Apparently, Captain America : Civil war is the highest grossing movie of 2016, yet. Well, good for them. This has been a good year for people like me who love other people in spandex and capes kick some serious ass. We began with Deadpool (holy mother of dragons, was that movie good! ) and then came BvS : Dawn of Justice, which albeit ignoring a few gaps in storytelling, was pretty darn impressive merely virtue of its scale , only to be followed by Captain America : Civil war, which saw audience sit in absolute silence through the climatic battle of a superhero movie, that’s a first ! X-Men : Apocalypse has been running for a week now and I’m yet to watch it but I read a whole lot of stuff about how it has polarised the fans and such, must have something different then.
And we’re barely halfway through the year with Suicide Squad and Dr.Strange still on the books. It’s official guys, Geek is the new sexy.Well, at least on screen.
The superhero scene sure has changed a whole lot. It’s no longer a genre for kids, comics aren’t regarded exclusive to bespectacled geniuses any more. In fact , “He hasn’t even read a comic once in his life” is starting to be accepted as a legit insult on social forums. And it’s no different on the other side as well, with more audience acknowledging the ‘content-quality’ of superheroes, the makers of these have taken it more seriously too. It’s no longer the stereotypical ‘Good vs Evil’ plots flushed with lot of ‘Pow! Scroosh!’ ; rather its more story-driven with sophisticated character arcs and commentaries on moral and political scenarios, woven into interconnected movies and television shows- gosh! that seems to be a lot of effort.
It was Sam Raimi’s Spiderman all the way back in 2002 that introduced me to the superhero world. I had no clue what was in store as I was taken to the movie theater but the repercussions are still felt. Being barely 5 years old, I was awestruck watching a high school kid shoot webs out of his wrist and crawl walls while fighting the bad guy. However the concept of a morally uptight superhuman savior kind of stuck to me ever since and would grow to give me hope and be my rock in the years to come. I’ve always identified myself to be a bit of a nerd – I scored well in school, enjoyed science,literature and art, participated in dramatics,gave speeches in the assembly and often found myself lost in my own thoughts since a very young age. But I wasn’t ever bullied, I had my fair share of friends and was quite popular as well, in spite of never dunking a basketball or rocking a guitar on stage. So I didn’t look up to superheroes hoping one would save me someday, rather I related to being a Peter Parker on the verge of becoming Spider-man, like I was somehow secretly special. It was all one random spider bite away.
This feeling of possessing a latent-specialty got me through many a difficult times during my early teen years, sometimes landing me in trouble as well when I would consider myself a bit above the rest and do horribly stupid things. But more often than not, it helped me maintain a rigid moral compass. While most people did good on hopes of some eternal reward at the end of the line, or expecting karma to make sure the good comes back to them or whatever, I insisted on doing what needs to be done rather than what I wanted to do, simply because it made me feel close to being “the good guy”. (There must be psychological term for this, isn’t it ? )
I fell out of the superhero race for sometime – I vaguely remember watching Superman returns on TV once, but other than the Spiderman trilogy, I hadn’t kept that close of a watch on the other movies that had come out in that time. Until, The Avengers. Ah, the avengers. That movie brought back all the fond memories of capes again and I sat down and downloaded the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It took a while for me to realise how big the playing field has gotten in the time I was away and was totally awestruck by the kind of storytelling these movies were capable of. The realism in Nolan’s Batman and Snyder’s Man of steel ( I could write a whole 500 word article on how insanely true to life Man of steel felt.. maybe I will ) , and the political nuances of The Winter soldier almost brought the genre a whole new sense of authenticity, like somehow they seemed much more plausible as a real world scenario than made up fantasy.
Here I am in my junior year of college, never having touched a drink, or a cigar or a joint, shying away from meaningless, skin deep relationships in spite of almost everyone around me indulging in atleast one or the other. Nearly every alternate day, I’m offered ‘advice’ on how I’m wasting my best years or from few of my more honest friends, how I’m being a pussy. All I do is smile and nod along, and that in itself provides me with a great sense of satisfaction. Perhaps sticking to our ideals, no matter what is as close as we can get to being a hero after all.