Gas prices are high and so are movie tickets. For me, it is a 30 mile drive to the nearest theater. So I have found myself rolling loose change for the trip and for a ticket so I could truly enjoy a summer filled from beginning to end with the comic hero movies lined up week after week.
The economy is trashed, there are two separate foreign wars, record high temperatures, and record high movie budgets. With the release of so many comic movies and superhero titles, one can only ask why now in the wake of such turmoil. Why are we flocking now to see Thor swing his hammer and to watch the Green Lantern will his way to victory? Why begrudgingly fill our gas tanks with just enough fuel to drive to see Captain America and then hope we have enough left to make it home? I sat through Transformers wondering about Bumblebee's fuel economy.
There is no one simple answer to the spending habits of the American people. Less people are traveling to either mountains or coast and more are indulging in cheaper "stay-cations" and looking to cheaper alternatives to sun bathed resorts. Maybe there is something else. Is it finally a time in which a father or even grandfather can share his comic heroes with the new generations of his family? It still does not seem to be as cut and dry. Perhaps, we Americans are looking for heroes.
The news media only shows our representatives or even favorite athletic franchises bickering over money and churches protesting the death of our soldiers. For weeks all one could see on any given channel was the Casey Anthony verdict and the near riotous reaction of parents around the nation. "It's not right, It's not right," was screamed by a woman holding a picket sign while porch light vigils shone for the tragic death of a young girl and people flocked to Harry Potter's premiere.
Could it be that we are finally seeing all that is wrong in the world and these comic movies are reminding us that there may be one or two still willing to stand up for right at all cost? Americans seem to be begging for a big blue boy scout in a cape to rush in and rescue us from a 14% unemployment rate and judicial verdicts that we cannot tolerate. Americans need a captain or a god of thunder to fight for right because it is, in fact, right. We want to see a hero resist temptation and consider the little guy, the crying children, the starving families instead of negotiating for more zeroes on a paycheck.
Thirty miles to the nearest theater and four dollars a gallon to get there to stand in line to sit in a crowded sticky theater with the peanut gallery always choosing seats nearest to you. Hollywood has churned out title after title this summer and is drawing record revenues from a populous that is having to save up to entertain themselves each week. Are Americans looking for hope from these comic hero movies? More importantly, are they getting what they paid for?