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Superheros Gallore

The first thing that came to my mind when thinking about bias in Hollywood the last decade was the immense culture change that occurred here in America following the horrific events of 9/11. Following the events of that fateful day was an immense sense of anguish and depression over the entire nation. As if to lift the spirits of the nation, its seems as if the prominent leaders in America at the time were trying to convince the people of the United States that they were under attack at home by foreign invaders. One thing that can be said for sure is that the people of this country were more patriotic for their nation in their battle against evil invaders. In the words of George Bush, “September the 11th taught us an interesting lesson, that while — by far, the vast majority of people who have come to America are really good, decent people, people that we’re proud to have here, there are some who are evil.” This sort of shows how even the president was seemingly trying to make the terrorist events of 9/11 as a “good vs. evil” battle.

It is quite ironic then that in the years following September 11th, Hollywood was cranking out superhero movies left and right. From Hulk, to three Spiderman movies, two Iron Man,  three X-Men films, Daredevil, Hancock, Fantastic Four – do I need to continue? The main thing that all of these movies have in common is their overlying themes of “good vs. evil.” This leads me to wonder whether or not there were some biases on the part of the film makers and executives. Obviously Hollywood has a duty to be sensitive to the American public if they have any hopes of drawing people to the box offices. All of these superhero films have a hero who cleans up the mess that the United States military and police force cannot handle on their own. Not to mention every one of those movies end with “good conquering evil.” Sound familiar? It is almost as if President Bush was giving up the ending to Iron Man or The Dark Knight. If we wanted to look further we could even say that these horror movies often depicted typically a none American bad guy from another country half across the world.

It makes sense that Hollywood would do this in order to help unify Americans against a singular group of evil. These films gave Americans a hope for better days when we would not have to worry about those evildoers. The nation could watch these movies and hope for some hero to kill the evil-doing terrorists.

Anyway, thought this was an interesting thought.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 22, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Good analysis, Sam. I think you’re onto something when you note that it’s a battle of good v. evil, and the hero symbolizing the U.S. seems to be fighting an evil that is from “elsewhere.” I also like your point that the hero’s charged with cleaning up the mess that the military or police couldn’t clean up on their own, which seems to speak to the unsettling realization that how our societal institutions weren’t designed to combat the decentralized terrorism the U.S. experienced (aka there was no single “nation” that we could attack in retribution). I don’t think the producers in Hollywood are always conscious of why certain films “work” and others don’t, and I don’t think they intentionally sought to make films that would promote a certain viewpoint. What’s going to be popular always seems to be a guess, and I believe that there are some comic films that have failed in recent years even as others, like the ones you identify, definitely seemed to carry a coherent theme that fits the times. Excellent job!

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