Giving superhero films their due

We who enjoy superhero graphic novels, comics, and movies know that these are often very good stories, produced with care by artists with something to say who are deeply invested in their work. But unfortunately, even though great graphic works like Watchmen, Maus, The Dark Knight Returns, and so on have reached into the mainstream, to some, it’s all still “cartoons” aimed at children, nothing more than Saturday morning fluff.

This is true even for the movies, despite all the money they earn, despite the fact that they attract A-level talent to write, direct, and act in them (Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for co-staring in a comic book movie), some still think that they’re just dopey teen fare. So it’s wonderful when someone like Tom Hiddleston, an intelligent trained actor (who also happens to be excellent) takes a moment to write an erudite and heart felt defense of comic book movies (and by intimation, superhero fare in general).

His article in The Guardian, Superhero movies like Avengers Assemble should not be scorned is not merely a self-serving defense of a recent paycheck earning role. In addition to defending his own affinity for superhero films and fare, he describes their value to society as a whole:

…superhero films offer a shared, faithless, modern mythology, through which these truths can be explored. In our increasingly secular society, with so many disparate gods and different faiths, superhero films present a unique canvas upon which our shared hopes, dreams and apocalyptic nightmares can be projected and played out.

The article does a good job of giving perspective on both the quality of the storytelling and talent in superhero movies as a genre, and doesn’t spent a lot of time lingering on his own movies. As a writer/creator myself, I agree with everything he wrote, and I’m very glad he wrote it.


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