These are not the heroes that inspired a generation – bring them back, they’re needed more than ever.
Look at these two miserable sods.
That is Batman on the left – you know: the world’s Greatest Detective, a master of martial arts and a Billionaire playboy philanthropist with gadgets, toys and a lifestyle that James Bond really would licence to kill for.
And on the right we have Superman. A god amongst among men. Invulnerable, invincible, incredible, the most do-goodest of all the do-gooders.
These two were my favourite superheroes. Particularly Superman. I was introduced to him through his fantastical exploits in the comics of the 1970s and 80s.
Then there was Christopher Reeve. Nobody has ever worn a superhero costume – let alone a Superman suite – with such conviction, credibility and strength of character. And I doubt anyone ever will.
Considering he was wearing a blue leotard with red underpants and a red cape, which should have put him in a travelling circus of funny freaks, not on the pedestal of superhero-verse, he brought such elegance, and gravitas to the most absurd fictional character ever created, that you not only believed that a ‘man can fly’ as the first 78 movie’s prepublicity promised, but that we can all strive to be better.
Reeve’s Superman not only took on the responsibility of saving EVERYONE, but whilst understandably revelling in his abilities, he insisted on respecting all humans as equals, and being almost grateful for having a home on Earth and being accepted as its citizen.
Do-gooding was not his ‘destiny’, or his ‘need for redemption’, or his commandment from a long-dead dad; it was something he embraced as his duty because it was the right thing to do, and because he could.
Similarly Bruce Wayne could have ended up a grumpy reclusive eccentric or dead from a drug overdose sniffed off a glamorous socialite’s breasts, but he chose to put his wealth, talents and courage to use to save a city descending into moral chaos. It was a noble cause and inspiring cause.
However looking at these stills from Zack Snyder’s forthcoming movie, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (due in 2016), instead of being saviours, they both look desperate and despondent.
Batman seems to be carrying the burden of ‘I hate my job’ and Superman appears to be a little lost. Why is Supes lost? He can see and hear everything! Or perhaps he’s just mentally working out the devastation, death and carnage he’s going to be directly responsible for in this next movie – even his Superbrain may take a while to tot that up.
Is it really necessary Snyder and co? Must all of today’s movie heroes be angst-ridden or fatally flawed to make them interesting? Can’t they just be good for the sake of being good – and thereby inspire the next generation of self-obsessed selfie-takers to think outwards to the betterment of society, rather than just internalise their life’s biggest problems – like why does the battery on my phone not last more than half a day?
The heroes that inspired me weren’t driven by a need, cursed with an obsession, or feeding their own psycho-insanity, they were heroes because they rose up and did good deeds when the time came for it.
Too simplistic? Too one-dimensional? Perhaps. But I believe there’s less selflessness in the world today, and maybe the lack of moral inspiration within the entertainment media we consume so much of, has got a lot to do with it.
Writers, directors, producers – even those making comic-book films, need to think more carefully about the responsibilities they are taking on.
BTW – yes of course I’ll go watch Batman v Superman when it comes out. But I know right now, I’ll hate it.