Superheroes were first created as motivational characters dedicated to protecting the public from crooks, robbers, evil scientists and tenacious villains who just keep coming back to life. They stood by strong moral codes and risked their lives repeatedly for the public. They became an entertaining source of inspiration for kids and adults alike to identify core values.
But over the years, past the comic books and blockbuster adaptations, we realized that we don’t only admire these guys for their superpowers and their ability to function at all in their snug attire; we also recognize them as humans with emotions, troubles and flaws, just like the rest of us.
So here’s what we’ve learned not from the Batmans and Spidermans of superhero kingdom, but from the Bruce Waynes and Peter Parkers :)
1. You Don’t Need Superpowers To Be A Superhero
Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark both suffered personal traumas before their alter egos, Batman and Iron Man, were unleashed. Yet they don’t possess any superpowers. Despite their personality defects (Bruce and his guilt, Tony and his arrogance), what they possess are powerful minds, ambition, and persistence, in order to seek justice and of course – meet their goals. Both are successful entrepreneurs, after all.
“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me,” said Batman in the 2005 film, Batman Begins.
2. Not All Nice Guys Finish Last
Captain America may have been a scientific shortcut from the frail and scrawny yet patriotic Steve Rogers, but he wouldn’t have been considered by Dr. Erskine for the experiment had it not been for his humility and dignity. “But a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows compassion,” said Dr. Erskine of Steve.
Even with the speed, strength and superhuman agility as Captain America, Steve remained a dutiful gentleman with principles. He had still had faith in the kindness of others, and we’re pretty sure he’d still open the door for a woman out to assassinate him.
3. Turn Your Flaws Into Qualities
Sometimes your inner demon is not really a bad guy. It’s just a matter of how you keep the spark in your relationship with the person within you, y’know?
Take Bruce Banner and his green temper Hulk. At first, we see Bruce trying to resist the beast in him. But then he learns to shift Hulk’s negative energy by using it against greater negative energy to produce positivity. Remember maths?
Okay, we shall not digress. Our point is, sometimes, you shouldn’t resist who you are inside, because that person could come in handy. There are negative personality traits that, when used positively, can work to your advantage, such as being impulsive, aggressive or an introvert.
4. Be Proud Of Who You Are
Prejudice is an issue that spans many categories –gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture and religion. For the X-Men, they faced prejudice from humanity for being mutants.
While some mutants decided that the world was against them, the X-Men decided to remain positive and use their gifts or greater good, proving to people that they are valuable assets who also deserve the rights of any other human being.
Look at Harvey Milk, who became the first American politician to be openly gay, and even Temple Grandin, who rose to become one of the world’s esteemed animal science doctors despite having autism.
5. We All Have Something We’re Good At
Most superheroes are gifted with one or few specific skills that they’re best at. Flash has speed. Superman can fly into space. But by day, they are also normal people with mortal skills. Peter Parker is a math whiz. Matt Murdock (Daredevil) is a great defender in court. And Bruce Banner is a scientific genius.
So for the rest of us, it’s just about giving ourselves a chance to discover and develop our talents into something we love and are good at doing, and using it to enrich our lives and the lives of others.
Because true power doesn’t come from what your talent or skill is; it comes from your character, and let’s face it – it is the characters of our superheroes that make them awesome, not so much their superpowers!