Action, special effects, one-liners, incompetent police, formulaic plots, vehicles and buildings getting blown up, villains, and hot guys. Sounds like a superhero movie, right?
Every few years ardent fans, such as myself, flock to theaters across the country to see Batman movies, Thor movies Captain America movies, Spiderman movies, Ironman movies, Antman movies, and most recently, Wonder Woman movies. Perhaps the most compelling thing about these super guys and gals is that they are ordinary people (for the most part)—or at least they seem to live separate lives from their alter egos. The other compelling thing about superheroes is that they are close to home. They live in New York, drive Audis, and wear Under Amour clothing.
Needless to say, watching exhilarating superhero movies is has become an American tradition. But let’s face it, it’s hard returning to real life after watching a superhero movie. Yes, after the lights brighten, the popcorn is gone, and the 3D glasses are either disposed or treasured like keepsakes, there is nothing left but to return to inescapable piles of homework, mundane Mondays, churlish chores, and solitary office cubicles. Despite the draw to Marvel and DC movies, it is discouraging when Superman doesn’t come to the rescue, or when Thor doesn’t appear in the subway. What’s more is that boring bus ride to school with no excitement of buildings being blown up—a viable excuse to skip school. Worse still, it is impossible not to escape that inner desire to become the hero of the year.
What is the cure for superhero movie post-depression? How can a person possibly cope with not being a superhero?
Since the age of three, nearly every American has been taught that the first responders are first rate heroes. That this indoctrination has become more cliché that the phrase “happier than a clan” is undeniable. Such indoctrination is a misrepresentation of what first responders accomplish and what it means to be a real-life hero. Seeing real heroes in action can be more exciting than what is showing on the big screen.
Though the world at large may have forgotten the Wald Canyon fire, the residents of Colorado still vividly recall the orange flames tearing down the mountain near their homes and the brief minutes they had to evacuate. Despite all this, seeing the mountain belch flames is not what most remember about the fire. I have heard incredible stories about firefighters working tirelessly during the night to contain the fire in dangerous locations. Scenes from the Avengers came to mind when I heard the accounts of police helping residents escape neighborhoods chocked with smoke. The Waldo Canyon fire was a chilling experience, made better by real heroes who were willing to sacrifice themselves.
To answer the second question, there is no reason why you can’t be a hero—an undercover hero that is. Being an undercover hero means doing small things that mean a lot. Yes, doing small things can be frustrating because they often go unnoticed, unappreciated, and un-thanked. Jackie Kendall, a well-known author, responds by saying, “Sometimes you will be called to do some monotonous work that will not make the headlines. It may frustrate you because it does not seem very ‘impressive.’ Consider the reality of the non-newsy things Jesus did during the majority of his life.” With the help of Jesus, the epitome of an undercover hero, it is possible to do the small things as they yield heavenly newsworthiness. Saving the world is about as awesome as getting a free iPhone, but what about saving dad from another PBWC (post bad workday crash), or rescuing mom from being stuck with Jr. all day, or doing the dishes for a roommate who has had a long day? Though not as epic as saving Manhattan or even the world, being an undercover hero is just as important.
Inevitably, fans across America will flock to big screens to watch the next big superhero movie. As usual there will be those who find it hard not being a hero. Those who have sought real heroes and who have risen to the challenge of being an undercover hero will be able to walk out of theaters with the satisfaction of returning to real life with a little more complacency than those around them.