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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

We currently live in the Golden Age of superhero movies. It’s a line you’ve undoubtedly repeatedly, and it’s true. You need only look at the sheer number of superhero films coming out every year, and then look at how many of them are actually decent films, to realize how true of a statement that is. Clearly there is something that mainstream audiences relate to. Be it the stories that these movies tell, the characters they portray, or the messages they try and convey, there is something there that’s clicking with worldwide audiences.

Meanwhile, you look at a film like Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets — a movie that by all accounts is a decent film bogged down by subpar elements — that flops hard at the box office. It’s hard not to look at that and wonder where the disconnect is between the filmmakers and the audiences. But director Luc Besson is steadfast, and believes that the fact that

Valerian is NOT a superhero film is a strength.


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Speaking with Bleeding Cool, Besson said:

“What I like is Valerian is not a superhero at all. He doesn’t have superpowers. Sometimes he can be heroic. If he wants to save his girl he can take two swords and fight three hundred coulkan Batoire, but the rest of the time he’s a little pretentious, stupid, cracking bad jokes, a little too secure in himself, sure of himself, so he’s like us and I can identify with that. It’s very hard for me to identify with a superhero because he has a superpower, and I don’t have a superpower, all I can see is his power and say ‘oh, thank you so much for saving my life, me, poor little human being.’ I don’t like this relationship. I can’t identify with the guy, I’m not like him.”

I can see where he’s coming from with this statement, and I think it has some merit, but I do think he’s missing something here. The most interesting superheroes actually aren’t the ones that save “poor little human beings” like it’s nothing. The interesting ones are the superheroes with a laundry list of problems who, despite all these problems, manage to rise above it to accomplish great things. We like Bruce Wayne because he uses the Batman to cope with his loss. We like Tony Stark because, despite his inherent narcissism and douchebaggery, he’s a good human being who is trying to do the right thing.

But yes, as Besson pointed out, what makes any character worth looking at for two hours are their flaws. What makes them human? What makes them relatable? Why should audiences connect with them? Marvel Studios has done a great job of cracking that code, and DC is well on their way to doing so as well. To me, it sounds like Besson is someone who actually hasn’t watched a superhero film in recent memory, if that’s what he think of them.

What do you think? Do you agree with Besson, or do you think he’s missing something with that statement? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCE: Bleeding Cool

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer’s always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he’s always been something of a story junkie.