Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Superhero Bug and Drug

I have never really been a superhero fan.

Okay. Maybe I should word that differently.

Because, I mean, don't get me wrong,
I loved the new Batman movies.
They were--and still are--absolutely fantastic flicks.
(I cannot WAIT until the next one comes this summer...)

...And, I will even admit that I really liked the Spiderman movies.
The first and second ones, anyway.

I guess I should say that I was never a big comic book fan.
Marvel? DC? What's the difference?

I didn't really trawl the internet looking for news on the latest and greatest from either of the comic book company super-powers (see what i did there? right? right??)

I'd see the preview while waiting for another, less tight-clad character's movie, and think: 
Oh, a new superhero movie's coming out?
They'll probably blow something up.
The protaganist will probably be really hot and full of inner-conflict.
Might be a good way to kill an hour.

But then I got bit by the Superhero bug.
I got bit hard.

For the record, I completely blame my awesome and completely 'hero-obssessed friend Naomi for my exposure to this disease.

Although, I feel like that statement loses a little of its "not-my-fault"-ness since she completely owns--and takes pride in--her involvement in my illness.


I saw Captain America: The First Avenger for the first time during summer break when I took a trip with Naomi to visit good ol' California.
To be completely honest, if I hadn't been with her and her equally superhero-obssessed younger siblings, I probably wouldn't have seen the movie until it came out on video.
(DVD? BluRay? can you even say something "comes out on video" anymore?)

I was hooked.
While still in California, I watched, again, the first Iron Man movie.
When I got home, I went to see The Cap again...then rented the 2nd Iron Man and re-watched both of The Hulks.
(.....yeah, I don't feel like I was wrong to mostly ignore those ones. They're just...not.....good..)

My disease got worse.
I rented and re-watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
I watched the first "old" Spiderman.
 I bought Captain America the day it came out.

And then, when it didn't seem possible (or plausible); I got sicker.
I started looking for more previews of the promised 2012 summer blockbuster, The Avengers.
Less than a month before the Movie of All Movies came out,
I bought Thor, Iron Man, and Iron Man 2.

I found all of the released previews for the superhero mash-up movie on YouTube.
Started keeping an eye out for Avengers-Info on the web.
Who was the composer? Would all the superheroes make a triumphant return?

All of the superheroes... 1 movie?

I saw The Avengers the night after it opened.
And it was there, in that dark theater, surrounded by countless other infected people,
I realized:

It's not just a bug.
It's a drug.

If it was just a bug, it'd go away.
Leaving you worn-out and Superhero-weary.

But after the initial sickness wore off, I found myself craving more.
And, judging from the box office numbers and the amount of people I saw standing in line outside a cinema that dedicated 4 different theaters to one movie, I know I'm not the only one.

Which leads me to wonder...
Why are Superheroes so addictive?

And I'm ignoring (for now) the obvious we-just-like-a-good-looking-person-dressed-in-tights-running-around-while-stuff-explodes thing.
We're not that shallow.

I got a little teary during the movie.
I'm not afraid to admit that.
And, really, if you know me and my rather impressive rating on the sap-scale,
it shouldn't be that surprising.

But guess what?
I wasn't the only one in that theater that got a little emotional.

I literally shared laughter and tears with 60 or so complete strangers.
I had people I've never met before (and will never see again) turn to me and smile companionably.
The guy sitting next to me actually gave me a rather sympathetic "I know, I know" smile when I got a little choked up near the end.

When something funny happened,
every single person in that theater turned and shared the joke with their neighbor
 (usually the party that had accompanied them),
then turned and shared the same moment with their other neighbors
(usually not the party that had accompanied them).

There was one group seated next to me and my party that found our hysterical giggles absolutely charming.

There was another group seated on the other side of us that found them......less so...
..But even so, for those 2.5 hours, we were all united through a common experience.

I think I may have it figured out.
Why we crave Superheroes.

Why we find ourselves cheering on the flawed but love-able Tony Stark.
The loyal, patriotic, sacrificing Steve Rogers.
The once-immature but now stable King of Asgard.
The tightly-wound, quiet-guy Bruce Banner.

I think it's because...we kind of like the idea.
The idea that there really are people in this world who stand up to evil.
Who don't run when things get hard.

I think we like it even more when they're kind of flawed.
Like us.
That, no matter how selfish and average they may seem,
when the time comes, they do the right thing.
Every time.

With how scary the world is now,
I think the Super-Drug is even more potent.

We may not have horn-hatted Lokis bringing scores of alien forces to destroy our world,
but we have our fair share of evil.

Ours just happen to come in the form of world leaders.
And poverty and rape and murder.
Lies and disease and anger.
Racism and war and cruelty.
It comes in the form of people who just want to watch the world burn.

So the idea that
 an average human-being, given an extraordinary opportunity, would stand against any and all of evil's many forms,

that good somehow always wins, even when it seems unlikely,

to say the least,

Maybe for some people, it is a push to be a superhero in their own way.
Maybe for others, it's a ray of hope,
a reminder that good people do still exist.

Or, maybe it really is just the
good-looking, tights, explosions thing.

I don't know.

All I do know, is that I will continue to watch superhero movies.
I will continue to get chills and swells of pride and big, goofy smiles on my face.
I'll more than likely cry again.
I will definitely go see The Avengers again before it leaves theaters.
I'll sink further into my disease, my new-found addiction.

And I won't really be surprised at the number of people who'll join me there.

Monday, March 5, 2012

May It Be

We had nicknames.
At least 4, each.
Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Titanic,  and The Belgariad series.
(the important things, y'know).

We lived off of Pixie Stix and Fanta.
We were constantly together during the summer.
It just wasn't a party if even one of us wasn't there.

We tied my dad's creeper to the back of our 4-wheeler and dragged each other all over my yard.
We played "My Heart Will Go On" on repeat and sat around eating Hostess Fruit Pies with forks, pretending to be the elite guests on the upper levels of the Titanic itself.

Every early release day, we went to lunch (Subway or DQ),
got bags of candy and "kiddy crack" from the Penny Candy place,
and went to cuddle guinea pigs and stare at fish in the Pet Store.
We went to the dollar store and bought silly hats and scarves,
and terrorized the staff of King's with our giggling and stuffed animal fights.

We had sleepovers every Friday night, where we chugged orange Fanta and downed Pixie Stix.
We obsessively watched the extended editions of each Lord of the Rings trilogy.
We drooled over our favorite leading men and watched all of the bonus material until we had it memorized.

We had a "Bond Stronger Than Sisterhood" and BFF promises and signs.

Until we didn't.
We spent one summer happy as clams together, but, as they usually do,
things changed.

There were fights and back-biting and hurt feelings and mean words.
There were vicious notes and secret agendas and plenty of lies.

We were Jr High girls after all.

But for that one summer, we were tight.

Spotify popped up with Enya's "May It Be" tonight, which brought on this onslaught of memories.
I swear I could smell the freshly cut summer grass again,
could taste tangy orange Fanta and sickly sour purple Pixie Stix,
  I could hear each of them using our nicknames again.

We each drifted apart through various degrees of anger, hurt, or neglect.
Even the one I held onto the longest, I haven't spoken to since our senior year of high school.

I hear from them all, every once in a while now.
There's no more hurt feelings, no bitter regrets or attitudes.
I don't think we really miss each other.
We're happy and content with our lives the way they are.

But I don't think I'll ever be able to hear that song without thinking of them.

Without remembering how many times we stayed up waaay past our bedtime
memorizing the lines and faces of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Without remembering how we used to be each other's favorites.

Frodo, Pippin, & Galadriel,
Nedzy, Velvet, & Xantha,
Cap'n Jack, Commodore Norrington, & Ragetti,

I hope you girls are doing well
and I wish you all the best.


I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Idaho's capital. Counting occasions and not separate...