A superhero movie is a film focused on the action of one or more superhero; individuals that possess superhuman abilities and use these to protect society. These films typically feature action, fantasy or science fiction elements. Some also have elements of romance. The main characters in this genre are a hero, a supervillain and a ‘damsel in distress’. There are stereotypes that come with these characters, and some of those could be seen as harmful to society. Watching superheroes beat up villains is not the best image for boys to see if the society wants to promote kinder, less violent male behaviours. It can also reinforce sexism and the idea that women are inferior to men in society.
A superhero is a type of stock character possessing ‘extraordinary powers’ and uses these to defend the public. The typical superhero has to be masculine, a protector and attractive. These are evident the superhero film I will be looking at in this essay, the 2006 film ‘Superman Returns’. In this, Superman, played by Brandon Routh, is the same dark-haired and muscular character we recognise from the other adaptations of the famous comic book series. Superman is sometimes seen as the model for males, and presents the stereotype that the ideal man is very masculine, athletic and has to be a protector. There are several signifiers in the film that reinforce these ideals. There are several long shots of Superman running or flying and the way they’ve lit these shots show the muscle definition. This also evident on the poster for this movie, where the muscles on his arms are particularly well defined. Another example of is when Clark Kent opens up his shirt to reveal that he is Superman when he’s running to change and go and save the crashing plane. Another example of a muscular superhero is Thor who features in Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012). He, a demigod turned superhero, has incredible upper-body strength and his weapon, the hammer, is a symbol of...
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