The Importance of Character in Superhero Movies

I wrote a post early this morning on Tumblr. Thought I’d share. Might add to it later. 

– A. A. Omer

Ok. I’m writing this post at 12:55 am on July 30th because I have something very important that I need to discuss.

No. It’s not life saving in the way that a cure for cancer would be but it’s a huge deal for fans of superhero comics/movies.

After Man of Steel came out and became a box office success, there have been talks of a Justice League movie in the works with an announcement of Superman vs Batman and Flash films to occur right before it. Let’s put aside the fact that it’s Flash and NOT WONDER WOMAN who has a solo film announced already to come out before the Justice League movie because that’s a whole other post and it’ll just make this one longer (and unfocused). What’s similar to the Wonder Woman dilemma is this talk of how difficult it is to bring the DC characters to the big screen because they’re so God-like in their abilities unlike most of the Avengers characters over at Marvel (with the exception of Batman). That’s why Marvel is succeeding while DC is fumbling (or at least crawling while they’re sprinting ahead).


First off, Marvel has characters such as Hulk and Thor who had movies we all went to see, right? Hulk is a huge green monster who is essentially indestructible. Thor is a Norse god. THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN CONNECT WITH THESE INDIVIDUALS.

But guess what? We connect to Hulk because we sympathize with him. Whenever he gets angry, he shifts into something he can’t control and that loss of control is terrifying. That’s the equivalent of everyday life for us and it causes us to root for Hulk because he’s the black sheep (or green in this case). He’s misunderstood and all he wants to be is normal, to be left alone and not hunted down or persecuted. Thor was cocky but was brought down a peg when casted out by his father to learn some humility and that’s when we watch him grow as someone who becomes worthy of the title “God of Thunder”.

Marvel succeeds where DC fails in that they put character first and the power is either a manifestation of who their hero is as a person or it’s something that challenges the hero and is the tool in helping them achieve greatness. DC has great story arcs out there of all their characters that really focuses on that: character.

What DC needs to do and what everyone else should be doing is not worry about how to make the flying, super speed or a glowing green ring appear realistic. Guess what? SUPERHEROES AREN’T REALISTIC. THAT’S THE POINT. They need to sit down and work on the character. The stories are out there. The characters exist. So bring them into our time and our world.

Avengers did it. It’s been done. They have relatable characters, it’s still fantastical with the Norse god and Green Rage Monster AND IT’S INSPIRING. I’m not depressed when I watch it but instead want to run out and play hero.

That’s a superhero movie, ladies and gents.

Writing has always been the foundation to a great film. So do that.


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