A few years ago, MoneySupermarket. The Batman obsession led me to fret, because — Superman aside — these heroes are bad role models.
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He cannot form stable relationships with women this applies to all of them. Anti-intellectualism is essential; none of the superheroes seems to read books, except Professor X of X-Men. They exist to punch people. Even so, I was relieved when he exited the Batman phase and turned, at five, to Spider-Man, the geeky teenager who spurts white matter everywhere what a metaphor!
He has a Spider-Man jumper with a hood that closes over his face, so his superpower is, effectively, blindness. When he wears it, I have to hold his hand to stop him banging into lamp-posts. Then came Captain America, alongside an interest in American history, which is ill-served by Captain America books because they rub out all the bad stuff; then Iron Man.
His Iron Man costume has a light you can turn on and off, like the inside of a car. What is gamma radiation? Even non-related subjects are seconded to superheroism. Will presents be brought by Captain Birthday? At one point he created a character called Captain Fuck. When you believe that hope is lost, up pops an ideal so masculine, it can wear a cape and be admired.
Superman came in , a response to the Great Depression; Batman in , with the beginnings of the second world war. That the superhero canon was created, almost entirely, by Jewish immigrants — Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster , Bob Kane and Bill Finger — is more a matter for psychologists than hacks, but I suspect they just wanted to be taller and to smash things, like my son.
Superheroes change, decade to decade, depending on what is required of them. You made a Superman.
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No boots? My son cannot possibly know all this, though he knows deeper truths and his own needs. It is his reach for magic and the divine; superheroism is his religion. I am bringing him up as Jewish, but there is no affiliated Lego set for that, or pyjamas, and there is no superhero. Even Moses screwed up in the end. Batman and Iron Man give him the powers he knows he does not have, and protect him from the fears he does have. What is that but religion?
So, without further caveats, here are the results Chronicle, though, does exactly that. Tragedy inevitably strikes and Chronicle hurtles forward at breakneck speed, the final eschewing a neat conclusion in favour of a more realistic, grounded ending that deals with how superheroes would survive or otherwise in the real world.
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Bonus points for featuring Michael B. Best superhero moment: The friends flying together through the clouds is one of the few times we get to see everyone enjoying a happy, carefree moment. Director Guillermo Del Toro cut his superhero teeth with Blade II, shimmied successfully into Hellboy, and then brought out the big guns, quite literally, for the sequel, The Golden Army. This isn't merely a carbon copy of the original — a trap many superhero sequels fall into.
Instead, Del Toro crams this deliciously bonkers sequel with a complicated plot that nevertheless works thanks to the sheer bombasity of it. Everything you loved from the first movie — the quippy one-liners, supporting characters, steampunk props — is still here in abundance. Ron Perlman's on top-form as Hellboy, plus the supporting cast, including Selma Blair, Doug Jones and Jeffrey Tambor, are given their fair share of screen time. Best superhero moment: Hellboy, champ that he is, takes on the entire golden army — an ancient race of killing machines.
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After Kenneth Brannagh's Shakespearean origin story and Alan Taylor's po-faced sequel, Thor was begging for a fresh start. Thank goodness, then, for Taika Waititi, director of What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, who turned the character around, re-imagining the God of Thunder as an arrogant, comedic mess. Thor: Ragnarok may not be the most important MCU movie, story-wise, but the movie makes for the funniest Marvel outing to date.
Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Jeff Goldblum are all clearly having a blast playing off the fast and loose script. Also featuring dazzlingly outlandish visuals, thanks to some impressive set design and fantastical uses of CGI, Ragnarok makes for a comic book-induced fever dream. Directors The Russo Brothers took what could have been a bland sequel to a so-so superhero movie and made something very special with The Winter Soldier: an action flick that, instead of harkening back to the first film's Second World War adventure, brings the paranoia of the Regan Era into the 21st Century.
They even cast Robert Redford. Having now caught up with the world, Cap's back, and ready to bring down the enemy.
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But who's the enemy? That's the central question here, and one that leads to a jaw-dropping twist that changed the MCU and the TV show Agents of Shield forever. Best superhero moment: When Steve Rogers takes out an entire elevator full of Hydra agents. The number of superhero movies that have successfully juggled including multiple villains can be counted on one hand the number of failures, though, requires you to use your fingers and toes.
Against the odds, Superman 2 successfully managed exactly that, pitting Christopher Reeve's Son of Krypton against numerous antagonists Krypton criminals General Zod, Ursa and Non in addition to a returning Lex Luthor , and pulling it off in near flawless style. This, on top of the much publicised behind-the-scenes woes original director Richard Donner was fired over halfway through production , makes Superman 2 something of a movie miracle.
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How did the sequel succeed where others have since failed? Maybe he doesn't have enough money, maybe he has a family problem, maybe the girl he loves doesn't love him. Or maybe the girl he loves doesn't want to be involved with a superhero. There are so many things you can think of that round out the character and the personality, so the superhero isn't just one or two dimensional. You want a three-dimensional superhero who lives and breathes and worries and experiences things just the way you and I do except for the fact that she or he has a superpower.
One thing I might mention, most writers - and I think it's an unfortunate thing - they try to write something that they think a certain audience might enjoy. I've never been able to do that because I can't put myself in the mind of other people. I only know what I enjoy, so every time I've written a story, I've always tried to write the sort of story that I, myself would enjoy reading, a story that would interest me while I'm writing it as I'm waiting to find out what happens next.
And I can't know what other people think, but I can know what I think, and I feel I'm not that unusual; if there's a type of story I like, there must be lots of people who like the same type of stories. Therefore, I have always written to please myself, not to please a certain type of audience, because you can't know the audience as well as you know yourself. And if I write a story that I'm enjoying while I'm writing it and I can't wait to see what happens next, then I'm hoping that a large proportion of the public will feel the same way, and they'll enjoy it too.
So to sum it up, I have always tried to please myself, not other people, and somehow, it seems to have worked because I guess I'm not that different than other people. So, to wrap it up, what I suggest is, use your imagination, don't be afraid to come up with the wildest thought in the world. If what you create is truly different and colorful, and if it's written well, people will enjoy it. Now when I say "written well," what I mean is you might have the most fantastic notion in the world, suddenly you have a man who can fly faster than the speed of light.
That could be interesting, but you have to make him believable, you have to give the reader or the audience some reason to think he really has the ability to do that.
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