August 1st, 2008
Why Our Superheroes Keep Getting Edgier
Once upon a time, superheroes were simple.
Superman was virtually invulnerable; he fought for “Truth, justice, and the American way.” Batman was a handsome billionaire playboy, dishing out punishment to a deserving criminal underworld. Wonder Woman, Captain America, and Captain Marvel fought evil robots, mind-controlling worms, and scurrilous Nazis. All provided straightforward, idealized role models for an anxious populace facing the Depression, Fascism, World War and the Nuclear Age.
But this summer’s profitable crop of big screen superheroes is different. We’ve got Hancock’s title character, a self-loathing homeless alcoholic; Iron Man’s Tony Stark, a vain, womanizing alcoholic-in-training;…