February 6, 2020 in Dag

Why do people still take superheroes seriously?

Ok, I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here. I may just piss a few people off. Although given the number of people who actually read this blog, I figure the risks are pretty low. Still, here I go.

I love superheroes as much as the next person. I think the idea of having amazing powers that set you apart from the people around you is seriously cool. I love a good superhero flick. And when I was a little kid, the very first thing I actively saved money to buy was a set of superhero action figures – I was pretty pleased when I collected the set.

Back in the day, I didn’t see anything wrong with this. Superheroes were fun. A bit of a diversion from the everyday. Sure, maybe there was a serious side to some superhero stories – like any type of fantasy, there are always allegories to be found. But I find it difficult to believe that for most people, superheroes weren’t mainly about the action and the adventure.

Things are pretty different now. From one of many entertainment diversions around, superheroes seem to have become the central figures of popular culture. It feels like every second movie is a superhero movie. And they’re oh so serious – nothing like the frivolous Batman TV series I enjoyed so much in my youth. Everything about these movies, from the lighting to the themes explored and the over-the-top violence reeks of significance.

I’m scratching my head to explain how superheroes emerged from out of the comics and into the centre of our culture. Maybe its about the people who obtained positions of power in Hollywood. Maybe it’s a lack of creativity and imagination – if you can’t think up new stories and characters, just churn the old ones out again. Maybe it’s the idea that in such a complicated world we all feel a little powerless, providing allure to the fantasy of super powers.

Either way, I’ve kind of had enough of it. I’m wishing that when I look at the movie listings, there’d be a bit more variety to what’s on offer. I’m tired of seeing another movies where superhero overcomes supervillain, mainly due to their superior powers – and willingness to use them extremely violently. Hey, we all know how that works in real life, don’t we. To me, at this point in human development, the whole concept of the superhero just feels a bit…silly.

I’m sorry, but we’ve been so oversaturated with superheroes that I can’t possibly look at them seriously any more. To me, they’re figures of ridicule – a little sad and impotent, fighting a losing battle against the complexities around them. I’ve even had a couple of attempts at writing a superhero myself, and each time I can’t help but turn them into figures of supreme silliness – my personal favourite was Procrastoman, a superhero whose special power is to never get to the crime scene in time.

So, as usual, I’m swimming against the tide. I can see the excitement on social media at the announcement of a new superhero film. Most people it seems can’t get enough of these caped marvels. So I’ll just disappear back into the distant margins of popular culture where new ideas reside. Who knows. Superheroes started here. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

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