The Superhero Craze
It’s that time of year again. We all must choose our allegiance to our favorite super hero as the movies roll out one after another. This summer is especially packed, with Marvel releasing Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and the much awaited The Wolverine, coming seven years after X-men: The Last Stand. With the conclusion of the Dark Knight Trilogy, DC Comics now hits the silver screen with Man of Steel, bringing Superman once again into the spotlight. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have come together for the film, with Christopher Nolan listed as a producer for the project.
So why do these movies cause such a stir? Haven’t we seen it all before?
An avid super fan like myself would tell you otherwise. We love these movies because they appeal to our sense of wonder, our fascination with that elusive “something more.” Superheroes have the potential for greatness. Whether they can shoot laser beams out of their eyes or lift a four ton truck, we know that they will help people with their rare gifts.
Then are we just living vicariously through them?
I would be lying if I told you I didn’t, but when we see their struggles on the screen, we realize that they’re not that different from us normal folk. They make mistakes. They fumble with relationships. They face tough moral challenges that test their sense of right and wrong. I face the same dilemmas every day, be it on a smaller scale, and don’t need pyrokinesis to do the right thing.
And that is why we love to watch them. Without the powers they are just people, imperfect like the rest of us, each bringing their own unique problems to the table. I can safely say that all of these heroes grapple with mortal issues, whether they’re an alien, a god, or physically incapable of dying. Superheroes don’t have it as easy as we think.
So if they are so human, what makes them heroes?
It’s not that they aren’t heroes; it’s just that we are, too. Yes they are superhuman, capable of physical feats impossible to the average person, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t change the world all the same. When I publicize local nonprofits here at MCM, I’m a community hero without the powers (or at least they haven’t manifested yet). So maybe we shouldn’t call them superheroes. They are really just super people.
That said, I’m with Wolverine.