Batman

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
superhero comics are secular myths. the fans have already bought into them. i honestly find it pretty piquant grown, educated men are seduced by these ridiculous ubermensch fantasies.
Two points
a) who's to say that educated men haven't seen right through the ubermensch hero myth but enjoy the dramatic stories and spectacular action anyway? Is this research or just generic left-elitism?
b) How is this unique to superhero films as against, er, pretty much every other genre of action film ever?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"perseus was on of the greek heroes- ie half man half god. people usually invoke prometheus when superheroes are under discussion but i'd think the creation of mankind would be a bit of a stretch even for batman..."
That's what I said here wasn't it?

"I'm guessing it means something along the lines of "of or relating to Perseus" (and by extension, the dynasty of Greek heroes that followed) the hero who killed Medusa."
Anyways...

"superhero comics are secular myths. the fans have already bought into them. i honestly find it pretty piquant grown, educated men are seduced by these ridiculous ubermensch fantasies. of course heroes in public life are in short supply these days. times are jaded."
OK, so the films aren't where the longing for the divine occurs, that's already happened with the comics and the films are just a cash-in on this - sounds plausible I guess but why are there so many adaptations right now?

"says "make jokes regarding the absurdity of their existence"- this NEVER happened in the comics. he isn't talking about the endless pages of wordy introspection which he covers earlier in the article- but a jokey self awareness, a breaking of the fourth wall if you will. the conclusion of the article is very similar to yours"
In Watchmen there are bits when the guys are remembering their careers as superheroes and asking what it was that possessed grown men to make them dress up in leotards and masks and fight crime. Doesn't this fit the bill?
And like Slothrop says, why do you say this applies more to superhero films than any other action film (or any film at all) that has a hero? Is it simply because the term "superhero" makes it more explicit?
 
I'm surprised you're even questioning it. it's far from a radical interpretation of superhero comics, its a standard one. these characters undergo some kind of gnosis that tranforms them into a supernatural being. they then proceed to use these powers to enforce a moral code. it's archetypal, these stories have been part of the human cultural landscape for thousands of years.

of course "adult" superhero comics sketch in a bit of conflict and character detail. dark knight returns, watchmen etc in their day were intended as iconoclastic. but they still do not contain irony. they take themselves very seriously. nonetheless both have been made into the kind of overblown cgi fests beloved of the wachowski brothers et al, which is a little ironic...

why are there so many adaptations now? it's comfort food isnt it...look at whats going on around you.
 

crackerjack

New member
Nothing so profound. Its the same reason there's so many remakes - creative bankruptcy.
It's not creative bankruptcy, it's commercial caution. Movies are way more expensive in real terms, superhero films are reliable bankers. Marketing is way more expensive, remakes, adaptartions and franchises come with built-in recognition - the story is already half way familiar.

There's also a huge internationaal market for flicks that are low on dialogue (less of that awkward dubbing) and high on action.
 

vimothy

yurp
I've read both...so what?
What:

i've taken the end of the piece out of context but you've misread it. he says "make jokes regarding the absurdity of their existence"- this NEVER happened in the comics. he isn't talking about the endless pages of wordy introspection which he covers earlier in the article- but a jokey self awareness, a breaking of the fourth wall if you will.

@vimothy... read some fletcher hanks
'kay -- I like the ole skool as much as the next man...
 
Nothing so profound. Its the same reason there's so many remakes - creative bankruptcy.
yes, hollywood is creatively bankrupt-i'm pretty sure we've all noticed that. i'm talking about the appeal of superheros. why is everyone so keen to take things at bald face value on here lately? as if anything beyond absolute literality is frivolous. obviously the marketing angle is very good with all these superhero and robot movies etc...lots of toys, games etc. that's worth considering. nonetheless i think it's interesting these films are popular amongst adults now. 50 years ago batman was firmly considered kids stuff-for the saturday serials. the big marquee movies would concern themselves with human dramas. that has changed. of course people went to church then...;)

that was about the kirby era vim. traditional superhero comics. the establishing "canon".
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"I'm surprised you're even questioning it. it's far from a radical interpretation of superhero comics, its a standard one."
So it can't be questioned?

"nonetheless i think it's interesting these films are popular amongst adults now. 50 years ago batman was firmly considered kids stuff-for the saturday serials. the big marquee movies would concern themselves with human dramas. that has changed. of course people went to church then..."
So you think that Batman takes the place that Jesus once held in people's lives?
You never answered either of Slothrop's questions though - why is this specific to superheroes and not to James Bond? and how is this relationship affected by the fact that people may have recognised this idea and still enjoy the films anyway consciously rejecting the thesis?
 
D

droid

Guest
yes, hollywood is creatively bankrupt-i'm pretty sure we've all noticed that. i'm talking about the appeal of superheros. why is everyone so keen to take things at bald face value on here lately? as if anything beyond absolute literality is frivolous. obviously the marketing angle is very good with all these superhero and robot movies etc...lots of toys, games etc. that's worth considering. nonetheless i think it's interesting these films are popular amongst adults now.
Surely they're big now because the people with the most disposable income grew up when comics were going through a boom period, and many of the adults who go to see them read them as children, or were exposed to them in some way. Recognisability as crackerjack says, combined with nostalgia. Transformers is a perfect example.
 

mms

sometimes
big summer movies are huge franchises and have been ever since star wars bust that one open.
I'm not even sure if it's about comics nowdays, it's almost about a year on year cycle of new franchised toys for kids, but with a bonus for parents as there is adult approval thru nostalgia.
Wee kids don't read comics like they used to, but their parents will approve toys for a film that they like too.
I'm going to see it on Friday, i've always liked all the incarnations of batman as a kid who read comics, but didn't like the crappy tim burton ones, tim burton is terrible.
 
Two points
a) who's to say that educated men haven't seen right through the ubermensch hero myth but enjoy the dramatic stories and spectacular action anyway?
no one's to say that, but i find the flashy computer generated spectacle of these films very boring and i'd say anyone with no emotional investment in them would feel the same way. unless they literally are just sitting there watching them as one would a fireworks display. i don't mean to suck the yuks out for anyone- go and see batman kick some ass if it makes you feel good..

Is this research or just generic left-elitism?
it's neither...it's pontificating on a message board. i'm not left wing at all incidentally...i don't know what gave you that impression.

b) How is this unique to superhero films as against, er, pretty much every other genre of action film ever?
the inclusion of the supernatural and the pointedly moralistic. there's a big difference between valiant and the fantastic four.

So it can't be questioned?
it can be. what archetypes do you think superhero stories draw on, or perhaps you see them as without precedent?

So you think that Batman takes the place that Jesus once held in people's lives?
i'm not going as far as that, i'm proposing an element of these films appeal is quasi-religious in quite an insidious way.

You never answered either of Slothrop's questions though - why is this specific to superheroes and not to James Bond? and how is this relationship affected by the fact that people may have recognised this idea and still enjoy the films anyway consciously rejecting the thesis?
james bond isn't a moral figure, neither was he gifted with powers descended from on high. he requires no "origin" story. he is an entirely, avowedly secular hero. pure male wish fulfillment.

like i said above- this is a mere discussion and no one's stopping anyone from enjoying going to see batman tomorrow. go and lay your tenner down, i'll be spunking mine on finding my salvation in a bucket of cheap alcohol ;)
 
Surely they're big now because the people with the most disposable income grew up when comics were going through a boom period, and many of the adults who go to see them read them as children, or were exposed to them in some way. Recognisability as crackerjack says, combined with nostalgia. Transformers is a perfect example.
of course this can be discussed purely in terms of market forces. but that is to ignore why people liked these comics as children, why these stories still appeal to children, and why cultural nostalgia has become so pervasive in the last fifteen years.
 

mms

sometimes
isn't batman somewhere between spring healed jack and some kind of Victorian adventurer philanthropist, both seem to have their origins in Victoriana more than anything else, Batman's not supernatural as well, it's the idea that he's supernatural that gives him his mythos as a character, he's also not gifted with super powers famously, but yes he's a character that has a supernatural presence and is both deep inside and on the outside of his world offering a kind of abstract redemption.
 
Top