Superheroes Now

The second weekend of October marked one of my favorite times of the year: New York Comic Con. Thousands of people flocked to the Jatvis Center in Manhattan for a weekend of panels, previews, merchandise and, of course, the costumes.

Not unexpectedly, a major theme at comic con this year was superheroes, more specifically heroes from this past summer’s biggest blockbuster hits. Marvel’s The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman as well as DC’s The Dark Knight Rises all dominated the big screens. In 2012, The Avengers was the top grossing movie bringing in $1,511,757,910  the The Dark Knight Rises followed at #2 and at #4, The Amazing Spiderman. Even looking at the past few years of film, movies about superheroes are always present. But most of the story lines the film makers are addressing are quite old. So the question  is, why superheroes and why now?

There is one scene in The Avengers where S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson and Steven Rogers are having a conversation en route to their headquarters;

 Agent Phil Coulson: We’ve made some modifications to the uniform. I had a little design input.

 Steve Rogers: The uniform? Aren’t the stars and stripes a little… old fashioned?

Agent Phil Coulson: With everything that’s happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old fashioned. 

In this one quote, they are able to capture why now we are so drawn to superheroes right now. We live in a crazy world and lives get messy. Superheroes exist in a world where they can overcome huge obstacles and save the day. They remind us that despite all of the complications we face, and all the negativity, there are always forces of good in our world. Take for example my favorite superhero, Batman. Through every version of the hero’s story, Gotham City is a broken place with a corrupt police force and a villains aplenty. The citizens of Gotham, with all of the bad they face have the goodness of their Dark Knight. But the Batman story also shows us everyday heroes like Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Gordon, Lucius Fox, and in Christopher Nolan’s version, John Blake.

Now, there is no denying the fact we love superheroes;  they inherently have great stories that draw the reader in. Comic books are perfect for directors looking to make  Hollywood blockbusters because their plot lines translate perfectly onto film; not to mention most of our favorite heroes, like Batman, have a huge variety of story lines to chose from so the
films can  continuously be remade. And, with Comic Con as proof, superheroes are not just characters, but huge marketable brands; vendors lined the entirety of the Jatvis center show floor with everything you’d expect like comic books and action figures, and some oddities such as Avenger-scented cologne.

But in the end, superheroes are more than just the stories we see on the screen or read in the comic books. They become larger than life symbols for truth and justice. We know that we can never be exactly like them, but we can look at what they represent and strive to be like them, and we can find a certain joy in running through New York City dressed as a masked vigilante with hundreds of other super-characters.

So, in the spirit of “turning over a new leaf”, we can look to superheroes and how they’ve changed over the years while still retaining their core values. We look to superheroes now more than ever because, as their story lines progress, they become a part of our crazy world, but they still can overcome huge feats. We admire them and whether you’re a small child running around with a sheet tied to your shoulders, or a S.H.I.E.L.D agent with a collection of vintage trading cards, we can find a way to uphold the values they represent.
So the superheroes may have taken a break from the big screen and the stands at comic con have been taken down, but we still have  our heroes. If you missed out on the fun the first time around, both Marvel movies as well as The Dark Knight Rises will be released on your favorite viewing format in the near future to watch over and over again!

And if you somehow missed this summer’s blockbusters:

The Avengers: When the Earth’s security is threatened by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his army, S.H.I.E.L.D agent, NickFury (Samuel L. Jackson) unites Marvel Heroes, Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), forming the Avengers Initiative to save the world.
Why you should buy it: If the cast itself does not  excite you enough, this movie is a beautiful culmination of the movies Marvel has been releasing over the next few years. It’s the perfect blend of humor and action, and is well suited for a large audience. The DVD/Blu Ray contains a short scene after the credits that any Avenger fan would appreciate  So unless you stuck around in the theater until the credits were over you want to get the movie and check it out!
Release Date: Now out on DVD and Blu Ray. For the ultimate fans of the film, Blu Ray is the way to go for all the added bonus features; amazon.com takes it a step further and is selling a 4-disc edition for $33.29.

The Amazing Spiderman: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), wanting to figure out the disappearance of his parents, isled to Oscorp and the office of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). As the story goes, Parker is bit by a spider and gains his superpowers. He is then left to come to terms with his role as a hero while fighting the Lizard, all while balancing his love for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), the police captain’s daughter.
Why you should buy it: This film is a complete reboot from the earlier Tobey Maguire trilogy. Andrew Garfield plays a more current version of Peter Parker; and the pairing of Garfield and Emma Stone was perfectly done. Though the older films were very well made, this is a great film that stands on its own.
Release Date: November 9, 2012 for DVD, Blu Ray, and digital download. The film will range from $17.96 to $34.99 based on the format. If you’re feeling especially fancy, amazon.com has a limited edition, four disc combo pack, complete with action figures on sale for $59.96.

The Dark Knight Rises: Batman’s (Christian Bale) reputation has been tarnished with the death of Harvey Dent, but years later, Bane (Tom Hardy), a mercenary and “Gotham’s reckoning” terrorizes the city, resulting in Batman’s return. He also faces cat-burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Batman must work alongside Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), a non-corrupt police officer John Blake (Joesph-Gordon Levitt) and of course Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) to save Gotham.
Why you should buy it: As the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman films, it had a lot to live up to. The film was crafted incredibly and tied together the first two films seamlessly. Everything in the film is intentional, so at no point does it feel like it is dragging despite its length. The movie has no shortage of plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie.
Release Date: Unfortunately for Batman fans, the wait is a little longer for its release. It is announced to be released December 4, 2012 in all formats.

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