Divided We Stand: Why Can’t Superheroes Get Along?

Whose Side Are YOU On?

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“I believe superheroes; they’re our modern myths. They’re our mythology in the modern world, and myth is designed to tell us about ourselves” – Zack Snyder.  

Holy Smackdown, Bradman!

So, it’s come down to this: hero vs. hero. We are just WEEKS away from the ultimate Clash of the Capes. From 25 March – the two most iconic superheroes of all time will spar against each other over… (what exactly?). 

Meanwhile, the main event in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the forthcoming bust-up between Cap (America) and Stark (Iron Man). We have until 6 May to choose which side we are on. 

The Marvel Universe is already onto Civil War II! “A new power has emerged,” so says the publicity blurb. “One that can predict the future—for good or ill— and the heroes of the Marvel Universe are faced with a choice: Wield the power of “predictive justice” to change the future as they see fit, or reject it and allow tomorrow to unfold unaltered.”

“Protect the future. Change the future.”

Already this week, we’ve been asked: which sides will Jean Grey choose? Which sides will Rocket Raccoon and Star-Lord choose? Today, it’s the turn of Hawkeye to work it out. They could really do with another alien invasion of Earth to team up against…

Fantastic, there are no superheroes to protect us – or rescue Felix from that ridiculously-high branch – because they are too busy fighting each other…

As paragons of decency and role models about how we should aspire to be and behave (while our world crumbles all around us…) they are setting an off-putting example (in the name of big box office business).

Who will save the heroes? i.e. who watches the Watchmen? 

Which – hey!quite neatly brings us to:

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Rorschach’s Journal. October 12th, 1985… This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face… all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll whisper “no” – Rorschach. 

Back in the old days of four-colour entertainment, everything was peachy and well-delineated: the good guys (an’ gals!) stood for truth and justice (and other tried-and-tested quaint chestnuts), while the bad guys (cue the boo-hiss crowd) stood in their way with nefarious schemes and despicable one-liners, usually masquerading under names so deliciously devious as the Crimson Claw. the Green Goblin and the Silver Surfer… eh?

The Silver Surfer?! Isn’t he on our side? 

That, dear geeks, is the problem we face these days. In a big flashy KAPOW!, the lines that demarcated good from evil have been banished into the Phantom Zone. Yeah, trust is a difficult thing to come by these days, especially among the costumed heroes we thought we knew and loved.

The groundbreaking publication – in 1987 – of Alan Moore’s Watchmen portrayed superbly how the most formidable villain a superhero team could face… would be one of their own. The 2009 adaptation was the definitive depiction of this unsettling premise.

Before you can say: “What the Jor-El?!” this year’s blockbusters have already (re)covered this same ground. 

Do they really need to? 

Instead of seeing how the Dawn of Justice Batspat escalated, yours truly would much rather watch his childhood hero go up against Brainiac, not Batman.

And why should the Avengers assemble (again)… only to stir up internal differences? 

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Steve Rogers: “You know, you may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero.”

Tony Stark: “A hero? Like you? You’re a lab rat, Rogers. Everything special about you came out of a bottle.”

That could be a really heartrending scene from the (first) Civil War trailer where Cap remarks: “He was my friend,” to which Stark sulks: “So was I…”  

But wait! That’s FALSE! 

Review the last two Avengers movies and you will find that neither of these guys got on well.

Yeah, Tony, put on the suit. Go a few rounds.

An’ ya know what? They did! That’s one meaty scrap the Cap an’ Stark are embroiled in during that trailer. For more action, we will have to wait until the first week in May to see how this implosion ensues. Hold onto your seats: it will descend into a War; unfortunately it looks far from “Civil,” for there will be casualties, and dramatic ends to some major characters if all the online gossip is to be believed.

As the DC/Warner publicity machine for Dawn of Justice cranks up to overdrive this week, so Marvel have just released the much-anticipated second Cap America: Civil War trailer, featuring the first glimpse of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: 

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“All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles… to have a precious few of them back” – Erik Lehnsherr.

What’s this? What’s this?!

X-Men: Apocalypse is gearing up to deliver arguably the Most Awesome Superhero Movie Of The Year,

En Sabah Nur aka Apocalypse: the very first and most powerful of all mutants, is the (much-needed!) splendid supervillain we crave around here, and the main reason why this blockbuster is my most-anticipated blockbuster of the year.  

Who are the “antagonists”? 

Of the Four Horsemen set to go up against Prof Xavier’s team – depicted in the simply stunning newly-released poster below – Magneto is the most familiar in this quartet. As related in the movies thus far, he and Charles started off as friends, but their differences regarding the “mutant problem” cast them apart. The other three are instantly recognisable as having been regular members of the X-Men – yes, that’s Ororo aka Storm (with the light-eyes, in the poster below), one of my fave characters. 

But what-?! 

Always one of the more dependable mainstays of Prof Xavier’s team, eventually – and well-deservedly – becoming team captain, it comes as a shock to see her in this role, fighting against her fellow mutants; it’s just not in her nature…

Well, if unity and harmony are assets to strive for, then they are in short supply in the DC, Marvel or any ‘verse.

Very short supply… 

Sure, we dig large-scale skirmishes as part of our comic book action, but who thought it would make a cool concept to pitch these “good guys” – some we have even worshipped since we were, oh, about that high – against fellow good guys?!

With good heroes exhibiting such bad behaviour – who needs villains…?

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MAKE CAKE NOT WAR

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2 thoughts on “Divided We Stand: Why Can’t Superheroes Get Along?

  1. I think the main concept of the Watchmen is a fascinating one–who watches the superheroes, and keeps them accountable? Superheroes can be incredibly useful, when they’re saving lives and battling super-villains, but turn incredibly dangerous if they fall from the light, and become villains themselves. I’m excited for Civil War because I think it will address this dynamic, and add another layer: Tony wants superheroes to be held accountable, which is probably good, but Steve is worried about how the government may abuse this power of accountability. However, so far I’m not super clear on what Batman and Superman are fighting over…but maybe that’s just me. 😉 Great post!

    • Thanks for your Comment, Ashley!
      Very much looking forward to watching th dynamic of Cap Am: Civil War! Notice how both Avengers movies have led up to this seemingly inevitable plot-line.
      Wish I cld feel similar excitement for Dawn of Justice.
      If you’re not super clear, I’m not bat clear either! 😉
      Make Mine Marvel!
      Cheers!

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