Why do we still need superhero movies? Enough. (..read it)

Posted: January 30, 2017 in Thinkposts
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have a friend who is an extreme movie-goer.  Loves movies.  Loves reviewing them.  Does not have a blog.  One of his common complaints is that there’s just too many superhero movies, and too many of them are flops for the “genre” to still be considered legitimate and not beaten to a pulp.  He says, what gives?  Suicide Squad was maybe decent at best.  Batman VS Superman is something we don’t talk about (literally never going to review that movie), the X-Men movies are slowly deteriorating, etc.  Now, this is his argument – it is not mine.  The last few Spider-Man movies had split personalities, with some people adoring them and some others wanting to puncture their eardrums, although I don’t remember them getting particularly high reviews.  I fall into the latter category to the extent where I also wanted to gouge my eyes out.

So, why do we need so many of them? If you don’t like even a slight mention of politics, look away now.  Move your mouse, have it hover the X button, press it, and get up and walk away.  Don’t have No Chill.  Although I hate to tell you – superhero movies very often get political.  X-Men can be (mutant registry, hello?).  Captain America can be.  America as in *AMERICA* (THE COUNTRY, AMERICA).  Batman can be.  The comics can be even more so.

Image result for captain america punching hitler

Real subtle.

Superheroes show us that (^), even when it’s not deliberate.  Superheroes show us Captain America punching Hitler.  Superheroes show us the X-Men fighting to not be put on a “list of mutants” type deal.  Superheroes show us alien Superman isn’t all that different except he’s really buff.  In the current divisive political climate, regardless  of what you think, superheroes show us that their situations aren’t actually all that different from ours.  And you know what?  We need to see that.  We need to be reminded to be everyday heroes.  We need to be reminded how the struggles truly are similar in some respects, and what we can do about it.  Sure, we aren’t rich and have a personal butler, and we don’t have superhuman serum, but we have something.  We have the power to organize, to fight back, and to argue with those in power.  We have the power to resist, even if it ends without a success.

With American politics being so shitty, my advice is to take solace in the fictional who undoubtedly harbor more power than we do.  Each movie, each comic, each character – has a statement to bring to the table.  Comic books are also a medium that do not shy from political commentary.  That’s why we still need superhero movies.  They can say things to a mass group of people, masked in a playful cloth.  They can comment – hell, their actors can also comment – unapologetically and brutally, but just subtle enough to not alienate.  We need them because, despite all this, they still bring people together.  But, they make them talk, too.

But why superheroes?  Can’t we just make a CIA movie?

No.  Superheroes give people hope.  Superheroes are people we look up to.  Superheroes are something bigger than all of us and everything we know if they were real.  You can fire a CIA agent.  A cop.  An FBI agent.  A masked vigilante can’t be fired.  They’re controlled by their morals and their power.  Since when did you look at a CIA agent and feel a sense of hope?

My advice is to harness that power for what you believe in.

But, just like divisive superhero movies – another takeaway – don’t forget who your friends are, even if you disagree with them.  Speak softly and carry a big stick.

But now, more than ever, we should be looking to them.

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Comments
  1. swanpride says:

    Well…the MCU gives me hope. Especially the Captain America Franchise does a really good job questioning certain ideas. But the DCEU has the tendency to actually encourage them.

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    • jaypt says:

      I haven’t actually looked much into the DCU side of things just because Marvel is so much better at movies and that’s primarily my focus. I’m curious as to what you mean though. Have a few examples?

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      • swanpride says:

        I feel that the movies – especially Man of Steel and Batman v Superman – lean too much into the idea that we need a “strong person” to “fix things”….the MCU kind of has the problem too with the first Ironman movies, but it changes its tune very fast and goes for a more “power isn’t the solution for everything” approach. But in the DCEU, we have so called heroes which basically do whatever they want, and the ones who criticize them for doing so, are either villains or get blown up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jaypt says:

        Interesting point. I definitely want to rewatch some things and feel out my thoughts on this.

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      • swanpride says:

        Pay attention to the scene between Clark and Ghost!Daddy, in which more or less all consequences of whatever Clark does pretty much get dismissed. I don’t think that this was the intention, but it comes off as “it doesn’t matter if you end up killing people as long as your intentions were good”. And that is in my eyes a very damaging message.

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      • jaypt says:

        Man of steel definitely has that feel that one person can save everything. The only thing I can think of is to turn it on its head just to show the ramifications of that. It probably isn’t at all intentional but a lesson can still come out of the narrative at least.

        I agree it’s an overall bad message.

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  2. jaypt says:

    Man of Steel definitely has that feel. That one person can save everything. But maybe that can be turned on its head a bit just to show the ramifications of that. It might not be intentional but a lesson can still come out of the narrative at least

    I agree that is an overall bad message though.

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