Yesterday, yet again I found myself explaining to a fellow geek why I enforce a non-superhero existence upon myself. And it all boils down to both a suspension of disbelief and a lack of quality storytelling.
On some level I do find it ironic that an overly muscled human flying around in spandex is ridiculous, yet a crazy man who changes faces and has a time machine that looks like a phone box is totally fine in my mind. I guess we all have differences on when we can suspend disbelief, and the quality of a story influences this ability.
I reached a point a few years ago, probably coinciding with the movie releases ‘Spiderman 2’ and the second ‘X-Men’ where I found myself not really impressed with the first in each series and sitting down to watch the second and thinking “What the hell am I wasting my time for?”. I have tried more movies than this (Hellboy, Batman series, etc), so I do not feel I have not seen a fair enough selection to make this call. The comic book industry hasn’t rectified the problem also. I am a fan of the medium when it is done right, but here I am avoiding anything with a cover depicting spandex or muscles.
And what is a ‘superpower’ but a thinly-veiled, conveniently lazy attribute to bestow upon a character as motivation. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and that is why he has these wrist glands. Superman is an alien child who got dumped on earth and his home planet had a much stronger gravitational field so that is why he can fly on Earth. I just cannot suspend my disbelief.
In the interest of time and quality I made the decision that it is far more worthwhile to just say no to all superhero stories than to trudge through the piles of shit to find that one hidden gem. Finding a good story should not take that much effort.
“But you gotta try X. It is really smart and different”.
“But the new movie is a reboot that retells the origin story in an intelligent way. It’s like a metaphor or something.”
“Oh it’s just good mindless fun.”
I’ve heard it all before. Life’s too short to waste my time with ‘superpowers’.