Why We Need Another SuperHero Movie


tall, dark and dashing: my favourite Marvel character (photo credit: Marvel Comics)

Why do we need another superhero movie? Not because it is a surefire box office hit guaranteed to rake in nine-figure (and increasingly, ten-figure) revenues for the parent studio. Not because it delivers special effects on a breathtakingly epic scale. Not because we need to hear zippy one-liners, see brightly coloured spandex tights and/or capes on perfectly sculpted bodies that may be eye candy to some, or custom cars and planes that, although aesthetically amazing, are also scientifically impossible and/or hideously expensive to operate in real life. Not because it gives comic book fanboys and fangirls the opportunity to critique, sometimes in exhaustive detail, the silver screen depiction, faithful or unfaithful, of a pantheon of heroes and their respective stories from the Marvel or DC Comics universes (or multiverses). 

Wonder Woman

unsung DC Comics legend Wonder Woman (Photo credit: Jeff Chapman)

No, we need one because of the simple message of tolerance and acceptance. Misunderstandings and snap judgements are easy. With NightCrawler’s pointy ears, sharpened canines, and tail, you would think him to be the spawn of Satan (which he is, but that hasn’t stopped him from aspirations to the priesthood and his helping others in non-spiritual ways). Acceptance and tolerance, especially for those who may be remarkedly different from us as far as lifestyle choices and physical appearance are concerned, are tough but empowering choices. Sometimes it takes years to undo a lifetime of biases. Sometimes it takes just one pivotal event.

We need to have individuals who, as unique if not as otherworldly as they may be when it comes to their power(s) of intelligence, speed, and/or strength are concerned, have their Achilles heel. Even Wonder Woman’s idealized Amazonian civilization has holes in it; as Steve Trevor sardonically pointed out in the Wonder Woman 2008 animated movie: “Like women and men need less communication.” Without descending into schadenfraudenistic tendencies, we need those characters to have their albatrosses, their dark moments (putting aside the reality that the comic book destinies of most superheroes ultimately play out like Greek tragedies), and to be “works-in-progress”. We need them to be like us, so we can believe that we can be like them.


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