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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Twin Takes: Superhero movies

Holy hoodwink, Batman, another superhero movie!

Since the turn of the century, there has been a dramatic rise in the diversity of superhero movies. With the commercial success from the “”Batman Begins”” and “”The Dark Knight”” movies, there has been a great resurgence in the frequency of superhero films. Seeking to capitalize on this lucrative trend, the bigwigs of the movie industry are seemingly pumping out superhero films as fast as they possibly can. Two “”Iron Man”” movies and a rumored third in the works, “”Thor,”” “”Green Lantern,”” “”Captain America”” and “”The Avengers”” are just a few of the numerous superhero movies emerging from this trend.  

What is it about superhero movies that audiences find so captivating? While there are a few exceptions, most movies from this genre follow the same basic plotline. I’ll walk into a theater and watch as the unsuspecting hero acquires his powers through some mysterious accident. The hero will undergo some transformation, discover a wealthy nemesis and confront the villain in a final showdown of good versus evil. Maybe the hero will have a sidekick, girlfriend or league of allies. Perhaps the villain will present a difficult choice to the hero to test his ethics and mettle. And at the end of the movie, the hero saves the day.

I love superhero movies just as much as the next guy. I practically wore out my VHS tape of one the original “”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”” trilogy (the one with Vanilla Ice rapping “”Go Ninja Go Ninja Go”” repeatedly). I understand that movies have more than enough variation with their unique powers, different storylines and distinct character flaws, but there is such a thing called overkill.

It seems every time I turn on the TV, I catch a clip from a superhero movie and not all of them are from Marvel and DC Comics. “”Hancock,”” the weird Will Smith-can-fly-for-no-reason movie, “”My Super Ex-Girlfriend,”” the romantic comedy starring Uma Thurman and the recent “”Spy Kids 4″” movie show that not all superhero movies have to be of a certain quality.

How many “”Spider-Man”” movies do we need? That series has gotten progressively worse since the first installment of 2002 and I seriously doubt rebooting the series so soon will generate more excitement for the web slinger. Everyone knows his story. Please move on. The same can be said for the “”X-Men”” series. I loved the first couple, but did there really need to be five movies? Especially considering how terrible and inaccurate the third movie was in the series.

I don’t think this fast-food superhero trend will last much longer. All it takes is one dud to destroy interest and the trend will disappear. Last time, it was “”Hulk”” with Eric Bana that derailed the superhero train. Perhaps this time it will be the “”Ghost Rider”” sequel and Nicolas Cage.

Wesley Smyth is a junior studying ecology and evolutionary biology. He can be contacted at


Superhero movies turn black and white into flesh and blood

With the release of “”Thor”” and “”Green Lantern,”” many of my friends have been saying they’re tired of the superhero movies. Some might say they no longer care for the spider sense of Spider-Man or the intellect of Professor Xavier. But are there really any better options to these movies? Would you rather bring your buddies to see a romantic comedy? Superhero movies serve a purpose over their alternatives.

As a child, I fell in love with superheroes after watching the television series “”Captain Planet.”” Captain Planet had a catchy theme song, an arch nemesis and a fatal weakness. It was everything you could want in a superhero story. However, the show also had short messages after the show about how you could do your part to save the planet. He was someone I looked up to and respected. He was my 2-D role model.

Now, with the influx of superhero movies, a whole new realm of comic book characters comes to life. For example, “”The Dark Knight,”” which came out in 2008, showed us all a true flesh-and-blood representation of the hero. Prior to that film, I knew only of Batman through my comic books and action figures. He was my imaginary hero and nothing more. After watching that movie, that same imaginary hero suddenly became something real. Wouldn’t you know it, at the end came a message we all can relate to: Individuals can make a difference.

Looking back now as an adult, the kid inside of me still loves the concept of superheroes. These recent superhero movies delve into the moral dilemmas and problems that normal people face on a daily basis such as revenge, despair and helplessness. Although some of the messages may seem obvious, these movies serve as little reminders that help you to be a better person. It’s like when your mom puts an “”I love you”” note in your lunchbox. You know that she loves you, yet it still feels good to be reminded of it.  

Some people say that superheroes are just a source of escapism, and they’re right. Watching movies or comics in which people have extraordinary powers certainly makes us want to escape our reality and pretend we too can fly. Can you blame us? Is it so awful that people might wish that they could have a superpower that could help them with a problem? Is it any different from the people playing “”World of Warcraft”” or reading “”Harry Potter””? They just want to pretend, and find their escape. Who are we to say that they can’t?

Even if, for some reason, you didn’t enjoy the many superhero movies that keep coming out, you don’t have to buy the ticket. As my friend Captain Planet would say, “”The power is yours.””

Taylor Smyth is biology junior. He can be contacted at

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