He Looks Like UsHe Acts Like UsBut He’s NOT Like Us– Copy for I Am Number Four Trailer
So, for a variety of reasons, today’s post is not going to be your regularly scheduled programming. I haven’t been feeling great this week and between work and leaving the country in less than a month, it hasn’t been easy to find the time to write. Fortunately, what I have for you today is a post that has been brewing for nearly three months now, and after seeing I Am Number Four last night, it just had to come out.
As I was watching I Am Number Four, I was thinking about the framework I had outlined last week for the Superhero Movie plot and was attempting to prove that even thought I Am Number Four fits that framework quite nicely, it is still not a superhero movie. And then it dawned on me, like the bright lights shining out of Number Four’s hands: Four only has one enemy, or, as my friend Y. later corrected me, one nemesis. Number Four’s fight is only against the evil aliens who are trying to invade earth. But, if he were a superhero, he would be fighting everyone who tried to hurt anyone. And that right there is the difference between a superhero and a hero: a hero fights one battle, a superhero fights many.
However, each of these heroes has only one (1) enemy. Harry Potter has Voldemort and the dark wizards. Luke has Vader, the Emperor, and the Empire. James Bond and John McClane have terrorists. None of them have the time to stop a mugging on the street or worry about something that, at the end of the day, would only really effect one tiny city on one tiny planet. No, these guys fight BIG WARS, not small battles. Could you imagine James Bond fighting the Joker? Luke Skywalker vs. the Green Goblin? Harry Potter going up against Lex Luthor? John McClane taking out Red Mist? It’s kind of ridiculous, right? Why would these guys fight such (comparatively) small time crooks when they have HUGE GLOBAL PROBLEMS on their hands?
Far be it from me to deny that these guys are heroes, because we all know they are. And no one would deny that they do indeed possess powers and abilities that one could define as “super.” But that isn’t enough to make them superheroes. Superheroes need to be selflessly fighting every fight they can find, and tracking down those they can’t, not fighting a war that has nothing to do with the little guy on the street. If our definition of “superhero” was that broad, we would have to include everyone from Marty McFly to Frodo on our list and we all know neither of those dudes are superheroes.