Real-life superheroes are much closer to us than we think
The power of cinema today has never been greater, more influential or as far-reaching towards the masses as compared to a decade ago. The Hollywood film industry is continuously in overdrive mode – constantly buzzing and in full-swing. Box-office movies or blockbusters such as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Justice League of America, Suicide Squad, etc. will forever have a special place in our hearts and minds. Our perpetual obsession and prevalent addiction with super-hero characters in comic books, video games and the silver-screen is literally off the charts. Unfettered adulation showered upon fictional characters on the silver screen has brought about a new kind of dilemma – an unhealthy preoccupation with superhero idolatry and the worshipping of “false gods” (i.e. fake idols). Are superheroes really worthy of being worshipped as deities in the image of our favourite comic-book characters such as Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Ironman, Thor, Captain America or even The Incredible Hulk? Are such super-human figures and omnipotent beings truly justified to be branded let alone be labeled as gods?
In the Spiderman movies, a classic and memorable quote instantly comes to mind: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Indeed, Peter Parker (who is the alter ego of Spiderman) is depicted as a stereotypical orphaned child growing up in an upscale neighbourhood. One fine day, bad luck got the better of him. He got bitten by a rogue spider and was bestowed with fantastic super-human ability, which had transcended to him via genetically-altered or mutated spiders during a lab accident. His superpower was apparently inherited, but it had neither been created nor learnt by the host. Batman, on the other hand, became obsessed with bats which inspired him in times of solitude and during his darkest days. They taught him the real meaning of life. It’s all about the daily struggles as well as challenges – the trials and tribulations in life that matter most. Armed with an intuitive knowledge and his inventive genius, Batman eventually prevailed as the antithesis of what constitutes a true superhero. Inspirational stories of unlikely superheroes are many, and often relegated to the realms of fantasy and fairytale.
A superhero is generally someone who is blessed with somewhat divine mystical powers and heavenly ethereal qualities which are not inherent or present in normal people. An average person can possess superpowers to a certain degree as demonstrated by a select group of gifted people called “meta humans” who are able to undertake near impossible tasks and extraordinary mind-boggling feats that defy human logic, as well as create or conceive miracles in the face of overwhelming odds. Sometimes superheroes are mere mortals worshipped by other humans who are also mortals. The fundamental traits that define a superhuman are also wide-ranging and vary from one individual to another.
The infamous Black Widow or the iconic Wonder Woman gained their super skills via years of tough workouts and rigorous training regimes. Even the indifferent Batman and the ‘show-pony’ Ironman possess no real superpowers to begin with. Yet they almost always rely upon their super gadgets to help elevate them to superhero status and stardom. Sometimes advanced cutting-edge science and technology can somehow make a world of difference when it comes to realizing any potential superpower we possess. But what makes a superhero a superhero? Having god-like powers, unparalleled physical talent, pure infinite knowledge, or possessing a fairy-like angelic beauty? How do we begin to define superpower?
In most cases, real-life superheroes are more common than meets the eye. There are abundant people on the streets who contribute tirelessly to society who would go the extra mile to do good deeds to improve the lives or welfare of others – be it through alms, cash or kind, charity and philanthropy. Superlative figures such as the great and magnanimous Albert Einstein, was once regarded as a ‘god-father’ in the annals of science, specifically among the physics community for his unorthodox ideas and revolutionary theories about quantum relativity, space-time gravity, unifying force of nature, as well as the mind of God himself!
Meanwhile, legendary Bollywood actor Rajnikanth has always been accorded god-like status by his fans, friends and family not to mention the entire population of India. His countless films constantly pay tribute to ordinary working citizens for years and he also personally champions the daily struggles and hardship of common folk in India. Whilst for American tech icon Steve Jobs, who died prematurely of pancreatic cancer, he left us with an enormous but priceless legacy of innovative breakthroughs and smart inventions that define or embody what Apple products represent to the global population and mankind at large – its myriad of intelligent devices literally transforming the way we work, live and play!
But do these heroic icons, powerful minds and successful geniuses truly deserve the title of ‘superheroes’ as well as the adoration of millions? Ultimately, a superhero is a hero who goes beyond the call of duty, who travels the extra mile, and who delivers extraordinary results in the face of adversity and against impossible odds. Recognize anyone who makes the cut? Then again, there are always your parents. If there is anyone who deserves to be a superhero in your life, they are your moms and dads. After all, our mothers and fathers raise, love, support and protect us till we are adults when we are able to make our own living and to provide a livelihood for our own families. It is our parents who continue to provide us with guidance and knowledge even till their death-bed. We definitely owe it to our parents for being our most loyal but reluctant superheroes! – HFM