Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Superhero films provide interesting link to reality

The highly-acclaimed movie “Watchmen” brings to attention the continuing popularity of the superhero movie. Even though each of these films have similar plot lines, they continue to amaze audiences. Why?

These movies provide entertainment with more impressive special effects thanks to computer generated imagery. However, only so many special effects can be used before the plot and character development are blurred. These movies can be put off to the side, such as last summer’s “Hancock.” The special effects alone do not explain why superhero movies continuously top the charts.

Many of these movies, including   “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “The Fantastic Four,” “X-Men,” and “Spider-Man,” all revolve around a certain individual or group that conquers a certain villain.

The setting is usually a city where crime runs free or a vigilante runs loose, such as Gotham City from “Knight” or New York City from the “Spider-Man.” This crime correlates loosely with some of the problems that face present society. These issues include, but are not limited to, terrorism, global warming or natural disasters.

People might just want a superhero to appear and solve the problems at hand just like what happens in the movies, where in the end the imaginary city is safe from whatever the dilemma.

The hero restores hope and power to the people just as the society needs.

The reinforcement of hope establishes who is the “good guy,” since in daily life those characters are not so clear and explicit. In the movies, the characters are reduced to simpler categories: good and evil. Viewing it allows us to step away from the dismal reality of uncertainty.

Or perhaps, it is what destroys a hero that interests us.

The hero is a mirror of us and in that way demonstrates that even the greatest people have their respective flaws. The movies touch on identity and what it means to be different.

The Dark Knight explores how fighting the enemy might blur the division between good and evil. This is Batman’s weakness, a probable transformation that could result in his downfall. Another weakness is his loneliness, another characteristic that we can likely   all relate to at times.

The idea of acceptance is one in play in the “X-Men” films, where the mutants are shunned by the public for their genetic gifts.   However, in the end they learn to accept and to assimilate into mainstream culture, just as people are trying to do today.

People try to join all types of groups, many from which they are shunned from.   Or perhaps the “X-Men” are a reflection of America’s history.

Superman continuously searches for his identity and this establishes the black and white decisions that we all strive for. Superman does not know where he comes from; however, he does know that his weakness is kryptonite. The blemish is explicit and Superman can then save the world and earn fame.

These movies address all too familiar issues that we face today: war, conformity, identity and global warming are just a few.

Through this entertainment it allows the viewers to step away from reality and feel that we are not alone. Even superheroes have the same shortcomings, fears and problems we do.

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