Let’s Go Save the World: Superhero Edition

Greetings Friends,

Suicide Squad 2016, courtesy of IMDB

I’ve spent the last few days watching and re-watching the SDCC leaked (OFFICIAL!!!) trailer for Suicide Squad. I haven’t been this obsessed over a trailer since SW7: The Force Awakens came out a few months ago (which still makes me giggle like a little girl at the end…but we’ll get to that later). Now, I typically gravitate more toward Marvel than DC (the rest of my family is 100% Marvel)–but there are things about DC I love as much, if not more, than Marvel:

1) DC has The Dark Knight

2) DC has The Joker

Next week, when we talk about villains, I’ll go more in depth to back that up. Today, though, let’s talk about “heroes.” I use the term loosely because Suicide Squad. It’s also the reason I loved Chris Nolan’s take on The Dark Knight, why I can’t wait to see what Marvel does with Deadpool (the hubby’s fave) and why I enjoy Black Widow (badass), Thor (cocky), and IronMan (totally messed up) more than I like Captain America (Chris Evans is great, but the character is too “clean”) or Superman. I especially don’t like any attempt at making Superman dark–it feels like a cheat, trying to get us Dark Knight fans to love the Caped Crusader. It just doesn’t work for me.  And I’m waiting skeptically to see what they do with Wonder Woman, but that’ll be a post for after the movie comes out.

Now, let’s move on to the point. : )  If you’ve read any of my urban fantasy/dystopian, you know I have a bit of a superhuman complex. Make ’em strong, make ’em fast…

…make ’em flawed.

Part of the reason I love The Dark Knight (BatmanGrim v. BatmanComic) is because there’s so much messed-up psychology there. His parents were killed in front of him, and he becomes a total revenge machine after that. Luckily for us–it’s on the right side. If a hero is too good, he becomes predictable. If a villain is too bad without depth, he becomes a mustache twirler. Even Hannibal Lector was charming, right? And he was the most gruesome thing at the cinema not so long ago.

Think about the books you’ve read in the last two years or so, and pick at one of your favorites.  Does the hero have some baggage? Or is he too good to be true? Does she begrudge her lot sometimes? Or does she cheerfully and boldly march out to save the day? This might be why a lot of people liked Han Solo more than Luke Skywalker. I didn’t–at first–but I was five the first time I saw Star Wars. A well rounded hero has to be roughened or unlikable, have doubts or be dark in some way. A well rounded villain has to be redeemable, or at least have a few redeeming qualities (the Joker can defy that at times, but we’ll talk about that next week).

The reason I think Comic Book Movies(tm) are doing so well is because they’ve bypassed the cliche “Here I am to save the day!” attitude and let the heroes have either a personal stake in the outcome, or made them irritable interesting creatures (The Avengers did that very well), or let them be broken people who had a burning need to do good (The Dark Knight).  Not that I didn’t love Superman: The Movie with Christopher Reeve….because they made him an outsider, who was vulnerable and terrible at relationships when he wasn’t wearing his cape.  Still, if a superhero movie wants my attention–give me The Matrix. Or Suicide Squad.

What about you? Do you like your heroes lawful-good and your villains unlawful-bad? Or do you like to see the light and dark balanced out in some way?