The Superhero Era: Just Movie-Making or Something Deeper?

25 Oct

[From my Sidelines writing again.  Enjoy!]

I remember walking to 7-Eleven every month as a girl to get my grape Now-or-Laters and my newest issue of X-Men.

I remember walking to 7-Eleven every month as a girl to get my grape Now-or-Laters and my newest issue of X-Men.

So here we are, about to jump into the pervading psyche of Superhero movie fans, ready to dive into history and thought processes and imagine we know whence they come, here in America at least! Ready? Maybe so, maybe not? Let’s make some educated guesses, then:

The original prompt my editor created that sparked this quick post (smile!) is: The Superhero Era and the pervasive influence of films starring the übermensch: Does this say something deeper about our society’s view of individuals (as opposed to collectives), or is it simply that Hollywood has found a way to cash in on an existing fan base?

Let me see: I’m an original “Uncanny X-Men” girl. I began reading those comics at age 4, when I wandered into my uncle’s bedroom while he was away for the day at high school around 1970 or 1971, discovering his stash of Superman and X-Men lying there among his Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov novels, which I also began to read later on those country days while my grandmother did her work downstairs. (Thank goodness I didn’t discover anything else, being that he was a teen male, but there it is.)

So, no one who knew me then would be surprised to know now that I am one who wants to see just about every superhero movie that ever gets made these days. Others like me (are you out there?) may also not be surprised to know I am often disappointed when I DO get to watch a movie based on my favorite comics, but all of us continue to pay to watch them nonetheless. (An aside: I am STILL waiting for Banshee to show up in the X-Men movie franchise, and I still contend that Lela Rochon would have been a better choice for Storm than Halle Berry, even though Halle is still my girl.)

In any case, since the beginning of storytelling time, before Homer, before Canterbury Tales, before Murasaki Shikibu and “The Pillow Book”, we have been looking for the Everyman, the übermensch, and the underdog, all of whom are related. It makes sense that Hollywood would like to cash in on a quest we’ve been on since the dawn of time. Hollywood is about money and about what fuels dreams, and for many of us, characters that supersede our everyday life, that pose questions and embark on quests beyond our daily life, that answer deep questions that pervade our daily life – these characters will always be in demand.

That’s my educated guess. What do you think?

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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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