What is it that draws us to the idea of superheroes? Granted, we live in a world where true heroism exists in many ways like those clad in blue on the streets of our cities or in combat boots away far in foreign deserts. But we long to see the extraordinaire in cape, costume, and mask. Is it something that we don’t see in ourselves like Superman’s ability to leap a building in a single bound or Wolverine’s ability to heal from any wound? Or is there something that we see in ourselves reflecting in the heroes we adore? For a certain boy with autism, he may have found himself in none other than Drax the Destroyer.
Down to Earth
When Merry Weather Blue took her younger brother who is within the autism spectrum to see the massive superhero smash, they were treated to more than what they paid for. Sure, there is much to love about the film from the intergalactic action, to the sharp humor, and especially the gooey sentimental core, but what sprang forth for Blue and her brother was more personal and human. Just how everyone loves the scene where Rocket explains to Quill that Drax’s species are oblivious to metaphors, citing that they “go over his head,” her younger brother was much more than chuckled. Upon hearing this, the little brother exclaims, “He’s like me! I can’t do metaphors.” She remembers that he, “lit up like a Christmas tree,” and henceforth has quoted all of his lines. Though one may irk a bit as they recall Drax calling Gamora a “green whore” and inquiring about removing someone’s spine, there is some spectacular light to see from this.
After the movie, Blue’s joyous younger brother has since been studying his vocabulary words and telling everyone that, “people with autism can also be superheroes.” Blue has stated that though she knows it was not intended for Drax to be equipped with autistic traits, but she is genuinely grateful that a superhero that symbolizes strength and honor can be also be relatable to her kid brother; thus defining the purpose of the idea behind superheroes: to inspire.
The Hero in Us All
Drax is not alone in identifying with the fans however. Earlier this year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier graced cinemas far and wide and kicked off the summer movie season a month earlier this year and was only surpassed domestically than none other than the Guardians of the Galaxy (impressively in just one month’s time). I believe, and part of the reason why it’s one of my favorite comic book films, that much of the success is owed to relating the iconic superhero to a certain following: the military. With much thanks to the Russos and the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, they portrayed Steve Rogers as a voice of the troops. He was given true to life issues among the military such as adjusting to a civilian life, the burden of trusting authority, and dealing with loss. While Captain America is known for his larger than life heroics, it is his human side that we are drawn to, can relate to, and are inspired by.
As we tend to lose ourselves in the great Marvel versus DC debate, we often lose track on what’s important in the grand scheme of things. Whether you side with Thor or Superman, Captain America or Batman, in the end we are admiring certain aspects of ourselves and the dream that we can be better.