Most nights there’s no end of heroics on display at the Salmar Grand.
On one screen or more there’s bound to be some man, woman, talking cat or dog, vehicle, toy cowboy and/or space ranger rising above their individual flaws and overcoming difficult odds to make things right.
This is by no means a new or local phenomena. For about a century people have been visiting movie houses to be swept away by seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Yes, much has changed in film, and the world, since Douglas Fairbanks put on a mask in The Mark of Zorro (1920), but moviegoers are still drawn to stories about heroes, mask or no.
I am no exception. I’ve put in the full 48 hours required to watch the 22 Marvel Comics Universe films – plus repeat views. I don’t know how many times I’ve subjected myself to the tragic deaths of Martha and Thomas Wayne to see the rise of the world’s greatest detective.
My son also enjoys the superhero movies, and we’ve seen quite a few of them together at the Salmar. I don’t know if he’s always understood them (if you sat through, say, Avengers: Endgame, you know there’s way more going on than just saving the day), and I know the language isn’t always appropriate (despite Steve Rogers’ warnings), but he’s certainly been entertained. My hope, however, is that there’s more of a takeaway for him than just the joy of the spectacle – that all this exposure to the selfless decisions and actions of our movie heroes has ingrained an appreciation of right over wrong.
If my son should one day decide to become a firefighter or join the police, that’s fine. But being a real life hero need only involve caring for others, and speaking up for them when it’s the right thing to do.
In the words of Marvel founder Stan Lee, a hero can be “someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them — even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.”