Everything Is SuperApril 29th, 2011 | Posted by in Uncategorized
People love heroes. For as long as storytelling has existed, tales of extraordinary individuals defeating creatures or villains have been passed down in painting, sculpture, poems, and books. Even today, the news throws the word “hero” around like it’s going out of style. They seem to become especially popular in times of trouble. And so, it’s no surprise that one of the most persistent movie genres of the last few years is the superhero film.
Just the last decade or so has given us—deep breath—three Spider-Mans with another coming, two Batmans with one on the way, a Superman, again, with another coming, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Unbreakable, a long-in-the-works adaptation of Watchmen, two Iron Mans, two Hulks, Kick-Ass, three X-Men films, plus a spin-off, a sequel to the spin-off in development, and another spin-off being released this summer. Even Pixar got in on it. That is 22 films, and it’s a far from exhaustive list.
Considering the last decade of world events, it’s not a big surprise that many have been markedly darker than the previous iterations of the characters. Superman Returns abandoned much of the humor of the 1978 film in favor of a self-doubting hero looking for his place, and though Tim Burton’s Batman films had a degree of darkness, Christopher Nolan’s reboot grounded them in a recognizable reality.
Some of these films have been great (Superman Returns, while flawed, is woefully underrated), some have been terrible (X-Men: The Last Stand), but all have tapped into this culture of hero worship for a measure of their power. One smaller superhero film that does this extraordinarily well, but without bringing in the pathos and gloom so prevalent in them, is director Mike Doto’s The Legacy, available on IndieFlix. It follows a boy, Billy, whose actor-father played a Superman-like character named Krypto-Man, as he begins to suspect his father of really being a superhero. It’s a sweet, clever film and brings the idea of heroism into the everyday. Billy hero worships his father, and the connection between that admiration and his father’s actual identity is easy to relate to.
We love heroes because we want people to look up to and to aspire to. We want to be protected and be inspired to protect. Our fascination with extraordinary heroes has been a part of humanity forever, it only makes sense that our movies reflect that. What superhero movies do you love? Have you seen The Legacy?