December 7, 2015
Popular Culture, Serious Moral Themes and the Baleful Effects of the Sexual Revolution
I confess dear readers that I am hopelessly in love with comic book characters. I collected comic books as an adolescent (I was a Marvel guy if you must know) and now as an adult father who does enjoy literature, opera, and other forms of serious high culture I still cannot resist going to the movies and watching my old childhood heroes like Spiderman and Captain America fight the bad guys and see good triumph over evil.
In addition to watching all of the special effects mayhem on the big screen, superhero movies and now TV shows have started to tackle more adult themes – two years ago Marvel’s Captain America was in a movie that took on the theme of the national security state seriously and asked some interesting questions about the trade-off between liberty and safety when fighting terrorism. Then last year, the superhero team The Avengers asked what it would be like to create a sentient being to fight evil on behalf of humanity, making superheroes unnecessary (and what the implications would be when that plan went horribly wrong.)
Now television is getting in on the act, with Marvel Studies teaming up with Netflix to produce a series of gritty, ‘more realistic’ shows that highlight some lesser Marvel superheroes who live in New York City and fight crime with super powers that aren’t quite as spectacular (or require as many special effects!) as those you’ll find in the movies. These shows, and there are two so far: Daredevil and Jessica Jones (with two more planned), have been critically praised as featuring good acting, good writing, and gritty, realistic plots that are compelling and that tackle weighty moral issues.