In the superhero genre, the superhero is portrayed as wholly good and the arch-villain as wholly evil. There is no grey area between these two opposites.I will explore to what extent this is true in Spiderman and Batman.
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"In the superhero genre, the superhero is portrayed as wholly good and the arch-villain as wholly evil. There is no grey area between these two opposites." To what extent is this true in the two films you have studied? Superheroes originated in Victorian fiction. Superheroes had many characteristics that defined them as superheroes: a secret identity, superhuman powers and a colourful costume including a symbol and cape. Superheroes grew popular during World War II, as people needed simple stories of good mastering over evil. Publishers created stories in which superheroes battled the enemies of the USA with patriotically themed superheroes. However, superheroes lost popularity in comic form after the war and regained popularity in the cinema. Superheroes were no longer totally portrayed as wholly good and the arch-villain as wholly evil but there tended to be some grey areas in the film versions of these stories. In this essay, I will explore to what extent this is true in 'Spiderman' and 'Batman'. The mise-en-scene of the films helps portray the heroes as wholly good characters.
Whereas in 'Spiderman' New York is presented in a positive way as Spiderman appears out of the sunshine. Therefore this contributes to Spiderman being an idealised American hero, as he saves the vulnerable people and therefore this helps out the police. Spiderman starts his hero career by seeking revenge from the car-jacker, although he soon learns his moral lesson and then saves the weak and forgets about all self-interested goals for the greater good. However Batman's hero career is based on revenge for justice. When he rescues the vulnerable, he manages to come across as evil and sinister, therefore he is a force of good but this is not recognised as it is harder to see on screen. Sound also creates a grey area for Batman however not for Spiderman. In 'Batman', there is a non-diagetic sound in the film every time Batman saves or arrives to help others. The non-diagetic sound is his theme tune; a sinister sound; it is played in the scenes in which Batman arrives to save the people of Gotham city.
In 'Batman', we see the hero presented in a sinister way and therefore this challenges our expectations about the presentation of the hero as we expect him to be presented in a positive way as a force for good. However, in 'Spiderman', we see him presented in a triumphant and positive way which therefore conforms to our expectations about the presentation of the hero as this is what is expected as a force of good. In 'Batman', we see the Joker presented in a psychotic and a disturbing way but also appealing and fun in which makes him seem even more evil and as a result this conforms to our expectations about the presentation of the villain as this is what is expected as a force of evil. However, in 'Spiderman', the Green Goblin is presented as a force of evil but there is a time where we feel sympathy for him during the scene with the mirror, Norman Osborn does not want to be evil but eventually he gives in to the Green Goblin. Therefore in modern superhero films there is not always a wholly good and a wholly evil villain, there is sometimes a grey area between the two opposites. ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE English Media Studies Coursework Page 1
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