As I’m sure you have noticed, a large number of superhero-themed movies and TV shows currently captivate the attention of millions of, dare I say, superfans.
Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere in the middle of the ocean, everyone has heard of Iron Man, Batman, Superman, Thor, Captain America, and the like. These are a fraction of the number of characters involved in both the Marvel and DC franchise, and literally everyone who follows either series, including yours truly, ends up completely hooked.
“I am totally obsessed with Marvel movies; I have this calendar where I count the days until the next movie comes out.” Jenna Coleman, a Senior attending San Clemente High School says excitedly, adding as an afterthought, “I’ve watched every single movie at least three times. It’s seriously addicting.”
Unfortunately, not everyone shares this enthusiastic point of view when it comes to superhero films. Many adults who grew up with the comic books and cheesy shows featuring a guy painted green with obviously fake blown-up muscles see these new high-tech movies as too violent and gory.
“I can barely keep up with everything that happens in those movies. There’s just so much happening, and then someone ends up dead and I’m completely lost,” groans Lynda Tweed, a 72 year old woman living in Ohio. She often takes her grandchildren to the theaters to watch these popular films but ends up utterly bemused by the spectacle of explosions and fighting on the screen.
It could be that many people enjoy these kind of movies because they allow us to imagine a much more interesting world than the one we live in and let us explore the possibilities of, say, life on other planets, people with incredible abilities, and the yearning to be so much more than you are. These films give us adventure, friendship, betrayal, awesome fight scenes, and romance, all in a very nice package including Chris Hemsworth and Scarlet Johansson.
Another interesting theory regarding America’s obsession with Superhero franchises is that we crave violence, not justice, and enjoy watching such spectacles unfold because it fulfills this subconscious need to punish others that is not really an accepted idea in modern society.
I mean, when you get angry, you can’t just start punching the teacher that gave you a bad grade on a test, but in movies, anything can happen, especially in superhero movies.
In the end, obsession or no obsession, these are just movies. Granted, they are pretty awesome, but also simply works of fiction and special effects, a welcome escape from our dreary everyday lives and nothing more. We can live vicariously through the thrilling escapades ofThe Justice League or The Avengers, but once the film is over, we are catapulted back into reality.
The obsession, or rather, the enthrallment associated with superhero movies has more to do with the love many people have for a believable alternative to their own lives. They might not have powers or save lives every day, but these films remind us that you don’t need to be gifted to be a superhero; a mother is a superhero for putting up with her children and making dinner and working, and the same goes for a father.
Everyone has a piece of greatness within them, and these movies allow us to believe that one day we could actually make a difference in the world.