Superheroes are cool. There’s just no doubt about it. What began as the geeky, bespectacled teen boy’s secret pastime now finds itself crash, bang, walloping from pencil cases, video games, boxer shorts and of course, the big IMAX screen.
But behind every superhero, there’s a great, very real, story. Whether it’s the orphaned boy, the loner who gets the girl or a loveable egotistical genius who resides in a tower with his name on top – there is something so fascinating about these boys and girls in spandex.
This summer saw the release of two huge comic book movies as Marvel and DC offered up two of their best creations to the 2012 curve of comics reigning the screen. Both, in my opinion, were pretty awesome, even if one (ahem, Dark Knight Rises) was a little overrated. But one thing I could not deny, was that I walked out of each of those cinema screens (multiple times for Spiderman due to a slightly out of control Andrew Garfield obsession) feeling completely invincible.
Regular guys, dressing up in capes and tights, do make you believe that anyone of us could be a hero. Of course there’s a small fiscal difference between Average Joe and Bruce Wayne when you weigh up the Batmobile against a Vauxhall Corsa – but the normal dudes who just want to get the bad guys really do make you think ‘Yeah I could kick anybody’s ass!’
Peter Parker is my favourite comic book character. He’s smart, funny and has pretty much nailed the sexy plus nerdy equation perfectly. And that’s the best thing about Peter, he’s just a geek who decided to use his powers for putting the baddies in their place. Basically, Spiderman is the shining beacon of how the nerd beats the bully.
It was a big obvious metaphor that might as well have had a giant neon sign pointing at it saying ‘sentimental message here!’ but I well and truly ate it up when Peter Parker, unmasked, handed a kid inches away from death, his Spider mask and said ‘Put it on, it will make you strong.’
See, Peter Parker isn’t just the superhero you would be – he’s the superhero you can be, just a guy in a suit who happens to be a talented tailor.
Same with Mr Wayne, sure his methods may be a little more brutal but he refuses to give in. The human instinct to never surrender to death and fight for survival is what humanises Batman in this final instalment. Fair enough, not many of us would overcome a broken back and go straight to saving an entire city – but I’m sure most would give it a damn good try!
This year we have been spoiled by an all-star cast of comic book heroes with the epic success of The Avengers. A puny wannabe soldier became Captain America, a scientist in need of a bit of anger management got his moment in the sun, and a redheaded abandoned kid turned into a women and … well… hot.
The true beauty of superheroes is that; minus the x ray vision, they could be any one of us. Once the mask is on, the science nerd who would otherwise be pushed into a locker door can be anything he wants to be. It gives people faith in the world, faith in the system – the order of things that says the quiet but clever will be seen and the baddies will be punished.
Geeks will inherit the earth … or movie theatres at least.