Superheroes are Super Fun on the Silver Screen

Like most kids, I didn’t jump right into reading Shakespeare or Salinger. I read Lee. Stan Lee. Comics. They developed my life-long love of reading.  The adventures were colorfully drawn, the action popping off the pages right in front of me, written in prose that my 10-year old brain could understand and appreciate. As I look back, I realize those pages were filled with the same stories and themes of the classics whose language I hadn’t quite grasped yet.

The family and class struggles of Shakespeare. The teenage angst of Catcher in the Rye. The wars fought and adventures sought on foreign soil and at home. The moral complications and ramifications of heroes’ actions. These were all found in comic books. Except in my escapist world, the characters were brightly dressed, sharply tongued and ridiculously muscled. OK, Shakespeare had two of those elements. Maybe if Hamlet could bench press a castle, I would have finished reading it. But I couldn’t relate to him. That’s what was missing. However, I could relate to a nerdy kid in high school, an outcast. I was Peter Parker, sans radioactive arachnid assist. I was also skinny Bruce Banner. I yearned to bully the bullies, but gamma radiation wasn’t readily available in the suburbs of Detroit. That’s OK, the release I got from reading their adventures was almost as satisfying. The life lessons learned just as important. Classic stories, legends and myths retold in vibrant blues, reds, greens and purples. Hulk smash, indeed.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of seeing these bigger than life heroes bigger than life on the silver screen. The comic pages and TVs were too small to contain them. The big screen would deliver their stories and messages to the masses.  Comics have grown exponentially over the past 20 years. Thanks to Robert Downey Jr., Heath Ledger, Sam Raimi, Joss Whedon and the rest of Hollywood, these men and women in tights, armor and flames are no longer ridiculed. Everybody is finally appreciating what us comic book geeks knew all along. There are great characters, stories and adventures in their worlds that will suck you in and keep you riveted and wanting for more.  Bam. Pow. Wham. Dreams do come true.

Recently, one of my favorites makes his way back to the silver screen. Thor, the god of thunder. What’s not to like?  Viking, demi-god, weather control and that awesome hammer, Mjölnir. That’s a pretty impressive resume, huh? Oh yeah, there’s one other power that all superheroes have. I think it’s their best power. They can make you feel like a kid again. Be sure to turn off your phone, pass the popcorn and grab one of our awesome superhero tumblers; the fun’s about to start!

– P.J. Butland