Look, it’s a massive bird. Oh no! It’s a plane heading straight for that building. There’s panic all over; there seems to be no way out. Suddenly and stylishly, we see a man dressed in a web-like costume, swinging from one building to another, who effortlessly halts the plane just in time to have saved an entire population from devastation – only to realize that we’re in the movie theatre. We regain our emotions and pretend like nothing happened although we secretly wish to be swept off our feet by the character we just saw.
So, what is it about superheroes and our fascination with them? It’s certainly not something we have recently been infected with; our love for comic stars and superhero movies goes back to the time of Captain America and Flash. Since then it has only been catching on with movies like the Star Wars, Star Trek series, Green Lantern, Thor, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Superman, followed by the Batman and Superman series. The year of 2012 has particularly been the best for the geeks with the grand opening by the Avengers followed by the Amazing Spiderman, only to be ignited by the culmination of the Batman series with the release of The Dark Knight Rises.
We know that they are fictional characters but are yet drawn to them, I wonder why. The common thread that all these characters possess is the superhuman capability- invisibility, the ability to fly, walk through fire and protect us from the bad guys whom we can’t fight on our own. Though they might have some superpowers, they are normal humans who lead a parallel life like any of us. Each superhero has its own appeal which we subconsciously identify with.
The Hulk is the perfect metaphor for our fear of showing anger or destruction. There is a time in everybody’s life when they’ve wanted to ‘hulk smash’ something or someone in their lives. There is Spiderman who almost every teenager could relate with for his embodiment of innocence. Everyone who has been bullied in their school days wishes within for a Batman to have rescued them when they were being bullied. Then there was the Green Hornet, where this has been shown by two men start their new career of fighting crime by adorning masks. Who has not wished to be Superman, a man above all men? Or Wonder Woman, for the ladies?
I believe that it holds the explanation that people have belief in God. Most people know that there is less reason to believe in God but still do for their omnipresence helps them feel the hand of a greater power above them. Same is with the concept of superheroes. We look at them with awe, a reverence near God-like. They are our God’s on Earth, reducing the gap between the illusory and real world by taking the lead against evil and promoting everything good. Highly popular television series, The Big Bang Theory, reinforces my belief by showing four highly qualified young men and how their world revolves around the world of comics and superheroes with them fighting over original comic copies, attending comic cons, collecting outfits and memorabilia.
In midst of all the hype and hoopla over these movies, let’s come out of the illusion for a minute. Is there enough market for all such movies to be absorbed and sustain? Does the fact that it is easier to pick up a comic book and turn it into a movie explain why Hollywood is so keen to keep making them? Unfortunately, this hit formula may lead to loss of realistic movies and stifling of original ideas since the shortcut may distract many. Also, few people tend to get too carried away and refrain from getting out of the theatre even when the movie is long over. Of course, most of these movies make truck loads of money but that should not be taken as reason enough for Hollywood to milk this cash-cow beyond its capacity.
With the Dark Knight crossing millions and halls having been booked in advance, it may well be the last chance for people to tuck themselves in with a tub of popcorn to enjoy the edge and seriousness that the series have always offered, as Christopher Nolan bows out of directing superhero films with the culmination of the series. So, for the last time, I look forward to allowing myself to be drifted into a world of not just fast-paced trains, trucks, bat-mobiles and flying men-in-shining-armor but a world of pure joy!