Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bad Is The New Good!


Image Source: thatmomentin.com
Quite a few people know that I am a diehard comic book lover.  From Batman to Spider-Man I have voraciously gobbled up every detail about various characters from both the DC and Marvel universes.  Not to mention I have watched endless hours of film and cartoon adaptations as well as had the good fortune in recent years to be able to attend the new wave of annual Comic-Con events that are being hosted in the country.  Plus, as you would guess I also collect graphic novels and have a pretty neat collection nicely wrapped up for posterity.  But while I do enjoy all of this, there is one thing about this pop culture universe that I have begun to pay more attention to over the past few years.  Unlike yesteryear movies and cartoons from the 60’s to the 90’s, the 2000’s, according to me, have depicted a very different image of comic book heroes presented on the silver screen. 

Image Source: figures.com
Back when I was growing up, comic heroes and heroines were respected and loved by the publics that they protected and served.  The good guys were praised and even when their behavior came into question, the world at large gave them the benefit of doubt and allowed them the opportunity to set things right.  On the other side, bad guys were as you can imagine disliked and almost always incurred the scorn of society.  The balance of what was good and bad was quite close to black and white.  However, with the advent of the 2000’s things took a “different turn.”  But before I continue I’ll admit an error on my part here, which is that I felt that this “different turn” could be traced back to 2005 when the first of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies appeared.  But only recently was I made aware that this happened years before such as in 1986 with the release of the elite comic title – The Dark Knight Returns.  Nonetheless, the “different turn” I’m referring to, was that while comic heroes continued to put themselves at personal risk and selflessly work to safeguard their cities or humanity at large, the larger public regarded these defenders of justice with skepticism at best and repulsion at worst.  It also seemed that the bad guys were being revered and dare I say forgiven very quickly for their crimes, while the heroes were being crucified and condemned. 

Image Source: methodsunsound.com
Somewhere it seems to have become fashionable with comic and film storytelling to paint those that stood up for justice and the punishment of wrong doing as the actual villains, while henchman and their crime bosses were hardly called out for their actions.  Plus, there was a great sense of ingratitude on the part of the larger public.  Case in point The Dark Knight movie.  But taking it one step further is the recent Captain America: Civil War movie.  Clearly Iron Man was in the right but yet everyone on the Avengers team turns against him and sides with the movie’s namesake.  Captain America in his love quest to save his friend Bucky, acts like a complete douchebag by breaking laws, annihilating innocent security personnel and nearly killing Tony Stark in the process.  Some of course may try to justify his act by saying that Bucky was brainwashed and was not responsible for the crimes he committed.  However, my take would be that still does not justify his crimes.  Better still is that most comic fans I know sided with Captain America.  But you can tell that I didn’t! :-) 

Image Source: lasertimepodcast.com
That aside, if I think about it a bit more, maybe these comics and movies are a reflection of the world that we live in today that has turned into many shades of grey, where we cannot clearly call out what is good and bad without someone else or another group totally losing their minds about it.  Nonetheless, I yearn to see a positive change in comic and celluloid storytelling, where we can salute those heroes and heroines for who they are and for what they do and see that larger public applaud their efforts.  Perhaps I’m way too old school (or taking this more seriously than it should be).  But either ways, until that happens, it seems that for now we must continue to accept that being “bad is the new good!”  Next Take please!

2 comments:

  1. Superheroes are also people, with all their complexities and mood swings. If you take 'Captain America: Civil War', when there are so many heroes involved, there is bound to be some conflict of interest somewhere, just like in the first Avengers movie. Each one may stand for something different which has the potential for great trouble. The colour palette has grown - light grey, steel grey, dark grey, charcoal grey, silver grey, off white, bluish black.......

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