Analysis of American Superhero Movies
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  Preface
  Superhero movies are very popular around the world,and as it is well-known,American superhero movies are the reflection of American social value.This essay tend to analyze the impact of American superhero movies from the perspective of a Chinese,and it will be divided to four episodes:First,it will tell readers what American superhero movies are,and then continue to analyze the reason of the popularity of American superhero movies,and the next is to correlate American superhero movie with China,to analyze the impact of American superhero movie to Chinese movie market and audience,and last but not least,to make the conclusion by illustrate the future of American superhero movies.
  What are American Superhero Movies?
  American Superhero Movies are movies casted by American,in which the characters are usually gifted with superpower and the development of the story is characterized by the stereotyped pattern,which is the justice can always beat the evil.The most well-known American superhero movies are Captain America,Batman,Iron Man,and Spider Man,etc.
  The first American superhero movie in the history is The Mark of Zorro,directed by Fred Niblo/Theodore Reed,and published by Grosset & Dunlap,et al.It is a silent film based on the 1919 Zorro story“The Curse of Capistrano”.This movie marked the birth of the American Superhero movie,and after that,there began to have large quantity of movies related to superheroes.
  According to Wikipedia,the highest grossing superhero film is the Avengers (2012)released by the Walt Disney Studios.[166]The Avengers grossed $623.4 million in North America and $895.2 million in other countries,for a worldwide total of $1.518 billion.[3]It became the third highest-grossing film worldwide[165]as well as highest-grossing 2012 film.It could be considered that the superhero heat reached to the peak for this movie.
  Why are superhero movies so popular?
  Superman Returns,X-Men,The Fantastic Four,Iron Man; it seems the list of superhero movies since the dawn of the 21st century goes on and on.The revival of the genre has surpassed all expectations,with six of the top 12 highest opening-weekend box office grosses being held by superhero movies.There are many theories as to why these films have become and remained so popular over the last decade,from desperate attempts to escape to an honest yearning for real-life heroes.
  Some experts consider most movies to be forms of escapism.They are traditionally meant to be a blend of education and entertainment,and superhero films tend heavily toward the latter element.These movies tend to be powerhouses of action,stunts and excitement,immersing the audience in a colorful and fully-realized world.Watching a superhero movie is a great chance to relax and not think about stress or difficult things in your life.   Historically,during times of war,films have become a hotbed of patriotism and heroic films.Since the 2002 beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars,America and much of the world have been enmeshed in the local and global repercussions of armed conflict.Superheroes are quite similar to military personnel in some ways; they are charged with bringing peace,fighting violently if necessary,and trying to maintain a normal life.Some audience members may relate to that concept,either on a personal level or in relation to their ideas about war and any current world situations.
  Moreover,most superheroes serve as a hope-inspiring figure,an image of someone who can save us all from dark and difficult times.Superhero movies promote the ideas of peace,safety and freedom.Some experts consider this message a necessary reassurance in difficult times.Unlike during earlier wars,the message in the movies isn’t about the country succeeding,but recognition that there are others with similar hope for a peaceful future.
  Aside from the global and psychological reasons,superhero movies are just a lot of fun.Since the success of the first recent examples of the genre,like X-Men and Spiderman,the Hollywood film industry has begun throwing huge amounts of money at the films,to great effect.Most of the big-earning superhero films of the 21st century are written,acted,and technically produced by the best minds in the film business.Despite the glut of available films in the genre,they continue to have near-universal success; in 2008,The Dark Knight was released and shattered box-office records,making back nearly its entire production budget of $185 million dollars in the first weekend.
  Superhero movies are many things to many people.To comic book lovers,they are the realization of their favorite worlds.To those feeling the strain of economic,personal,or national problems,they are a welcome escape for a few hours.Regardless of why people see superhero films,it seems pretty clear that the genre is riding a nearly unprecedented wave of popularity across the world.So grab your popcorn and your chocolate and look for a good seat in the middle of the row,because it looks like superhero films will continue to have a wild ride.
  The Impact of American Superhero Movies to China
  “Only Americans are able to cast such extraordinary superhero movies.”Each time when my mom watched the American superhero movies with me,she always made a sign.She felt it a pity that there is no marvelous Chinese superhero movies.The truth is,it is quite impossible for Chinese to cast movies like Superhero movies from the perspective of American value and the first-class special-effects production of American.   The theme of American superhero movie is the just will finally beat the evil,the liberty will always fight the imperialism and that the hero will always appear at the most dangerous time and save the whole world from perishing.This theme,to some extent,is stereotyped,but it reflects exactly the American social value.That is American embrace liberty and freedom.It can be accounted by the American history that America used to be the colony of several imperial countries,and the people of America were eager to emancipation and freedom,which caused the appearance of American superhero movie and its popularity nowadays.That is to say,if there’s no imperialism in America,there may be no the success of today’s superhero movies.American instill their social value into the movie,hoping for equality,freedom and security (this may be related to terrorism),hence,the American social value deeply influenced the American movie.To the contrary,although China used to be invaded by other countries before,why is there little superhero movies casted by Chinese? As a matter of fact,there are superhero movies in China,but the hero are gifted with Kong Fu,instead of a variety of eccentric superpower,like releasing lightening.Kong Fu is a Chinese traditional culture with great value,which is a hallmark of Chinese art.With the existing mature culture which is well-known to the audience that Kong Fu is related to China,it is unnecessary for the Chinese director to create another type of character.
  On the one end of the spectrum,it is of great help to deepen the Chinese traditional culture with the frequent appearance of Kong Fu in the movie,which shapes worldwide people’s view that Kong Fu is the Chinese treasure,and therefore,people who are interested in Kong Fu become more interested in China,helping China to deliver its culture and to gain the international status.On the other hand,however,the monotonous theme of Chinese superhero movie,Kong Fu,kills Chinese directors’ imagination and creativity.Their thinking pattern is programmed when they tend to cast a new movie:the main character must be adept at Kong Fu! It would be so thrilled if the Chinese would invent another type of superpower which has never been invented before.Even if Kong Fu does not appear in the Chinese superhero movies,the superpower is plagiarized from Hollywood,which is so disappointing.
  What’s more,even if the Chinese director have a very intellect original idea,without the assistance of the first-class special-effects production,it is impossible for the Chinese movie-maker to make the script turn to the screen.Thanks for the fact that the Chinese movie-makers have realized that,so when they cast a new superhero movie,they usually consult to the team from Hollywood to assist them to produce the special effects.To some point,the collaboration between two teams for the movie deepen the friendship of our two nations.
  The Future of American Superhero Movie
  Some critics hold the view that the America superhero movies will perish soon for the stereotyped pattern and the more fierce competition of other formula of movie,like Chicken movies (movies which is related to love story,populated by young girls),and other competition of the soaring popularity of the Bollywood from India.However,according to the Chinese scholar,Fang Fang,American superhero movie will still be very popular in the future.America movie is the reflection of American culture,and those superhero movies are the reflections of strength and optimism of American.They gain the positive and optimistic reputation for the U.S.,and meanwhile,they make great contributions to deliver American social value.
  References:
  [1]房芳.美国超级英雄影片中的美国意识形态.盐城师范学院, J905.
  [2]史莹娟.美国英雄电影的文化透析.江苏大学外国语学院, Movie Literature,J905.

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