Speculations on Superhero Movies: The Surprising Things You Can Learn

E J says…

Why are these so popular? Sure, the production values are terrific — the special effects worth watching just on their own. But for something to be popular, it must touch on the collective soul at a particular time and place.

Perhaps they are wish fulfillment. Many problems both in our personal lives and in the world generally seem to be intractable. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to solve problems as easily as a superhero?

Or, in a day and age when so many of our heroes have been tarnished, isn’t it nice to believe for a few hours while watching a movie, that we still have heroes?

Or, when so many have turned from religion, do we still yearn for something that is more than human? Do we still want gods? Or a god?

I recently watched the Black Panther superhero movie. It was aspirational and inspirational – had a good message. I have watched several Iron Man movies. They’re good. Evil weapons manufacturer turns to saving the world. I watched a few others, but didn’t like them as much as the two I list above. Wonder Woman had a good message of female empowerment. Guardians of the Galaxy was super funny. I didn’t like the sequel as well. The Avengers was alright. I didn’t like Avengers: Infinity War, which killed a bunch of superheroes off. Seemed to contradict the whole point as far as I was concerned. Thor movies feature such a likable main character that I enjoy them despite thinking they are simply mindlessly fun.

It is always clear in these movies who the good guys are. The theme good versus evil is always popular. And a movie with fast action appeals to many. But, is that all there is to the appeal of these cinematic efforts? Or do they say something about the fears and anxieties of our world?

Anyone have anything to add?

Tags: superhero movies

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One Reply to “Speculations on Superhero Movies: The Surprising Things You Can Learn”

  1. I think you raise some good points here! I don’t quite buy into the theory that superheroes replace gods in an increasingly secular world, although more and more I’m finding it hard to argue. I do think we want heroes, though – especially, as you pointed out – with so many of our heroes becoming tarnished. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the superhero genre really came to dominate the American box office in late 2001, after all.

    Definitely a great post that raises some interesting questions!

    Liked by 1 person

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