Contemporary “Heroes”

As an avid follower of hero movies, this commentary on the nature of what kind of person we consider “heroic” is a poignant and revealing one. While watching Man of Steel, I found myself longing for Superman to mess up, to do something wrong, to be something less than Jesus–but honestly, isn’t longing for human flaws in a movie about Superman a bit contradictory? Should we really be searching and hoping for flaws to emerge in those we consider heroes? Both in movies, and in reality?

arussthebus

The new Superman is a “hero” for our times: dark, moody, and full of angst. The Internet is still awash with blog posts and movie reviews that detail the controversy behind the ending of this year’s new Superman movie, Man of Steel. Apparently, Superman defeats his enemy, the renegade Kryptonian General Zod (played by Michael Shannon this time around, and by Terence Stamp in 1980’s Superman II), by snapping his neck. Many longtime fans of the characters and franchise have stressed that Superman would not resort to murder in order to defeat his enemies, and that this treatment of him as a character, along with the movie’s overwhelming amount of visually-driven action sequences, have detracted from what makes him great in the comic books, television adaptations, various animated cartoons, and the film series starring Christopher Reeve.

This has caused me to look more closely at the most recent…

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