If the next two blockbuster superhero movies are any indication, there is about to be a major discussion surrounding the super hero dynamic traipsing the across the world. Let’s dig into my theory a little bit more.
Comics, movies, TV shows, etc. have rarely dealt with the issue of the mass destruction epidemic from many of these battles between heroes and villains. Back in the day, you’d read a comic book battle between the Hulk and The Thing bashing each other around in the middle of a city. The Thing would hit the Hulk, the force knocking the Hulk through three buildings and into a bus. The Hulk would pick up the bus and slap the Thing into a water tower which would fall over into another building. This would go on and on until they stopped for whatever reason. They’d make up, go find the culprit that made them fight, and destroy whatever was around them until they won. Case closed. Then, Spiderman would fight the Green Goblin – in the same city, in the same general location within 10-15 miles, causing destruction and mayhem all over again. Incredibly, whatever was damaged before has been rebuilt. The magic of comics in the 60s and 70s!
Well, over time comic book writers started to realize that this wasn’t very realistic. So little by little, they started addressing issues of destruction all over the place. In the late 80s, we saw a comic book series called Damage Control created -
Damage Control’s job was to essentially assess and clean up the mess levied by these super battles that destroyed property (and lives!). In the early days, they were funded by Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk. If you saw Daredevil on Netflix, you saw that one of Wilson Fisk’s funding streams was cleaning up after the battle in New York featured in The Avengers movie. And, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV show dealt with cleanup efforts and Damage Control did work through S.H.I.E.L.D. as well. So it has been slowly addressed over the years and now we’re about to see it take center stage in both Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. What impact does this destruction have? Who gave super heroes the right to do what they do so freely? Should there be governmental regulations in place to protect the common person?
The issues look to be much deeper in both movies. Beyond the trillions of dollars of destruction that seem to hit the Marvel movies, a much more humanistic, governmental goal seems to be in play. During the Civil War run in the comics, the Superhero Registration Act caused a major divide between many of Earth’s greatest heroes, opposing factions lead by Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. The story played out very well in the comics because you could see the point of both sides very clearly – who was right and who was wrong? Both had valid points, both wanted the best for humanity. Civil liberties be damned if it means a safer way to monitor the events of the world, said the Iron Man side. Civil liberties are a privilege and we need to work together to come up with a common goal, said the Captain America side. Both were right, but Captain America’s side didn’t seem to come up with a good solution – other than to stay hidden and attack when they had a chance to take down the Iron Man team. I think that this storyline will be the driving force behind the third Captain America movie minus the plethora of super heroes from the comics. It should make for a good story with a smaller cast of characters, but the two principal characters will square off as they duke it out.
Over at DC, the driving force between Batman and Superman seems to be similar. Superman looks to have become a world darling, and trying to take down criminals and people defiant to order. Batman, on the other hand, has always operated a few twinges outside of what the law requires. Like Superman, he wants to stop the criminal element but usually tries to do it undercover with minimal intervention – or damage to property or life. In the upcoming movie, I think Wayne Enterprises is going to be playing the Damage Control role. It seems that Bruce Wayne/Batman’s driving motivation is this unchecked dude flying around with unlimited power doing whatever the hell he feels is appropriate to solving international problems. That power is corruptible and dangerous, in Batman’s eyes. This puts them both on a collision course.
The beauty of this story is that everything at this point is all new to Superman, but Batman will have been there and done that. So I expect some of the same ideologies from both, trying to find a common ground to stop serious international and galactic threats.
At the heart of both Marvel and DC universes on full display in 2015 is the vicious toll these acts of destruction are taking. In reality, we hear about the casualties of war more than we see the actual effects of mass annihilation. To see people who have actually been severely hurt or worse is not something that is broadcast freely.
This is at the core of what these movies will probably address, to a degree. The line that’s hard for these heroes to walk is how do you protect people when the bad guys don’t give a crap? The bad dudes will purposely bomb a building so that it falls and the super hero has to make a choice – continue chasing bad guy or allow hundreds of people to get hurt? Regardless, Damage Control is going to be called.
In my opinion, it’s virtually impossible to have a clear cut answer. The Fans on Patrol posse talked about some of these issues in the latest podcast Creed #64. In this week’s Crisis on Infinite podcast, the following question was presented – If you could live in any fictional universe, which universe would you live in without powers and why? I’ll let you listen to their responses (which are pretty dope!), but the fear of being collateral damage due to a fight between a Superman and Doomsday was apparent! Especially if you couldn’t protect yourself from exploding gas tankers or five miles of ground collapsing around you. It’s real people!
I like the fact that both films/universes seem to be addressing the issues that are sprinkled with realism in 2015. There isn’t a fail proof solution so it’s going to be a fight to determine – what’s right and what’s wrong.
writer, proud Texan , Gamer, nerd
Writer, reviewer, and all around podcasting BadAss!
Raafeeq Ali the newest addition to FOP help us welcome him!
K. Lorenzo is New to the FOP pose. Long time comic nerd and fan junky, He's a bit uncomfortable with the mic so he prefers to write.