"... having been through the past year's Occupy Wall Street experience gave me new eyes.
And what those eyes viewed brought me to an epiphany. Superheroes serve the 1%. They serve the top down powers that are waging a massive war with the 99%-- we on the bottom."
A bit further into the Avengers review, I wrote,
" the Avengers movie and superheroes They also engage the fantasy that one person, or a small few, can save the world. That can have the same kind of top-down fantasy theme to it. The Avengers movie did. I''ve come to believe that top down thinking is part of the problem that the Occupy Wall Street movement faces. To change the system it is necessary to change the way we think about saving the system and fighting our enemies. How many scores of millions of kids have grown up having read Marvel and DC comics, about Spiderman, the Avengers, the Hulk, Superman, Green Lantern, the Justice League of America-- where people with super powers save the world?
This way of thinking takes the responsibility out of the hands of the people, takes the perception of possibility out of the reach of the masses."
That led me to a conclusion and some observations:
" But today, we need big stories that show how "the people"-- how vast groups of millions rise up to face the challenges to humanity. Occupy and the Arab Spring have shown that this is not fiction. it is reality.
... We need big, epic, blockbuster movies that portray bottom up leaders who, rather than defeating the bad guys by being super-heroes, do it by inspiring the crowd to rise and join together.
... If movie makers produce movies like this, they will be hugely profitable. And they just might help get enough people thinking that THEY can be bottom up, horizontal, or Occupy superheroes of a different kind and save the world.
Writing that article inspired me to contact the man who actually wrote the book on how writers and screenwriters can weave the hero's journey into books and movies-- Chris Vogler, author of The Writer's Journey-- a brilliant, best-selling book for writers. I did an interview with him about this topic. Here's the podcast:
Chris Vogler; Can There Be Blockbuster Movies and Stories Using an Occupy/Bottom Up/Horizontal "Collective" Hero?
Rob: Well, let's try. You know, what I kind of proposed as an idea, was that it would be nice to see movies where the hero was a whole group of people, where one person who was kind of bottom up hero, who basically did the job of waking everybody up or bringing them alive. Does that--is that--are there examples of that even--are there movies that have had--where that's happened? Are there myths like that? Or is this breaking new ground?
Chris: Well, it's in a way its revolutionary, because as I say, so much of our assumption about movies--the American movie model, usually is about one person who can make a difference, but this is not universal as a cultural constant everywhere. The idea, the very idea of what a hero is, will shift from culture to culture and I've found in some places around the world, they don't think in those terms of one person making a difference. It's a community working together or a family working together. And the community or some sub-group within that becomes the focus and the individual people have their roles to play. They do each have specific talents or tendencies or problems they're trying to work out. But the interest in the story is from this more collective point of view and I guess we have some stories like that.
I mean, you think about the Three Musketeers, it's really four Musketeers and I think this was the author's concept, is that if you put all four of those guys together with their very different qualities you get a complete human being. All the possibilities are expressed. So, we have some stories like that, but it's a little more common maybe in some other parts of the world.