Monday, June 23, 2008


What I’m Reading: The Charm School by Nelson DeMille

What I’m Working On: I finally hammered out some big plot things. Maybe I’m on a roll.

I saw the moving The Incredible Hulk Sunday night. I probably don’t have to say it, but I will. I LOVE SUPER-HERO MOVIES.

I’ve seen two super-hero movies this summer – Ironman and The Incredible Hulk. I really liked them both. I can’t say which one I liked best.

I have, however, compared them – from a character arc standpoint.

(Warning: Spoilers.)

Let’s start with Ironman. Tony Stark is the super wealthy arms industrialist. He naively believes he’s protecting the world by making bigger, more deadly weapons. When he’s kidnapped in a third world country by a terrorist, he realizes his weapons have fallen into the wrong hands and are responsible for the deaths of thousands. His wounds in that country would have been fatal if not for the compassionate physician he meets -- that and Tony’s own genius. Tony’s transformation occurs when he returns to the United States. He’s determined to make sure his second chance is wisely used. He devotes himself to making up for the destruction for which he’s been responsible.

In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner is another genius. This hero is a gamma-poisoned scientist who can’t control the monster within. The government wants to dissect him and use what they learn to create the ultimate army. Bruce isolates himself in a remote area of the world in order to learn enough control to prevent the monster from emerging and also to find a cure for himself. When the government discovers his location, he has no choice but to run again – this time toward the one person he knows can help. Just when he thinks he’s cured, a monster far more evil than Bruce's Hulk is created. Bruce realizes he has a responsibility: not to suppress the Hulk, but to learn him intimately (and thereby learn himself, too) so that he can be used as a force for good.

Tony Stark wakes up in his story as does Bruce Banner, but Tony learns he must grow up from irresponsible, blind playboy to a man responsible for his own gifts. Bruce learns he can’t run from who he is, but that he must embrace that man (and monster) and become master of both.

Maybe the reason I love super-hero movies so much is the character arc of the hero. I can’t wait for the Batman sequel. I don’t think Bruce Wayne is finished with his changes and it will be interesting to see how well the movie-makers pull off The Dark Knight. (Sequels rarely seem as good as the original to me because frequently there is less character arc in lieu of more special effects and violence.)

Ah, well, I have less than a month to wait for the next super-hero summer movie. In the meantime, maybe I'll rewatch my DVD of The X-Men. I do love Wolverine.....



Katie Reus said...

Since I didn't want to see any spoilers, I scrolled down to the comment section. I have to second your love for superhero movies!! I loved Ironman and can't wait to see The Incredible Hulk! I'm waiting until the man gets back in town and we're going to see it together :)

Dara Edmondson said...

I'm not big on superhero movies, but the rest of the family is. So, while they go to the movies, I enjoy some blissful alone time;-) So really, I do like the movies - just not watching them!