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Superhero Films: A Gateway to More

After seeing Ethan Hawke’s recent statement on superhero films, I decided to make a short response about a part that is being overlooked. You see, Hawke also made the point that separating a film like Logan and any work by Bergman into different categories of art is senseless. I do not disagree with this, but I do want to point out how one can lead to another.

Take this thought experiment: Bring yourself back to the first movie you remember seeing and enjoying. Now, for most of you, that was likely when you were a child (for me it is seeing Harry Potter for the first time in theaters), and it is likely a children’s movie. Then, ask yourself why you enjoy going to see movies now. For many of us its an escape or its to be entertained. However, another way to put it is we were all drawn into a love for film as kids watching movies in theaters for the first time.

This idea is how one connects a superhero film to say Jean-Luc Goddard’s Breathless. These films that reached the general audience and introduced to the artful impact of cinema can become a gateway drug into them becoming a film fan. Everyone has to start somewhere, and any exposure to a film is good exposure. This initial exposure is how people begin to grow to enjoy different kinds of movies from different types of places.

Hawke is right there should be no separation between these two in the viewing them as art, but they should both also be appreciated for what they offer. Logan is not as experimental as a french new wave film, but it helps someone who has only seen superhero films since they were a child begin to want to examine movies past their comfort zone. That is why people love Logan, and that is why superhero films should continue to innovate and push the boundaries of expectations. You never know what kind will be watching those films and become inspired to learn more about movies.