Policy Forum 4 (September 2018)

Although Chinese and Americans have quite a different taste with regard to most aspects of their lifestyle, they – especially the younger generations - start to share a passion for Superhero movies. The main reason why superheroes attract crowds all over the world is beyond a shared taste for science fiction and explosive fireworks: with their superpowers the heroes protect good guys and punish bad ones. This archetype of a lone hero who serves justice is deeply embedded in American culture and apparently resonates with young people all over the world.

Art is born out of reality but, unfortunately, may be superior to reality. In real life, we lack the superpower to tackle our difficulties and problems although the obstacles and challenges we face might be as evil as in movies. When the last episode of the Dark Knight trilogy was playing in theaters, a mass shooting occurred right in the theater. It is a tragedy not only for the victims but also for society as a whole. When such a horrible killing happens right in front of Batman, it sends a message: there are no superheroes to save ourselves from misery, there is just us. And this creates this desperate wish for one from our midst to rise up to those challenges.

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