That great level playing field of dreams, where all that we see and all that we dream in our most intimate thoughts find a voice, a playing out. It is the last great bastion of magical idealism left open for the masses – books are too exclusivist, sadly, and television in this country, well, the less said about that the better.
Hollywood has been dream merchant at a noticeably greater scale than our Hindi film industry, if you set aside cultural preferences (you know, we have colours and a hundred different traditions, and song and dance at our weddings. And chiffon sarees.) And, of late, they’ve gone all out after discovering that big-budget superhero films – in which everyday people (like us) have extraordinary powers (that everyday people like us wish we had) and available beautiful women (that everyday people like us wish we had), make do without really working at a mundane job (that everyday people like us wish we could) battle villains who aren’t really menacing and have a long-drawn, almost bound to fail due to its sheer scale and idiocy, plan to conquer the world or thereabouts, which is usually some version of New York City.
See, that’s what I said earlier: their scale of being a dream merchant is greater! Being the master marketers they are, they’ve hit upon the perfect formula: take the quarter/half life crisis fantasy of the majority of the population, and show them the awesomeness they could have unleashed. Instant, seven-figure bling! Sadly, much like all other excesses of capitalism, the product of these efforts are quite poor. Paper thin plots, mostly repeated and rehashed by several other films, plastic acting, and the inevitable victory of the hero over a villain.
Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to malign the superhero film genre (it is one by now, no?), it is to celebrate it. More specifically, its thespians: adults who have worn tight suits, mouthed things that don’t really mean anything most of the time, and battled with more bad guys in a movie than they have met normal guys in their lives, but done so with a great deal of dedication, courage, and even a little panache.
It is the end of the year, and the season of lists (in addition to the season of celebrations, of course). A little over a couple of years ago, I made a list of the most beautiful women I’d encountered in cinema, this is a list of the most inspired casting in superhero films. All images, of course, are used only for representation with no commercial gains, and their rights belong to their respective owners.
In some specific order, then: