The Pitfalls of Superheroism
By Kyle Anderson on June 22, 2011
Greetings, Citizens of Nerdtropolis!
I’ll just come right out and say it: I am tired of superhero movies. I know they make butt-ass lots of money, and some of them are very well done, blah blah blah. I’m just sick of them. Comic books about superheroes work so much better than movies about them because the books are meant to be hyper-realistic and arch and operatic, but the films based on them have to be at least partially based in reality, and that squanders their potential. “Green Lantern” is one of my favorite comic books, but the film of it is getting almost universally bad reviews. I’m not going to see it, simply because I don’t want my love of the story to be tainted by the shoddy writing of the film. I think the main reason these movies fail is that they’re trying to take essentially a mythic being and make them Ryan Reynolds. Real people aren’t super anything.
“Iron Man” and Chris Nolan’s “Batman” series work like gangbusters because they are about as “realistic” as those arch characters can be made, and even then it’s not particularly real. There are now also several films about “regular” people becoming super heroes, namely “Kick-Ass” and “Super.” In both cases, they’re about what would happen if real people became crime fighters, but instead of having super powers, they shoot and stab people to death. Even in a movie depicting “real” superheroics, there are a huge number of liberties taken in the “that’d never happen” category. Dude in “Kick-Ass” had a jet pack at one point and a bazooka. Seriously.
They got me thinking about is how un-fun it would actually be to do all that stuff, realistically. It’s conceivable, based on these not-real realistic movies, people might start to believe they can do this too. Here are six reasons why that’s a shit idea.
VI – The Idiotic Costumes
Have you ever worn spandex? Does it look good? Even if you’re super hot, it’s unlikely spandex is flattering to your every nook and cranny. Do you have a particular part of yourself you’d rather others not focus on? Too bad! Everyone’s gonna see it now that you’ve become a super hero. In fact, that’s ALL they’re gonna see. And you’re going to get laughed at. Hard. Worse than Star Wars Kid and that dad who cries weird combined. Even if you’re awesome at superheroing, people are going to be like, “Hey, that guy who looks like a fucking idiot is kicking those criminals in the face! Go, dumbass in a costume!” Your weakness better not be the sound of derisive laughter or you’re sunk.
V – No Downtime
In order to find crimes, you either need a series of security cameras feeding directly into your secret hideout that display what’s happening throughout the city (or whatever your chosen turf is), or you need to spend all your time walking around looking for crimes to stop. Like all the time. No matter what you need to do. Crime doesn’t stop because you need to shit, shower, and shave. So you’d also smell terrible because all you’d ever do is walk around in the same form-fitting Lycra jumpsuit all the live-long day. The ball-sweat alone would cause immeasurable chafing. And street crime happens so fast, how can you be sure you’re in the exact spot at the right time? It involves an enormous amount of coincidence, which I’m sure most of us don’t have the patience for. Logistically, given constant movement, you’d probably stop one crime every two months. And that guy would probably just run away from the weird guy with a cape and a dump in his pants .
IV – Lack of Fightable Crime
Superheroism depends and awful lot on criminals who are stupid enough to commit their crimes out in the open. Most crimes nowadays are either internet or fraud-based and don’t actually include much dark alley shenanigans. In fact, most people tell you to NOT walk down dark alleys. Why would you be walking home at night through dark alleys in the first place? Everyone knows that’s where jackbooted thugs amass and take turns playing the murder game. Anyone who’d fall prey to that type of stupidity is probably going to do it again even if you save their life. You’ll lull them into a false sense of security thinking that every time they walk somewhere dangerous a stinky, tired superhero will jump out and save them. But you won’t, because you’ll be six miles across town staking out a warehouse you think is full of drugs but is actually just full of Turkish textiles. Then, all things being equal, not saving those idiots is really just helping Darwin along.
III – Lookie-Loos
If I know anything it’s that people are two things: Discourteous to retail employees, and nosy as hell. Even if you’re a “stick-to-the-shadows”-type hero, you’ll probably get a lot of people looking at you and wondering what the hell you’re doing. You lose the entire element of surprise if you get a group of passers-by pointing at you as you lie in wait for the unsuspecting criminal. If I were a bad guy, which I am not, I’d surely want to steer clear of any large congregation of citizenry. I’d probably go around them or turn around and walk the other direction. Even now, if there’s ever a massing of people looking at something, I’ll go somewhere else. There’s probably something horrible or dangerous over there anyway. And for all I know there’s a superhero just around the corner waiting to punch me in the face. I don’t want to get punched in the face.
II – Physical stamina and lack thereof
To say nothing of agility, speed, and strength, the sheer amount of fighting you’d have to do would put a tremendous strain on your body. Most professional fighters train for months at a time to ensure they’re in peak physical form before getting into the ring, or “octagon,” as I’m told it’s now called, and slug it out. And usually they’re wrecked afterwards. Imagine going out night after night and, perfect conditions applied, stopping two crimes a night. Just two! You’d be battered and bloody and probably get a concussion before having to sit in a bathtub for six hours so you can do it all again. Your utility belt would have to be full of Icy Hot and 5-Hour Energy. Exhaustion is one villain that even a vow to your dead parents can’t defeat.
I – Death
You would die. Flat out die. Probably by getting shot, but possibly also stabbed, bludgeoned, impaled, strangled, crushed, or devoured by angry guard dogs. But mostly shot. Oh baby, would you die. Probably the first day, too. You’d be all, “I’m Action Guy, and I want you to leave that young Episcopalian alone,” and they’d be all, “Just walk away, freak show.” Then you’d do the Adam West chuckle and say something witty and strike a fighting stance. And that’s when the guy would pull his gun and shoot you in the chest. And you’d be dead. If you happen to be “Getting Shot Man,” then you’ll probably be used to stuff like this happening, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t still die when they throw a grenade, or drop a piano, or suggest you read “Twilight” so you can pick up all the Nazi references thus confusing you long enough for them to poison you with a strychnine-laced crossbow bolt fired from across the street.
Basically, don’t be a superhero.
And stop making superhero movies.
The real crime would be not following me on TWITTER. Do your civic duty. EXCELSIOR!!