Monday, July 25, 2011

On Heroes

So, I saw Captain America on Sunday, and I loved it for all of the reasons I've been enjoying Marvel movies lately: aesthetic consistency (I can easily picture the two Iron Man movies, Thor, and Captain America happening in the same world), remembering that good is not boring and that this ride should be fun, and perfect casting*.

To be frank, it's the second item in that list there that has me swinging more and more to Marvel's side of things after years of being a DC fangirl. (To the vast amusement of a certain hardcore Marvel fan that I'm friends with.) (And DC making it more clear every day that they don't want girls in their clubhouse certainly doesn't help.) I have a sad confession that I must make to you all: I love heroes. When I say that I'm a recovering DC fangirl, I mostly mean that I'm a recovering Superman fangirl. I love characters who do the right things because they're right, even when it's hard, even when it hurts, for reasons bigger than their personal baggage. (I haven't seen the final Harry Potter movie yet. I know that I'm going to bawl like a bitty girl as soon as it gets Harry's walk through the forest, and I would rather do that in a theater with as few people in it as possible so that I can at least pretend to have dignity.) Because good characters don't have to be boring, and heroism needn't always arise in response to a darkly hidden trauma. More than that, good characters who step up and get their hero on for no other reason than because the world needs them and they have the power to make a difference stand as symbols to us. Media is a powerful, powerful tool when it comes to shaping how we view the world and interact in it** Heroes are symbols of what we can strive to be even if we're not terribly strong, don't have a magic hammer, or can't fly. The empathy and concern for others, that is something that anyone can do, and that's why I will always and unabashedly love writing and reading about heroes. During the film, a little boy runs by with his own makeshift Captain America shield, going to play the hero in whatever way he can. It's probably my favorite moment out of the whole movie.

Oh, dear. I think I'd better go now, before I get even more disgustingly earnest and/or Platonic. We'll return to your regularly scheduled snark next time!

*I howled with glee with RDJ got Tony Stark, because come on. Tony Stark is an addicted screw-up who finally got his crap together and then turned out to be awesome. He does autobiographical superhero movies! On the other hand, having seen Chris Evans in mostly comic roles, I had my doubts about him as Steve Rogers, but he just radiated decency and compassion all over the screen even as he was kicking Nazi ass.

**I'm a child of the late nineties, the first Green Lantern that I knew was John Stewart, and he's stuck with me ever since as the Green Lantern, no impostors need apply, even though I know that Hal Jordan came first. I don't talk about representation/erasure a whole lot around here, mostly because I think that it's more productive to fill the gap than to bitch about it, but: it matters.

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