In all comic book movies, series and comics in general, the main focus point is that superheroes save humans from a villainous threat of some kind. It’s normally government agencies that see these people as a threat because they have the potential of great evil as well as heroism. When they are saved, there are many that are grateful but then there are many who are ungrateful and hate their saviours. Mainly because they don’t understand their heroes and they are beyond humanity’s control. Powered beings cannot be matched. Not all superpowers are purely physical, many are in the mind. Take Braniac or Charles Xavier for example. Judging by these movies and stories, humanity can’t differentiate between those trying to destroy the planet and those trying to save it. They only see a bunch powered beings. They’re all the same.
“People hate what they don’t understand. Be their hero Clarke. Be their hero, be their monument. Be anything they need you to be or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did”
As a society we have a chronic fear of universal truth. Well that being said, we only want the truth when it suits our agenda. If it’s not what we want to hear then it’s a lie. We only like what we want to hear. Humanity takes issue with powered people because they are different. Sometimes in appearance and in abilities. Sometimes, they come from a different planet and this frightens us. We will no longer be in control. We have lost the power. We are no longer number one. Take Batman for example. Batman is a street hero much of the time, only fighting organized crime in Gotham City but does leave to fight threats to the Earth with the Justice League as in the canon and in the animations.
Batman will do whatever takes to save the people of Gotham from enemies like The Joker, Bane, Hugo Strange, Penguin and The Suicide Squad to name a few. He doesn’t really have that moral code that most other heroes have. His only rule is don’t kill. A lot of people have issues with his methods because it goes against the status quo and he intimidates Gotham’s criminals to get the job done. He is no stranger to breaking their bones and inflicting physical pain onto them. He’s ruthless and utterly without mercy (except not killing). This scares many. I sympathize with Batman. These guys have adopted a life of crime and people want to play nice with them? They’d kill you given the chance.
People don’t like him because he’s a vigilante that has taken the law into his own hands. Unlike many heroes, he’s mortal. He’s only a man, with no powers but his wits, martial arts training and his gadgets. He also uses lots of sophisticated equipment in the Batcave and he has Alfred who has many uses too. You can’t fight organized crime in Gotham by doing what is nice. You can only do it by doing the things that nobody else wants to do. The things that are perceived as immoral and unethical. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty, even if it means getting the job done. I guess a good analogy is you should bring a gun to a knife fight.
“Good and evil. Sometimes the difference between the two is a sharp line. Sometimes it’s a blur. Sometimes we have to do things outside of the law.”
All kids want to be a superhero. When I was a kid, it was Spider-Man. We had the X-Men but Spider-Man was someone all kids wanted to be and then the Marvel Cinematic Universe was kickstarted in 2008 with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr in the titular role. Then all kids loved to be Tony Stark and adults wanted to be Stark. Let’s be honest. The man is a billionaire, gets all the women, cool cars, he’s witty and intelligent. He’s a geek and gets women. Should those two words be used in the same line? With his money and smarts he built weapons for the military until he saw what he was doing wasn’t for benefit of humanity at all. He was kidnapped because of his weapons and then he changed his ways. He saw what his society had become. He had become part of system that was comfortable with zero accountability.
Even Spider-Man was considered dangerous by society. Especially media tycoons like J. Jonah Jameson who were out for his blood. His most renowned phrase when describing the spider was “public menace“. I didn’t like the original trilogy that much but one of things that I loved was the portrayal of the Daily Bugle editor-in-chief by Oscar winner, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash). How can a spangly, wall crawling teenager be considered dangerous? Well, he was different and unique. He’s different so the bug must be squished. The police would go after him instead of the real bad guys.
The Justice League are godlike and few of them come from myth. Let’s face it. The Justice League pack a punch. In the eyes of humanity, they’re gods. Superman on his own is pretty epic. Then we have Wonder Woman who is a badass warrior. She’s just majestic. The Flash can run faster than sound and has regenerative healing. Did I forget to mention that he can travel in time? Batman, well he’s Batman. It’s self-explanatory. Cyborg is part man part machine and has access to all the world’s information. Lastly Shazam and The Green Lantern. They pack a serious wallop. With heroes like the Justice League running about, or flying, I am not surprised on humanity’s fear. In one moment, they can be your saviours. What if they change? They could suddenly change their motives at any given second. This spurs me onto my next topic, Marvel’s Civil War.
After the events of Age Of Ultron, a divided team was inevitable. The story of Civil War is pretty much humanity’s fear of powered people gone crazy. They want to regulate superheroes as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and have their true identities on file. They divided themselves into two factions, Team Stark (RDJ) & Team Rogers (Chris Evans). Team Stark are FOR registration and Team Rogers are AGAINST registration. This is textbook government fear again. Being afraid of those that are different. Those with powers. Those with gifts and the ability to do good but the government don’t trust them enough to do that. Humanity is intently focused on what these powered beings can do but that they didn’t ask what should they do? Humanity wants to control them and have the power of these people but we know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts all. If something like this was to fall into the wrong hands, it would be a catastrophe. Imagine if S.H.E.I.L.D had been compromised by Hydra at the time of Civil War. What could have happened then? The world would have ended as we know it. Civil War is Shield VS S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Give a man a mask and he’ll become his true self”
We have characters like the Hulk. Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Stark created a failsafe if the Hulk was to ever go rogue. They called it Veronica AKA the Hulkbuster Suit which we saw implemented in the streets of Wakanda in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. The only Avengers in the movie universe pre-Age Of Ultron (James Spader) that posed a credible threat to humanity were the Hulk and Thor. The rest included two assassins, a soldier and a man in a suit of armour. I don’t think are credible threats. Maybe Stark if he got hacked. Then The Twins joined the throng. That’s Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor Johnson) but now only Scarlett Witch. She is from the stuff of nightmares. She’s really scary. After the events of Avengers Assemble and The Winter Soldier, the government began to wonder. Earth has heroes that can’t be matched what if these went rogue for a while? The Hulk is unpredictable and Stark has proven himself to be arrogant and selfish. Stark helping out is dependant on what mood he’s in. Ultron is what Stark could be like if he went rogue. Ultron is Stark’s Mr Hyde.
Bruce Banner: I’d like to know why S.H.I.E.L.D is using the Tesseract to build weapons of mass destruction.
Nick Fury: Because of him!
(points at Thor)
Nick Fury: Last year, Earth had a visit from another planet that had a grudge match that leveled a small town. We learned that only are we not alone, but we are hopelessly, hilariously outgunned.
Thor: My people want nothing but peace with your planet!
Nick Fury: But you’re not the only ones out there, are you? And you’re not the only threat. The world is filling up with people that can’t be matched, that can’t be controlled!
Steve Rogers: Like you control the cube?
Street heroes like Daredevil (Charlie Cox) get trash talked by everyone because their methods are unorthodox. Much alike Batman and Green Arrow, Daredevil does what needs to be done and through this, we see he is just as mortal as we are. He’s just man trying to do good for his city. Humanity’s primary fear of him is not because he is so brutal, it’s because he wears a mask. You can do anything if you wear a mask because nobody will know it’s you. He’s blind but he has just as big an impact as someone who can see. He’s ruthless to the point that he won’t kill. He has the same moral code as Batman or The Arrow (Stephen Amell). Despite Hell’s Kitchen only being a small district of New York, I believe it still mirrors DC’s Starling City (Arrow) and Gotham City (Batman). It’s riddled with dirty business people, cops, lawyers and senators to name a few. People who are supposed to trusted by the public are being paid off by the mob and it’s set in the dark, nightmarish alleys and corners of Hell’s Kitchen.
My favorite team amongst all comics are the X-Men and the reboots are my favorite comic movies as well. I believe them to be based off the Civil RIghts Movement due to the comics being published around that time for starters but also because the figureheads of the X-Men are Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Charles and Erik seem to be a fictional representation of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Charles wants to achieve mutant rights (Civil Rights) through peaceful means where Erik isn’t afraid of fighting for his rights much alike Malcolm X.
I believe X-Men to be the most relatable Marvel product purely because it highlights humanity’s fear of difference the most. Charles’ team help humanity fight Magneto on many occasions but Charles is very naive. Magento pities Charles for not joining him. Magento believes that humanity is the enemy where Charles believes that Magneto is the enemy. Charles fights with a race that sneers at his kind and fear them. A race that hates mutants. They are afraid of their gifts and would kill all mutants given the chance. X-Men is deeply emotional because it is a mirror image of The Civil RIghts Movement. Not only with what I have just mentioned but it humanity’s fear of difference reflects White America’s fear/hate of African-Americans (during the movement), but also before that with Slavery as well. Black people were different and we were despised for being so.
Charles, Magneto, Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty (Ellen Page) amongst other mutants never had to hide. They look like us but characters like Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) have an eyecatching exterior. To put it simply, Mystique can turn into anyone but her original appearance is blue. Beast is animalistic, blue, hairy and super smart with super strength as well. There are many mutants like this who looked physically different from humans and are ridiculed for being so. He couldn’t blend in but she could as someone else. Why should she have to change to fit in? Why is humanity so cruel? In our own world, we are judged by what we look like and what we possess whether that be the latest iPhone, laptop or tablet. We shouldn’t be judged on this, we should be judged on the content of our character and our actions. Words are wind. Our actions should define us more than what we say or what we look like.
This brings me onto Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 brought the beginnings of the ongoing Inhumans storyline that will probably be going on and off up until 2018 when the film is released. Inhumans are another Marvel team but obviously they’re not fully human. They’re part Kree. The Kree race were referenced in Guardians Of The Galaxy through characters like Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace).Even though Guardians Of The Galaxy wasn’t set on Earth, it still had the same concept of power. Guardians Of The Galaxy brought back the theme of the Infinity Stones (Gems). The power stone was in play here. The Guardians with the help of the Nova Corp thwarted Ronan’s attempt in using the stone destroy all life on Xandar.
On the concept of power, absolute power corrupts and it would have corrupted him and made him even more arrogant. The Inhumans played their own Civil War in season two of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D where the organization lived for years in harmony until humanity came to destroy them, all because they wouldn’t conform. Humans saw them as a threat. Especially after the events of Age Of Ultron. This was mainly because of the whims of Skye’s mother, Jiyang (Dichen Lachman). S.H.I.E.L.D wanted to negotiate but Daisy’s (Chloe Bennett) mother was being evasive with the truth with Inhumans and humans alike which ended with wanton death on both sides because of an inhuman lust for blood.