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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Are superhero films popular because our real leaders have failed us?

Marvel’s The Avengers Assemble Scarlett Johansson Chris Hemsworth Chris Evans Jeremy Renner

Today’s question comes from reader Lorenzo Lamas, who wants to know:

Are superhero films popular because our real leaders have failed us?
It’s an interesting notion, and if even a little true, the record-smashing (estimated) $200 million North American opening for Marvel’s The Avengers (known as Avengers Assemble in the U.K., where it also broke records when it opened here last week) might suggest both that our leaders are failing more now than ever before, and that us regular peons are feeling it and are angrier about it than ever before.

Of course Avengers is simply a kickass movie, but clearly there’s something about it that hits a zeitgeist nerve, too. And it’s far from the only superhero movie to strike a chord in recent years. As the Chicago Sun-Times points out about the previous biggest-weekend-ever record-holders:

Until the “Harry Potter” finale, 2008’s “The Dark Knight” had held the revenue record with a $158.4 million debut. Before that, the record-holder was 2007’s “Spider-Man 3” with $151.1 million.

Arguably even Harry Potter can be classified as a superhero, in that he has supernatural powers beyond that of ordinary humans and uses them to fight on our behalf (even if we never know it).

So, what do you think? If it isn’t a failure of faith in our leaders that has made superhero films so popular in recent years, just what is it about this moment that has caused a resurgence in superheroes’ popularity?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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