories of the 20th century might have a negative affect on creativity in the 21st century. That is a beautiful, artistic worry…
But it got me thinking that there might be catastrophic consequences to society due to the proliferation of superhero movies.
On a side note, we waited ’til after the credits for the stinger for Birdman 2 and don’t waste your time.
I love almost all superhero movies and TV shows and comics, but I can feel the palpable touch of reassurance. I feel, gloriously, placated when I watch. Somewhere, out there, the best, noble part of us can be used for good…WITH the power to actually effect change. Quickly.
The rest of us don’t have super strength or speed to catch bad guys in the act. We have to do it the old fashioned way… showing up for one other with our limited physical capabilities and finances.
Legislating help for the downtrodden, locally, isn’t as glamorous as shaking down a drug lord without regard to national sovereignty. Teaching children to value themselves enough to understand that jail and poverty aren’t inevitable is harder than just being a super powered role model, or, if you’re Batman, adopting them.
The last Batman movies were very popular. But I think the weirdo, “b-message” was, in my opinion, that regular people can’t deal with crime or poverty… regular people should despair.
Which is how we all, too often, feel. It’s too big…and we’re encouraged, by this iteration of Batman, to think that.
Thank God there’s Batman. He HAS the money to sustain libraries and create educational opportunities, and Bruce Wayne DOES do that. But, we see the bulk of his fortune spent on gadgets and military grade weapons. That’s what I do not like about parts of the superhero genre right now. It’s America punching poverty in the face. That, actually, doesn’t work. Even Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t make that work. And, oh, how he wanted to.
In the original Batman TV show, Bruce Wayne’s actual superpower was that he was the ONLY adult on that show. The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, or other Batman villains would act up and he’d say to Robin, “Well. That’s not how people should act. That’s wrong. Let’s go explain that to them! POW!” So there was some punching but it was like getting spanked used to be. A warning to grow the fuck up.
Marvel does better… Again, all my opinion. There’s character growth from Iron Man, there’s little guy nobility in Captain America, there’s guilt and genuine atonement in Black Widow.
The Marvel TV shows actually bring it back down a notch. They give us unpowered characters fighting against the supernatural. In real life, it does seem that the problems are so big as to be supernatural. But here are the characters, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, just plugging along. And their powers are no greater than the weird nerd scientist powers of CSI, Bones or NCIS. Heightened, yes, but, we’re to believe, attainable.
I love the heroism. I love the action. I do not love the discouragement or the “turn it over to the ONE guy” attitude that some movies have. The world hasn’t gone so mad that the only way to fix it would be with a lone vigilante, or group of vigilantes. There’s always been crazy evildoers. Regular people stood up to them.
In fiction it was the guy standing with Odysseus, or next to Indiana Jones. In real life it was those guys on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11. That woman who stopped the lone, weird gunman in Decatur, GA.
Regular people do the right thing and live; regular people do the right thing and die. And they make a difference. The superhero movies are great, but what they should not do is soothe us. Don’t pet and quiet our OWN need to stand up and do the right thing by ourselves and the little guy. Those movies and stories should inspire the hero inside each of us. And then we rise to the occasion. Outside the theater. In real life. Here ends the rant.