Super heroes and you:
Out last weekend Dr. Strange, the 14th or 9th, or 108th installment in the Marvel Universe Franchise came hurdling in a way to give Stanley his hypothetical 100th yacht, if he was a yacht collector.
Ever since Spider-Man, this century has had one guarantee, and it is the super-hero film are safe bets. This became even more true when Marvel decided to take helm of its’ character’s movie rights. The gamble to connect all these characters has paid off in 80-fold and it seems that if they decided to bring in the MWA or a DARKHAWK, film, they could still rack in the dough. And why is that?
Marvel, and a half-hearted attempt from DC, have vague metaphors for evil, such as greed (IRON MAN 2), power (Dr. Strange), world conquest (Captain America), revenge (Thor 2), truth (Avengers 2). These abstract motives of the villains are the reason for their success and not the flashy super heroes or well tested test book safe storylines. It would be easy to say that I, myself, am making a rather large and vague statement also by claiming this. However, the current election cycle easily support my case as map of the U.S. shows, we live in weird times. A close up on who we voted for made not logical sense, as country looks like a tie dye of red, blue, green, purple, yellow, hazel nut brown, and even black. We scream out liberal policy, freak out over liberal policies, demand conservative views, do not follow those conservative rules, and above all cannot decide what is right and what is left.
Enter the Marvel Universe, compared to other action films and even other superhero franchises, Marvel Universe message is clear, good guys must defeat the antagonist which has clear motive to conquer in the name of something rather abstract. These are not the villains of yesteryear coming from another country (such as True Lies), a secret evil organization with ties to a political philosophy (007 films) that defies U.S. freedoms, nor are the even uncanny ideas that challenge are society (Terminator). The bad guys in Marvel films are singular and the evil act is clearly open to interpretation. Ultron is a mad cyborg set to destroy humanity and truth. What defies humanity is open to each person as humanity itself is a very board term that is really in academic terms is the study of what humans have done and truth is really relative dependent on who is in control of our planet. Therefore regardless of how you feel politically it is to understand the heroes are fighting to save your version of humanity against Ultron. The same is true in Dr. Strange in that the power to control reality and time is an abstract thing, as one cannot physically control either but Dr. Strange must fight a group and eventually a super natural being to stop them from controlling. The abstract idea being control though in the case for Dr. Strange, time, is subconsciously an interpretation for time change, time to embrace, etc. Even the way Dr. Strange wins by not fighting but messing with time shows, his understanding is more profound than the villains. As a viewer we can relate to the hero more in a deeper political philosophical sense in that, we tell ourselves (in order to understand the film) that ‘Yes, Dr. Strange is just like me, he knows that to win this battle for Time which controls my understanding of reality he must do this selfless act to save the day. And this villain is an idiot for not seeing until it is too late.’ The abstractness is enough that regardless of where you stand is on healthcare, gun control, student aid, or even parking meters, you will associate Dr. Strange as being on your side because he is fighting against a villain which you unwittingly decipher as being the opposite of what you politically stand for. As long as Marvel continues to play with abstract ideas grounded in contract crazy battle sequences involving exploding cities, Nordic Gods, and wise cranking armor suit men, then they will be able to release in film starring in Super Hero, including Squirrel Girl.
Leave comments below if you disagree