Added: Jedidiah Beauchemin - Date: 08.02.2022 03:07 - Views: 13189 - Clicks: 9608
Superman: Dawn of Justice. Sidestepping superhero fatigue, this is a perfect moment to consider an aspect of the superhero genre core to the genre but often overlooked—sexuality—and to consider the ways a more mature depiction of sexuality in superhero cinema might better serve the characters, the story, and the audience. In the first half of this article, I will look in depth at Captain America: Civil War and the Avengers franchise, since that series of films is by far the most popular.
I will also contrast it with Batman V. Superhero Sex. That film is like a jock boasting dishonestly of his heterosexual prowess while simultaneously attempting to distance himself from the latent homoeroticism of two men in spandex grappling with each other. But first, a brief digression into why I think the sexuality on display in these franchises is worth considering.
As much as politics and violence, sexuality is a key aspect of the superhero genre. The genre is inherently erotic, though in a pubescent rather than adult way. The exaggerated secondary sexual characteristics common to superheroes, and the costumes they wear that highlight those characteristics, suggest a new-found awareness of and excitement about the potential of the human body to both overpower and be overpowered by another.
But I have seen almost every major superhero movie made in the past forty years, including a good of the minor superhero films as well, and what I describe in the preceding paragraph holds. The exceptions are truly exceptions, as they draw attention to their alternate depictions of sexuality. Two instances stand out. When Steve Rogers keeps a helicopter from taking off, he does so wearing a simple grey t-shirt which draws attention to his biceps in a way that even his fitted Captain America uniform does not.
She is now squeezed into her Scarlet Witch corset which amplifies her cleavage considerably. In all cases, this is the suggestion of sexuality not the realization of it. This sort of sexual suggestion is sprinkled throughout the MCU canon. No one has sex in this movie. In fact, by my recollection, there are superheroes having sex three confirmable sexual encounters among the Avengers characters since the timeline started by the first Iron Man movie began. Tony Stark has sex with the reporter at the beginning of that film before he becomes Iron Man, and Clint Barton has a daughter who appears younger than seven years-old, and his wife is pregnant in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
So What? Beyond the fact that sexuality is a key aspect of the superhero genre and there is an academic interest in catag the different ways the different franchise are featuring it, why does any of superheroes having sex matter? Is there anything wrong with a pubescent conception of sexuality on the big screen? Depictions of sexuality in films are only a problem when they actively advocate for the mistreatment of groups of people, and that can happen in lots of ways, too many for this post.
I do think the superhero film genre would be more interesting if it allowed its characters to mature though. Sexuality is an essential aspect of human existence. For sexual problems and potentialities that have a more-than-private interest, what is needed are common or shared forms and solutions that are not, in the usual sense, public. The indispensable form that can intervene between public and private interests is that of community. Sexual love is the force that in our bodily life connects us most intimately to the Creation, to the fertility of the world, to farming and the care of animals.
It brings us into the dance that holds the community together and s it to its place. In other words, sex is the concern of both the public and the private and makes evident the need for an intermediary between the two. Sex would solve the civil war before it begins, giving the superheroes something to rally around other than a common enemy.
Sex would connect the Avengers to the flourishing of the world, tying their future to its future. Sex would make the Avengers full-fledged members of society instead of perpetual teenagers. Sex would make these movies better. Everything he does matters more because his existence matters beyond himself. No other Avenger has that gravitas.
Or consider Tony Stark. Why is that? No other character save Barton as we covered above has done likewise. The invitation to give oneself away is not, except for the superheroes having sex ignorant or extremely foolish, an easy one to accept. Power, risk, danger, honor, dignity, self-respect, giving oneself away — these are already the stuff of superhero stories.
Adding sex to these stories would only enrich these themes, liberating these ideas from the arena of martial combat and introducing them to the realm of relationship as well. Cultural commentators, pastors, parents, and pundits frequently lament that American society is caught in a state of perpetual adolescence. Much of the blame for this state is laid at the shiney-booted feet of our pop-culture icons — the Jedi, superheroes, and wizards that have dominated our movie box offices since It is not that simple.
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