Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wisdom from the strangest of places...

Being a geek who is fond of humor (geeky or otherwise), the Internet is awesome. Youtube in particular is a source for a lot of laughs. One thing I have enjoyed over the years is the series of "I'm a Marvel, I'm a DC" parodies (obviously of the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials). These typically involve the action-figure incarnations of various heroes exchanging barbed comments regarding their latest movies. The folks who make these parodies (ItsJustSomeRandomGuy and Gal), have also branched out into creating some of their own very silly 'plots', involving DC and Marvel heroes and villains. While these are comedy GOLD for a comic book fan, I am surprised to find that they are remarkably insightful as well.

Take for example the plot line where the Joker is using some kind of 'mind control' technology to turn all the heroes in the world (Marvel and DC alike) as "Dark" as Batman. It is up to Batman and Spider-Man to team up and set things right. Much wacky fun ensues, but beneath it all is an obvious reference to the tendencies of "hollywood" to latch onto the most superficial of concepts and try to employ them in an attempt to create a formula that will consistently bring them good box office numbers. In this case, the success of the recent Batman movies has sparked the idea that all heroes should have some dark 'edge' to them.

This is, of course, a ridiculous idea. In ANY medium. With ANY heroes (like, say... oh, I don't know.. Star Wars, and its whole 'Dark Future' Legacy setting). It mirrors what I've always believed myself, there are different types of heroes- each appealing in their own way. But in this 'comedy spoof', we have this idea voiced in a very profound (and hilarous) way. Take for example this rant by the Green Goblin, talking to the Joker about his master plan:

"Making every hero on earth as dark as Batman? That was your master plan? Great. So after the audience gets bored to tears by every hero being just like every other hero, they'll be so depressed over how freakin' bleak they are, they'll KILL themselves. Don't you get it? Light heroes DEFINE the dark ones and vice versa! And if everyone is just like you, what makes YOU so special?"

This truth is further driven home in a couple speeches given by Batman. The first is to Spider-Man himself, who is lamenting the fact that he isn't as "dark" and "cool" as Batman:

"Spider-Man, at the risk of over-inflating your ego, let me tell you something-
Being optimistic when you know the odds are against you is not a bad thing. Stupid. But not bad. Neither is refusing to let go of that optimism when life takes things away from you. That takes strength. That takes courage. And it's who you are. Not all heroes have to be dark to be successful. If anything, my friend, you are the living embodiment of that."

And finally, there is Batman's speech to Superman, regarding the strength of Spider-Man:

"We both give everything we've got to fight for Justice. But at the end of the day, you're still the most powerful being on Earth and I'm still one of the richest men in the world. Spider-Man has neither luxury. He has had to sacrifice everything, time and again-more than either of us ever will. That's what he does. That's who he is. Maybe one day he'll have the chance to get things straightened out, but until then he'll deal with it. Because he can take it. Because he's a hero. And because not all heroes have to be dark. Because he's one hero who's spirit can't be broken. Because no matter what, he'll always be your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man."

So, yeah. Those are actually some really profound and insightful statements...and found in a very unexpected place. Neat.

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