Why Marvel Makes You a Better Person
It’s no secret that I love Marvel movies. I’m pretty sure my husband has a running bet with his friends about how many times he will have to watch the latest Avengers movie).
So when I read about a study showing that watching superheroes can make people more empathetic and less violent, it made me feel even better about my obsession with these films. And then it got me thinking: What exactly makes Marvel so good for us? Why is this particular entertainment brand so much more effective than anything else?
You can find online marvel trivia questions that test your knowledge of the Marvel Universe. And plenty of academic studies examine why these films are so popular, including one that found they offer viewers a chance to vicariously live out their fantasies of being superheroes (a topic I’ll be exploring in more detail later).
But what’s missing from these analyses is the question of how exactly this entertainment brand works its magic.
Here are 4 reasons why superheroes make people better:
Marvel embraces diversity.
You don’t have to be a white, straight, cisgender male to be an Avenger. You don’t need to be a man at all, Marvel has plenty of female Avengers who have been around since the 1960s. And let’s not forget about Black Panther and Doctor Strange.
Marvel’s diverse cast of characters also includes people with disabilities (such as Daredevil), LGBTQ+ folks (like Iceman), Muslims (in the form of Ms. Marvel), and non-Christians (like Iron Man). Not only does this make it more comfortable for readers from these communities to see themselves in Marvel tales, but it also makes them more relatable for everyone else.
Marvel teaches lessons of love and forgiveness.
In a world where superheroes are real, they’re flawed. They have to learn how to love and forgive. And they need to work together as a team to save the day.
But the best lesson of all? Being humble enough not only admit your mistakes but also apologize for them and change your actions accordingly, which is exactly what Captain America does at the end of the Civil War when he realizes that his actions led to Tony Stark becoming Iron Man again (and thus starting another war).
Marvel’s Avengers are the unlikely heroes.
The Avengers are not the best people.
They’re far from perfect and aren’t always on the right side of the law. They’re not even always good at their jobs: Cap gets beaten up by Loki in The Avengers, Thor’s powers fail him when he tries to battle Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War, and Black Widow can’t get through airport security without being questioned by James Rhodes (War Machine), and Peter Parker is attacked by his police force for being Spider-Man. But despite their flaws and failures, these characters come together to form a team rooted in heroism that strives to do what’s right, and this concept makes us better people too.
Marvel teaches teamwork and standing your ground.
Teamwork is the foundation of Marvel’s success. It’s a recurring theme throughout the series and always pays off. Even in the early days, when Stan Lee was writing most of the comics by himself (with an occasional assist from Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko), his work was always based on team dynamics. That’s why so many characters continue to be popular long after they’ve stopped starring in their books: they’re all part of a larger universe now, one that fans can explore at will.
When you read a book like Spider-Man or Captain America, where an individual hero performs their heroic deeds with no outside help, it feels more like watching TV than reading comic books. But when you read about how Iron Man relies on Spider-Man for information about villains’ weapons; how Thor must rely on The Hulk to protect Asgard; how Captain America relies on Hawkeye for reconnaissance during missions, well, then you know there are people behind those masks making these decisions based on what they need from each other. That adds a new dimension to this world we all love so much.”
In conclusion, marvel is an excellent way to get yourself in the mood for empathy and understanding. If you want to be an influential person who can see things from other people’s perspectives and understand their feelings, then watching Marvel movies might be just what you need. They will make you feel better about yourself as an individual and give insight into how others think and act around them. So go ahead: grab some popcorn, sit back, relax…and enjoy.