Superheroes are everywhere nowadays. From TV to the big screen, they no longer belong to the comic book world. While they used to only be adored by comic book fanatics, it is hard to find someone who doesn't know who Captain America or the Green Lantern is. This is vastly due to the overwhelming success of the superhero film genre that has started a cultural obsession.
Movies of this genre have been around since the 1940s, however they didn't reach incredible popularity until the 2000s. Movies like "Spider-Man," "Fantastic Four," "X-Men," and "The Dark Knight" took these types of movies to a new level partially due to new technologies that allowed for better and more believable visual effects. Then, in 2008, Marvel did the unthinkable; it created a shared universe for its characters, better known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This universe, that began with Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Iron Man, is still expanding today, now incorporating TV shows such as "Daredevil" and "Agents of Shield." Seeing the success and the fandom of the Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. created the DC Extended Universe with the release of "Man of Steel."
So why is it that we love these characters and these stories so much?
First and foremost, heroic figures provide examples of idealistic behavior. Average individuals, like ourselves, aspire to be like them. They inspire us to be better, to do the right thing and to be selfless. At the same time they are very human and relatable: they are flawed, they make mistakes. What sets them apart, however, is that they learn from those mistakes and they don't let those flaws hold them back.
Second, they are just so freakin' cool. There is no denying that some of those action scenes are a major cause for goosebumps, also known as "nerd-gasms." This is all thanks to the astonishing work done by stunt doubles and of course, CGI artists. These characters are incredibly skilled sometimes by nature, sometimes by training, and to portray something as unreal as flying or super-speed or whatnot, is no easy task. Yet it is done extremely well.
Finally, they give us hope. In a world where we are bombarded by bad news and sadness, it is good to find an escape and a level of security with these characters. Sure, superheroes aren't real, but one can dream. They also remind us that though superheroes and superpowers may not exist, heroes do, and we are surrounded by them. From the people who love us, to those who risk their lives every day for a bigger cause, someone is out there looking out for each one of us.
This cult doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. This year, 2016, is projected to be a big year for superheroes movies as it has been shown by "Deadpool" and its incredible reception. Other movies to look out for are "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Suicide Squad," "Captain America: Civil War" and "Doctor Strange." Beloved characters on the small screen like "Arrow," "Flash," "Gotham" and so on, also aren't going anywhere, and I'm sure they'll continue to bring entertainment to our living rooms.