Superhero films: a search for moral greatness

Superhero films: a search for moral greatness


By Emily Stimpson

What movies such as “Iron Man” and “Spider-Man” say about our culture and about human nature

(An Interview with Dr. Jonathan Sanford, Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville)

With summer just around the corner, there’s already buzz about what this season’s blockbuster films will be. At the top of the list of sure-fire hits are the superhero movies: “Iron Man 3” hits theaters May 3; “Man of Steel” (Superman) will be released June 14; and “The Wolverine” comes to the big screen July 26. It’s clear Hollywood has found success in showcasing movie heroes who fly. Or scale tall buildings. Or wield mystical hammers. Basically, they fill the screen with super-powered heroes, then watch the money flow in.

Why is that? Why do films like these never fail to attract moviegoers of all ages, sexes and socioeconomic demographics? What explains our culture’s perennial love of superheroes, a love that only has seemed to grow in recent years with the popularity of the latest Batman trilogy, the Iron Man films and even television series such as “Smallville”?

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