What images will come into your mind when you are thinking about Superhero? People usually image superheroes as men that with extraordinary powers. And they are secret identity that would like to protect other people from dangerous but never ask for reward.
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In the Hollywood movies, a superhero usually is a white man with extraordinary powers and abilities that beyond normal human beings. Superheroes devote themselves to fighting crime or evil without expectation of reward. The superheroes usually consider as the moral code, however, different people hold different attitudes toward superheroes that some people do not agree that superheroes are moral examples. They believe that superheroes are a kind of selfless heroism but they have done so by their self-interest. And superheroes usually break laws in their actions which are against our society.
Moreover, a lot of people seem to think that superheroes will use their super power to destroy our world in the future. Thus, superheroes cannot be considered as moral examples. Even though self-interest influences superheroes’ heroism, superheroes are moral examples because their actions are lead to be greater good than evil. People usually doubt about a superhero like superman is a kind of selfless heroism but he has done so by “acting in his own self-interest” (Waid, 10). Superman acts this because his natural instincts, so we can argue that superheroes do this because their self-interest make them like to do this.
Loeb and Morris point out that, some people think about Superheroes and their actives that “they do it because they like to do it” (13). However, Waid point out that “in helping others, Superman helps himself. In helping himself, he helps others” (10). When helping other people, superheroes are helping themselves. They are using their power to help people and not doing evil thing, as long as they are doing good, their actions are lead to be greater good and nothing evil. The symbol of Superman gives American people a lot of hope.
For example, during the Great Depression, America, the most powerful country in the world, was not as strong as before. Therefore, the Americans imaged that the Superman could come and lead them toward a new world. They respected Superman because they believed that Superman could help them regain the confidence and give them good expects for the future life. The symbol of Superman made them feel hopeful in such despair. In addition, during the Vietnam War, many young people such as “hippie” in the United States rebelled the society by having long hair, using drugs, embracing sexual revolution and so on ( Hippie).
This was totally against the value of the Americans. At that time, people are looking for a man to save these young people, but who could come and save them? The answer is Superman, the alien from other planet with extraordinary power. In the movie, Superman, Clark Kent, is a reporter working for the Daily Planet. However, he is completely different from the American young people at that time. He doesn’t smoke, lie, or cheat. And he is very different from Hippie. Superman has a kind heart; he is helping others who are in need. As a result, Superman sets a moral example for the American young people during the Vietnam War.
And Americans believe the image of Superman is the good example for the young Americans, and Superman will stop young people from doing evil things and lead them to a healthy and positive life. Therefore Superheroes are famous to all Americans. It was obvious that Superheroes are such a kind of people that have super powers and abilities that different from normal people. And they are the person helping those people who cannot help themselves from evil, and make the evil end with greater good. Many people insist that superheroes such as batman are not the moral example.
Batman breaks some of the laws when he is fighting against criminals which are against our society. It may be true that Batman is a law breaker, but it doesn't mean that Superheroes like batman are not moral examples for us. For example, Batman’s emotions forced him into his role. He felt that it was his duty to avenge his parents by fighting against every evil thing that he meets. He considers Gotham City, which he lives in, as a city with criminals around every corner. Batman takes great pleasure in cleaning up all evil criminal around the whole city.
He never worried about whether it is against the law. Because Batman knows that when he breaks some of the laws, he is going to capture the real criminals who are acting against more important laws, and to protect the law-abiding citizens of the city from these real criminals. For Batman, “laws may be unjust, politicians may be corrupt, and the legal system may actually protect the wicked” (Skoble 32). But none of these will stop him from becoming crime-fighting vigilantes. He insists that “Evil must be punished” (Skoble 37). Therefore he will keep on cleaning up the evil in his city.
It is natural to believe that Batman is a “dangerous” and “fascist reactionary” (Skoble 31), but we shouldn't ignore that he has always been “cautious” and “measured” (Skoble 33) when using his extraordinary powers. Moreover, Batman has consistently using his extraordinary powers when he is fighting against criminals only. Although the nature of Batman’s violence makes him break some of the laws, there is no evidence to suggest that it is wrong for Batman to fight crime and keep innocent people safe by using his extraordinary powers.
In addition, Superheroes’ actions force us to rethink our roles in this world. The terrorism continues in our world, and there are crimes happen all over the world every day. We all need justice and peace, but most of us do not want to take our responsibility to protect our world, we just looking for ways to feel better about ourselves. By contract, Superheroes are fighting a never ending battle for truth, for justice, for peace. They keep playing their roles as everyone’s protector; they devote their lives to fighting crimes.
Sometimes, we may think about the law and morality when we value what superheroes have do for us. We may find out that, superheroes may do something against law and consider not morality. However, superheroes keep playing their roles as everyone’s protector; they devote their lives to fighting crime that inspired many people to become masked “crime-fighters” (Skoble 34)
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