While they may be very different from one another almost every movie must have some type of hero. Screen writers and movie directors must constantly develop these different types of heroes to please the many different attitudes and opinions of movie goers. Movie enthusiast all have different reasons for liking the movie heroes they do and it is up to the screen writers, actors, and directors to successfully please the movies target audience. Numerous studies have tried to reveal just exactly what people consider a hero to be.
In a study discussed in the course packet the results show that terms such as intelligent, loving, and leader are some of the most commonly used descriptive words for a hero. (Course Packet pg7) In this essay I will discuss these different types of heroes portrayed on the silver screen and why it is necessary to have them. Keep in mind while reading the following that even though heroes come in many forms, they more often than not are presented as courageous, heroic, likeable, and believable. The essay will be broken down into the discussion of underdog heroes, superheroes, and everyman heroes.
By explaining the need for these vastly different types of movie heroes it will become easy to understand why people find them appealing. Almost everyone has at some point or another felt held down by some form of oppression making it easy to understand why many movie enthusiast love underdog heroes. With that said it is important to understand that people like a hero that they can relate to. The majority of people are not perfect in every aspect of life and are more than happy to see the underdog come out victorious.
Even though a hero is an underdog there is no one single definition of how an underdog hero is supposed to be, these heroes come in many different forms with very different characteristics that appeal to different audiences. For example, Movies such as Animal House depict a group of rowdy middle to lower class college fraternity boys striving to fight off the more wealthy and civilized fraternity on their campus that has very close ties with the dean of their college. During the movie the underdog fraternity does whatever they can to stay one step ahead of the prestigious fraternity and the dean of their college.
By the end of the movie they come out victorious and are able keep their place on campus. People enjoy this movie not only because they like to see the underdog win but they also enjoy fantasizing about being able to get away with the same things in real life. While Animal House portrays this wild group of underdog college frat boys and their crazy antics, movies such as The Bourne Ultimatum depict an underdog in a very different manner. The Bourne Ultimatum is a great hero movie and is actually ranked 105th best hero movie by Digital Dream Door. “Digital Dream Door’)The Bourne Ultimatum is a movie about a former agent in the CIA’s top secrete hit squad called TredStone. Through all of the movies about Jason Bourne, he is constantly harassed by the all mighty CIA’s secrete hit squad TredStone where he formally worked for. While he is faced with a huge disadvantage, he uses his skills learned by his former employer to always stay one step ahead of them in their attempt to assassinate him. There are numerous reasons why people enjoy this series of movies about Jason Bourne. Viewers like to see underdog characters like Jason Bourne who stand up to a much greater force than themselves.
Some viewers also like this movie because they enjoy the thought of being like characters such as Jason Bourne and having the immense knowledge of fighting and other skills. For example, Jason can quite easily take ten highly trained hit men on and walk away without even breaking a sweat. In both cases of Animal House and the Jason Bourne movies, people are presented with an underdog hero that they feel sympathy for. The feeling of sympathy for a hero is something that many movies create in order to establish a favorable attitude towards the movies hero.
In real life the underdog is hardly ever victorious so movie writers create these underdog heroes to fulfill the audiences desire to see the underdog actually win once and a while. Movies that show the underdog as triumphant give real people hope that even though one may be up against a much more powerful foe, it is possible to come out on top. Superheroes first became extremely popular within the pages of comic books so it was only natural that film makers adopted the idea of superheroes into movies as well. People flock to superhero movies to satisfy their need for antasy. Superhero movies frequently depict an average Joe who is somehow given amazing super human powers that real men and women have been fantasizing about for years. When thinking about movies that follow this sequence of events, the first movie that comes to my mind is Spider Man. The movie starts out by showing the main character as a weak and nerdy high school student, but a field trip to a research lab changed his life forever. He is bitten by a spider that gives him super human powers that he uses to fight crime and injustice.
Viewers are enticed by movies like Spiderman because they wish that they could actually obtain these super human powers too. While many people would like these powers to have the ability to better society, many would also enjoy the powers for more cynical uses. Many people can relate to the feeling of being weak and helpless, so seeing heroes like Spiderman in the movies provides some people with a form of escape from reality. Many audience members love to escape from reality while viewing a movie and film makers provide that escape by portraying superhuman heroes.
Everyman heroes are those that do not have any superhuman powers but they do have believable characteristics that many viewers find inspirational. Movies with everyman heroes cover a vast genre of movies that portray heroes in many different fashions. One great example of using heroes to inspire people would have to be Remember The Titans. According to IMBD movie critic George Chek “ Remember the Titans was touching, uplifting, inspiring, motivating, and triumphant. ”(Chek) Remember The Titans depicts the integration of a high school football team during the 1960’s.
During the movie the team is given a new black head coach who has the daunting task of bringing the white and black players of the team together. Although the team and also the head coach are faced with many challenges over the issue of race they are able to overcome the difference in their skin color and learn to work together. This is a great movie to use as an example of movie heroes inspiring their viewers. The movie addresses some of the social issues within our countries past and through great directing and acting gives the viewer a good feeling and hope for racial equality.
Not only does the movie give people hope for future equality it also provides a good look at how far we have come concerning issues of race in our country. Inspiration gained through watching movie heroes is one of the best reasons why we need heroes in the movies. It is my belief that movie heroes really do sometimes teach its viewers important life lessons. Moving forward to another great example of an everyman hero, and also one of my personal favorite movies, The Patriot. The movie is set during one of our countries most violent periods of time, The Revolutionary War.
The movie depicts the main character Mel Gibbson as a single father of five children. Once the war begins it was not long until it came to his front door. Following a battle between the Red Coats and the Revolutionaries that took place on his farm land, a high ranking British officer with a horrible attitude orders his soldiers to burn down his house and takes his eldest son who was fighting on behalf of the revolutionist. One of the younger sons tries to protest the taking of his brother and winds up getting killed in front of his father and his other siblings.
Following this Mel Gibbson’s character runs into the burning house to retrieve his riffles to get his son back. Through an immense amount of courage Mel Gibbson and his very young sons who are still alive surprise the British soldiers who have his other son . While there was only three of them, they took out the entire patrol and saved the eldest brother from certain death. The movie continues to show how Mel Gibbson’s character joins up with the militia and eventually kills the British officer who killed his son, and as every American knows they also win the war.
This movie portrays many of the prominent characteristics of what people define as a hero. The movie shows that even though one may be up against a far greater power, if one is truly dedicated and intelligent they can prevail. The movie also provides a role model for real people by showing how to stand up for what is right and to never back down. Movie heroes are and have been a major influence on society in numerous different ways. Heroes portrayed in the movies offer people many different things such as an escape from reality, inspiration, and a role model to mimic.
As mentioned at the beginning of this essay, while heroes are very different they do frequently posses qualities such as heroism, courage, likeability, and are somewhat believable in most cases. Through the discussion of these popular hero traits in relation to superheroes, underdog heroes, and everyman heroes I hope it is now evident why heroes are such a major influence on many peoples lives, and a very necessary part of the film industry.