Of Gods, men and jerks: We can be (super) heroes
Every now and again, I like to watch men and women in technicoloured fetish suits pummel each other for a good 90 to 120 minutes.
Earlier this week, I did just that and took the time to catch Marvel’s latest technogasm, Thor. It was awesome.
Stuff blew up, there were heaps of bright colours and Anthony Hopkins proved that elastic-less eye patches are indeed the way of the future.
There was even a giant fire-shooting robot thing, which, of course, can only ever add to the cinematic experience.
I’ve never been a fanboy, but – like most blokes – I don’t mind the odd Iron Man or X-Men movie.
They’re usually quite refreshing after a few months of stuttering kings, courtroom dramas, flawed anti-heroes, and Adam Sandler pretending he’s still relevant.
Superhero flicks don’t waste time pretending to be anything but pure escapism. This guy is the good guy and this other guy is the bad guy. The former will smash the latter in the face with a giant hammer and then we can all get back to worrying about bills and bitching about Justin Bieber.
Over the past few years, superhero movies have proved to be exceptionally lucrative. A new one comes out virtually every six months, which is usually preceded by two years of clever marketing and followed by two sequels, three prequels, four reboots, and tiny man-made luxury islands for all involved.
They consistently rake in megabucks and there’s a very simple reason why.
Deep down, everyone wants to be a superhero – except, of course, Donald Trump, who seems hell-bent on becoming a cartoonish supervillain who spends all his time buying real estate and simultaneously ruining TV and democracy.
My chosen power, for instance, would involve being able to be extremely ripped at all times without having to perform any sort of physical exercise.
That way, I could spend my days modelling sweet suits and watches, throwing Logie recipients into the Sun and using my laser vision to burn tiny, barely noticeable holes in rich people’s stuff.
But that would make me a jerk, not a superhero.
I’ve always been surprised by how much people actually care about their favourite comic book characters.
A lot of folk, for example, are pretty concerned about serial green screen-user Zack Snyder helming the latest Superman reboot.
They’re worried he’s going to reduce the Man of Steel to three hours of slow-motion fight scenes set to Jefferson Airplane and ruin him forever. Supes, you see, is especially important to film buffs because he represents the very best that the comic world has to offer.
He is also reportedly hidden somewhere in every single episode of Seinfeld, which I guess makes him kind of a big deal.
I still remember watching Christopher Reeve’s Superman as a kid and thinking he was the dude.
Years later, I found out that The Dude from The Big Lebowski was actually the dude – but that didn’t change the fact that Superman was a pretty decent guy. His appeal lies not in his ability to fly or lift awkwardly-shaped heavy things, but in the fact that everyone looks up to him.
Superhero movies are all about aspiring to be something better: stronger, wiser, kinder, Natalie Portman’s lover.
We often forget that one of the best things about being human is that we’re imperfect.
No matter how awesome we think we are, there’s always a better version of us out there. Theoretically, this makes us – particularly me - infinitely awesome.
Donald Trump, however, is once again an exception. Every version of that guy is just plain horrible. In an ideal world, Trump would be a giant lump of butter who lives inside a volcano made out of hot knives.
Superman, however, would probably still save him – if only because butter grease is really hard to wash off stainless steel.
What would your chosen superpower be?
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