I notice people seem to like reading about superheroes, and that’s great, because so do I. They are an interesting subject.
Though if I’m not mistaken, superheroes are a development of the past 50-60 years, which is an extremely short time in the grand scope of things.
I wonder why that is, the idea of superheroes is such an instant win among the old and young alike, why is it so recent?
The answer just occurred to me as I was writing the above, it’s because superheroes are a new type of an old idea.
The idea that there could be beings like humans, only with more power, more goodness, more courage.
And from this naturally springs the idea that there could be beings similar to that, but evil instead of good, and the good and evil would fight each other.
The strange thing is that no matter what form this idea had taken, whether of ancient Greek and Roman gods; or the spirits of tribal religions; or just the elements themselves having a form and personality; the inevitable theme of these good and evil beings fighting for control of mankind is introduced.
Why is that?
And are superheroes really a new thing in that sense? People love them because there are few story forms that make the battle between good and evil seem more epic than a superhero form does.
People become crazily enamored of supers, to the point where it is hardly even fiction to them anymore. They even try to be in that world as much as possible. Via fan fiction, fan clubs, and the catch phrases.
“I know all your moves; your crime fighting style; favorite catch phrases; everything! I am your number one fan!” (Buddy to Mr. Incredible.)
But what happens to him? If you’ve seen The Incredibles, than you know Buddy gets rejected by his hero, and it leads him to become a villain, which is cliché, but it works in this film because Buddy literally wanted to be Mr. Incredible’s sidekick. Buddy bitterly says that “You can’t count on anyone, especially your heroes.”
Am I the only one noticing that the fan–superhero relationship is slowly becoming a love–hate one?
It’s like, dare I say, we are disillusioned. More and more movies are exploring the weaknesses of being superheroes, the Batman films are especially dark.
On the other hand, there are those who remain fiercely loyal despite the growing moral dilemma attached to even having supers exist. Explored, ironically, by The Incredibles, and later Captain America: Civil War, and I’m sure you could think of a few others, even Justice League Unlimited got into it.
The conclusion always is, we need superheroes, because we have super villains. But maybe it is too much to hope that our supers will remain heroes on their own, as Civil War suggests.
I am not necessarily against that movie or any of these movies, on the contrary, I love The Incredibles. That movie makes a pretty good case for having supers, without idolizing them.
In my personal experience, the action and adventure of the superhero genre is awesome, and you want more and more, but when it comes time to reflect on it and evaluate what you saw, finding the point can be difficult.
I’m well aware, not everyone cares. Particularly the people who don’t like the genre that much. but I suspect the reason they don’t like it is because it often has no clear cut message.
But I do care about there being a point. And it bugs me when the screenwriters aren’t really sure of what they are saying.
The same problem occurs every time. There’s a huge conflict, a lot of tension for the protagonist, the villain makes an evil speech about their depressing world view; and very rarely now does the hero make any comeback except a one liner.
Does anyone else notice it often seems like the hero doesn’t even know what they think, just that they need to defeat the bad guy?
There’s a clear message here, evil is complex, good is simplistic.
Well, maybe good is simple, but that doesn’t mean it should be vague.
In the end, it’s just the heroes view against the villains, and the normal civilians have no perspective at all, they just go with whichever side. We want the hero to win, but we enjoy the villain just as much.
I could start naming names, but it is unnecessary and I’ll only make somebody mad. But I’m sure examples came to mind.
What is so scary to me is that I could bring up this point and get absolutely no concern from the person I was taking to.
Are good and evil equal? No.
It is true, we still want good to win; but we are diving deeper and deeper into evil, because it takes more and more to make us afraid, to get our hearts pounding, to make us feel the suspense.
What was horror back in the sixties is laughable now.
Evil has not changed, but the amount of it we willingly expose ourselves to has.
This is not to knock superhero fiction, I think it can be awesome, but it is not awesome when the heroes are shown less and less respect.
On a final note, people grow disillusioned with supers because they are not perfect, but they seemed to be, at their conception. The Superman of the fifties and sixties had no faults. It was annoying.
Supers may be, as my dad says, the ultimate humanistic ideal…but the ideal is unattainable. The supers themselves cannot hold to it even in our imaginations. We are looking for something in supers that is not there.
They are great examples, but very poor solutions. They break down under that kind of pressure.
I still have my favorites, but my days of obsession are over. I’ve found a new obsession.
It seems to me that the genre of supers has declined because we are less hopeful than we used to be, instead of overwhelming victory, as supers used to have, there is a struggle that nearly ends in favor of the villain, until the last possible moment.
But as moving as that can be, it is rare in real life. I prefer to have more hope than that.
And I do hope you got something out of this, until next time–Natasha.