At first glance, superhero movies appear to be harmless escapism―they involve superheroes with extraordinary powers who save us from global destruction on a regular basis. However, they also feature an extraordinary amount of violence, which also has a devastating impact on our lives, both real and imagined. Reality is that these movies are more violent than any other movie genre and the frequency of violent acts depicted is almost too much to bear. It’s not just the physical violence either―the psychological impact of a character’s back story may be dramatic and often dark, providing a consistent source of fear and distress for the viewer.
The University of Otago Psychological Studies Department, which is committed to understanding the vulnerability and resilience of children, reported that special effects in these types of films makes them especially damaging for younger viewers. This is because the violence is exaggerated and glamorized to the point where it becomes disconnected from its consequences, leading children to confuse fantasy and reality. Furthermore, in terms of aggression, the prevalent message of such movies is that physical force is the only way to solve conflicts. This is a patently false assertion that leads to confusion and could undermine moral development.
Influence on children
The effect of superhero movies on children should not be underestimated either. Children are not yet mature enough to distinguish between fantasy and reality and therefore, they may be prone to copying the superhero’s violent methods as a way to resolve their own conflicts. This kind of behavior is especially concerning when considering that sending children to see PG or PG-13 superhero movies regularly is quite common.
Parents should be aware of the fact that, in a survey conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 80% of superhero movies contain death and injury, which children may find disturbing. Furthermore, some scenes of physical violence may actually affect a viewer’s attitude towards behavior in real life, leading to more aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards other people.
To summarize, superhero movies are very popular with children and teens, and although they often provide us with fantastical entertainment, they can easily become dangerous. Children may be prone to imitate the violence depicted in such movies, forgetting that it’s only a fictional world, which may lead to dangerous behavior.
The reason why these movies continue to be made despite their potentially harmful effects is due to the immense financial return they generate. The commercial success of these movies lies in the fact that they appeal to children, teenagers and adults alike. Moreover, superhero movies have become big box office draws and merchandise income often surpasses the budget of the actual film.
Studios are not necessarily content with only one movie; they often create multiple versions of the same characters as well as spin-offs. This approach has two benefits: it brings in more cash and gives viewers more of the same characters they already enjoy. Studios also realize that, even if the critics do not like the film, if they make sure the audience’s expectations of the hero are met, they can still generate significant returns. This means that filmmakers often favor catering to the audience’s desire for spectacle and overexaggerated action over more realistic and emotionally-driven storytelling.
However, this approach comes at a cost, as the reliance on overt visual and narrative tropes often detract from meaningful storytelling. While some storytelling elements of superhero movies may be rooted in traditional, iconic comic books, the use of violence and spectacle becomes a crutch that may be ineffective in providing viewers with meaningful content.
Lack of meaningful content
As mentioned before, superhero movies are often criticized for their reliance on violent storylines, often forgoing compelling characters or narrative arcs. They can also be seen as glorifying violence and giving the false impression that the world can be saved by one individual, or a small group of people, who happen to possess extraordinary powers.
In addition, many superhero movies often times present thought-provoking themes, but ultimately fail to explore these ideas in a meaningful way. This means that these movies often do not dig deeper into issues that could greatly benefit from an examination in the genre. Superhero movies come with all the bells and whistles, and ambitious socio-political themes remain largely on the surface.
Another problem with superhero movies is the miseducation they can provide to the public, which can lead to the forming of incorrect stereotypes and misguided impressions. Designed to draw in a young audience, these types of films often paint an oversimplified picture of the world and fail to provide a meaningful perspective on the painful realities of everyday life.
This means that these movies can have a tendency to perpetuate harmful stereotypes or unrealistic expectations about gender roles, race and other topics. By relying on broad caricatures of people, often without providing any meaningful context, these movies act as both an escape from and reinforcement of our current values and norms.
Another issue with superhero movies is that they often portray women and people of color in limited roles and positions. Due to the fact that most of these movies are created and directed by white men and focus primarily on white male protagonists, people of color and women are frequently sponsored by stereotypes and underdeveloped story arcs. This means that while many people can find pleasure in such films, the lack of diversity and complex characters only serves to perpetuate existing power dynamics.
Furthermore, the superhero genre’s concentration of violence and lack of exploration of important themes can cause viewers to become desensitized. A constant barrage of violence can lead to a lack of empathy as well as apathy for real-world issues that may require deeper understanding in order to find solutions. Empathy is a powerful tool and superhero movies, especially when experienced at a young age, can be harmful to your understanding of the world.
In conclusion, superhero movies have become popular in recent years but they come with several problems that people should be aware of. Violence, lack of meaningful content, miseducation and poor representation are just some of the problems associated with this genre, and it is important to take note of these issues before diving into a world of superheroes.