May 29, 2016

It was around the age of 5 or 6. I don’t remember which. All I know is that it took around a quarter of a century to see it come to life. For others it’s taken longer. It’s a little different for everyone. This is such a strange time.

In any event, it was this year that we finally saw it. Me, the kids I argued with on the playground, and every other kid that ever had a favorite superhero.

Who would win?

That’s how it starts. What a genuine question. That honest thought of ‘what if this character that I love so much fought that guy in the leotard the other kids love so much?’ The egotistical thought of ‘my guy would whoop on your guy.’ The tribal instinct of dominance takes root. Then you’d say, “Aw, they’d never do that.” They, of course, being adults and moviemakers who tell the real stories. Or so we thought. More on that later.

Then it happened. It finally happened.

This is the year that we as a people, desperate for even more pop culture, had our questions answered: 

Who would win? Out of these characters who have been ingrained into our psyche, who would win?

Batman or Superman?
Captain America or Iron Man?
Daredevil or Punisher?

And it was good. Holy crap it was good.

Comic books, you say? Of course! All of these characters have met in the squared circle on the printed page. That’s where they were born. That’s the source material and canon. That fight was going to happen in that arena a lot sooner and those fights were pretty great too.

What’s the big deal with film or streaming since these stories have already been told?

It’s because comic books have always been the smaller medium. Comic books were taken away from kids throughout history. They were part of the counter culture, were almost illegal, and for the longest time not considered a serious medium. That’s still arguably part of their role today.

Don’t be confused. That’s not a dig. Comic books are a beautiful medium that not everyone knows the joy of, even now. That’s why this is an exciting time. One of the most consumed and widely-accepted forms of story-telling is film and the only kind of superhero movie that ever existed before now was superhero vs villain. There’s never been a superhero vs superhero.

Yes, you could argue that these movies still had villains. You’re right. The heroes can never be truly villain-ized because they’re not heels. They’re faces. Faces win. Period. That’s how stories work. Sure, sure. There’s Watchmen but that’s not what this is about.

Each of these stories had long fights between the protagonists. Good fights. Bloody fights. These guys knocked the crap out of each other and damn it was good. The five-year-old in me had such a good time.

What? No. Put that away. Get your snobbery out of this. There’s no room for that here.

Just because a movie didn’t go the way you wanted it to, doesn’t mean it was bad. If the story was bad, then the movie was bad. Even so, we still saw these fights. You can’t take that away. These fights finally happened.

Sure you’ve got your YouTube shows with superheroes duking it out. Those are pretty great too. Unfortunately, that’s where comic books were 50 years ago. It’s good art but it’s still not looked at the same way as film by the masses (I could totally be wrong too). Does that mean that it’s not legitimate storytelling? Of course not. See earlier comments about how comic books rule. Don’t worry. We’ll get there and it’s happening a lot faster on that front than it did for comics. That’s just the nature of the time we live in and it is such a good, strange time.

The five-year-old version of me is enjoying this extended adolescence even with all the adult things I’ve been getting into lately. No, I don’t want to see a superhero fight every time I go to the movies. That would be boring. I’m just stoked I finally got to see these movies and I wanted to tell you about it.

What’s that? No women were mentioned here? I was saving the best for last, my friend.
Wonder Woman stole the show way more than Black Panther or Spider-Man and she was stellar. She kicked the $#!+ out of that monster and if Superman would've stayed out of it that movie would have had a very different ending.

Guess we’re not ready for that one yet? C’mon, now. Let’s not make it another 25 years.

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