Monday, May 26, 2014

The Power To Act & React

Most writers for superhero movies would try to fashion out their characters based on real world behavior. Of course we do realise that the special abilities of those characters are fiction—they can fly, can run extremely fast, may have the strength of 100 people combined, and so on and so forth. But although they have all those abilities, their behavior—how they interact with other humans around them—is always intended to reflect that of an ordinary person in the street.

We see, for example, Superman, who is much stronger than any man (after all, he is an alien) would try his best to avoid a fight. He tries very hard to keep his special abilities a secret; he would rather walk away from the big bully rather than engage in a fist fight. He would, however, use his powers to save innocent people. Generally speaking, we see this same trait in most of the other super hero characters—they would exercise amazing self-restrain from using their powers for as much as, and as long as, they can. What's even more amazing is that they will even avoid circumstances that could potentially give rise to the need for them to use their power if they can help it.

Except that that doesn't really reflect human nature. The reality is that in most cases the behavior of an ordinary man depends very much on whether or not he has special abilities. Imagine that a man is weak and has no power to defend himself against crooks. The behavior that can be expected of him is that he would most probably avoid walking in a dark alley alone. He'd mind his own business and try his best to have nothing to do with bad guys. If possible, he'd probably make a detour if he sees a gangster 100m away in his path. He will avoid even the slightest potential of trouble!

But how do you think that same man would behave if he has special abilities. Let's just say he is a policeman and carries a handgun, and an expert in martial arts. Would you think it is natural for a person fitting that description to avoid the dark alley, or change his direction when seeing suspicious characters in his path? 

Perhaps the writers of superhero movies would answer the above question in the affirmative. That is why, I've always felt that superhero movies can never be realistic from the psychological point of view.

Now check out this news article of a recent robbery case in KK, which was posted in our Kota Kinabalu Running Club's page. I am a co-Admin of the club.

Based on this article, what advice would you give to the members of the club? Well, in not so many words, I told them to avoid running alone—try to run with friends if they can. Avoid the secluded areas, and don't bring a lot of cash or wear valuable items such as Rolex watches. 

But apparently this advice is only suitable for nerds like me. It does not accord well to those having "the abilities" to overpower the bad guys! Some of them who are within this latter group responded that we should run with weapons such as a parang. I suppose they can then use the weapon to defend themselves or even counter-attack the bad guys if that becomes necessary. In fact, I dare say some of them may even be hoping for that to happen!

Writers of superhero movies have always got it wrong. But I guess if they wrote their stories based on reality, not very many people would enjoy watching the movies.

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