Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Of Heroes and the Actions of Man

I quite enjoy Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr.  I've yet to see the second, or the Avengers film but from all the recent super hero films, besides batman, it's one of my favorites.  My only concern is why super heroes are once again in the sights of Hollywood and film makers.

Consider when some of the key heroes were born:
  • Superman - 1938
  • Batman - 1939
  • Green Lantern - 1940
  • Captain America - 1940
1933 saw the end of Americas Great Depression and within 7 years (on the scale of things, not a huge amount of time) we have 4 iconic heroes that most people will have heard of - if not all them almost certainly one of them.

Superman - the Dudley Do-right outsider.
Batman with his personal war on [terror?] crime.
Green lantern - champion of law and order
Captain America - the perfect Patriot.

Within the next few years, World War II breaks out at least 2 get conscripted into getting people to rally against Nazi Germany and the Axis threat - "They're doing it, so should you!".  "It's OK - perhaps in there somewhere we have our own Captain America or 'super' man to bring Hitler down!".  

None of the above bad as such, but the heroes were being used as a rallying cry - trying to inspire to be better than we are, or possibly to allude to an unseen savior.  

On a pesonal note, this is why I like Batman best.  Because Superman, America and Lantern have super powers they can only ever act as role models, as no human can ever achieve thier feats; at best, pipe-dreams.  Batman however (as with other heroes of this type like Iron Man) is an inspirational target, something you can aspire to - while you may not have his intellect, wealth or strength, it is possible to attain relative equality based on your circumstance, not to mention that social power requires none of his base traits anyway.

Curiously, after the Second World War, comic book sales declined...

Next up, regard the following:
  • Spiderman - 1962
  • Hulk - 1962
  • Fantastic 4 - 1961
  • X-men - 1963
and major events of close proximity:

Korean war 1950 - 1953
Vietnam War 1955 - 1975

Constant conflict once again throws us (maybe that should read "US"?) into the arms of the Supers, to protect that small amount of innocence  cowering in the corners of our minds that still believes that the Righteous and Just will persevere even in the face of adversity and horror.

Our pasts are what make us, shape us into what we are now, but with that said; back to my initial question.  Why the renewed interest in the Supers?  By comparison, none of the recent conflicts are that significant to those listed above and the only other turmoil has been of financial incompetence and greed, though again resulting in nothing like the Great Depression.  

So did I miss something, or are we being pre-wrapped this time in preparation for something, or is it just that Hollywood twigged the above before I did and are reverse-psychologicalising us into panic buying their films,  hoping that we wont notice that there's nothing actually wrong this time.