Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Superhero Effect


Last year alone in only three movies, the super hero genre grossed more than 1.3 billion dollars. This year is shaping up similarly. For a world that seems to scoff at the mere mention of the word “saviour”, we are still obsessed with the idea of someone rising against evil to save us all.

And yet, this is a world that is so confident of the fact that we no longer need to be saved. What with our man-made laws, weapons, scientific advances and other inventions, we seem to think that we are above requiring a saviour. After all, we have pillars of democracy, knowledge and military power upon which to found society.  

So why is it that we idolize men (and women too) in tights and capes, with money and big machines and with powers beyond normal human abilities? Wouldn’t this hero worship contradict the entire movement of western thought – an immigration from faith to reason? For as surely as we worship money and science, we make gods out of the likes of Ironman and Batman. After all this time, we are still looking to someone better, someone more than human, to save the world.

I guess when it comes down to it, what these movies appear to offer is a kind of hope. Indeed, there is assurance given with having evil always lose and that what is bad in the world can be clearly distinguished and eradicated. Or maybe it’s more than even that. Perhaps the heroes of the big screen sate a secret yearning that someone will be able to make up for humanity’s shortcomings.


But the world’s not made like the movies. Right and wrong are never straightforward. And the hero we expect only blinds us from the one we never deserved. 

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