Robot 6

Quote of the day | The Avengers, and the importance of superheroes

“Take the character of Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson. Like the character of Katniss in The Hunger Games, she has skills you might not expect from her if you mistook her for what her unlucky Russian interrogator did—just another pretty face. Black Widow, or Natasha Romanoff, is a more complicated character than Katniss, though. Possessed of numerous languages, secretive, a spy from childhood with a ‘very specific skillset,’ she’s not all good, though she’s working for good now—she has, as she says, “red on her ledger.” Flawed as she is, as they all are, that only serves to make her more empowering as a role model. You can imagine a young generation of girls watching this movie and thinking they want to be like her, now fighting for good, able to take down aliens and bad men and get bruised and bloody but never give up. As a woman, she’s outnumbered in her gender (the other badass woman in the group is S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, who gets fewer lines but still manages to escape and outsmart certain death over and over again while looking beautiful, as does Natasha). Maybe they’re pretty girls, but they absolutely get their time to shine alongside and on equal footing with the guys in a non-sexualized way. While they do wear tight-fitting black clothes that reveal their femininity (this is a big-budget movie based on a comic book, after all, and the dudes are wearing some skintight stuff as well), they are not considered “less” either by the men or by each other—or even, gender-equally so, by the villains.”

Jen Doll, writing for The Atlantic Wire on the blockbuster success
of Marvel’s The Avengers, and the importance of superheroes

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Comments

14 Comments

I think anyone watching a movie about fantasy superheros and wanting to grow up to fight for good and take down aliens needs serous therapy

KaraokeFanboy

May 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

You’re right. Only documentaries should inspire people to be better.

Whatever the inspiration, wanting to grow up to fight for good is never a cause for therapy. Consider “fantasy superheroes” and “aliens” as metaphors ie firefighters and fires.

I think anyone reading a post about kids being inspired by imagination and heroic action and thinking that those kids need therapy needs serous therapy

You’re right @Shane: “fight for good” is not about costumes or superpowers, is about doing the right thing, is about being a good citizen, “bad men” and “aliens” are metaphors, not literal examples. IMO this is a great quote.

Peace

guffaw, you are nuts. The point of superheroes is to inspire us to be better.

it’s fantasy guys. Wake up and join the real world

If you’re getting inspired by fantasy, you really need to leave the dark of mom’s basement once in a while

Let guffaw go.
You can tell by that pair of comments alone this is a person with some utterly deep damage.

“If you’re getting inspired by fantasy, you really need to leave the dark of mom’s basement once in a while”

You’re basically arguing that humans should not be inspired by art or literature. Is that wrong? Or does the genre matter?

So Avengers can break box office records. People from all walks of life are scrambling to see it. But if you happen to be inspired to be a better person from your film going experience you must be stereotypical fan. I don’t particularly care about Mr. Guffaw but what does bother me is how well a movie like this can do and how little it actually boosts interest in comics. I don’t know how but the industry as a whole needs to figure out how to shake off the stigma that seems ingrained in the national zeitgeist. No amount of Avengers films, New 52, etc are going to bring new fans to comics if they all think comics fans are (and have to be) these ridiculously inaccurate stereotypes. Anyhow, rant over.

@Rich

Stick to what the reviewer said in her article, and stop trying to put words in my mouth

She said:

“fighting for good, able to take down aliens and bad men and get bruised and bloody but never give up”

Little caught up in the fantasy, to say the least

[Edited to remove name-calling]

On a less obnoxious note: the Avengers film is great fun and an supremely well-constructed work of bombastic escapism – the perfect embodiment of the trappings of the whole genre, all rolled into one two-hour thrill ride. Whedon and his cast and crew deserve an extended standing ovation for finally hitting the same melody that we’ve had on the printed page for decades (assuming, of course, you’re not too cool to be seen reading a superhero comic) with no compromises due to lack of technology or budget restrictions.

And it is kind of inspiring, that a bunch of diseperate individuals can put aside personal differences and wildly varying philosophies and outlooks to respect each other and team up to get the job done. Magic hammers, super-soldiers and gamma-fueled wish fulfillment and power fantasies aside, that’s something we could all do to walk away with and think about applying outside of the theatre.

Look, I’m not an asshole, but I think it’s perhaps time Robot 6 considered moderated comments.

Jake Earlewine

May 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Guffaw said: “If you’re getting inspired by fantasy, you really need to leave the dark of mom’s basement once in a while”

That is SO wrong. So close-minded. The point of ALL fiction should be to inspire us to be better people and live better lives. If the fiction you read (or watch) does NOT inspire you and elevate your spirit, then it’s JUNK and you should seriously question why you’re reading it.

As a child, my parents were too alcoholic and dysfunctional to teach me healthy values and behavior. My values were shaped by the noble attitudes of Silver Age super-heroes. Even though the stories were fantasy, they taught me right and wrong, and they taught me to persevere.

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