Do Action Heroes Carry Moral Responsibility?

person Jamesfolder_openAction Heroesaccess_time September 25, 2017
action heroes

Movies have an impact on our modern-day lives. Maybe as much as celebrity feuds or floods half-way around the world, meaning not a large one. Still, they do have some impact, especially on the kids that idolize movie starts and the characters they portray – the Iron Man, Spider Man, Batman, Wonder Woman and every other hero.  

The question is, what’s more important – the way the writer imagines the character or how it can it influence the world? So, do screenwriters and actors have any responsibilities outside of the big screen towards providing a good example for children who admire them?  

The set of rules


I am not exactly sure that Gregory House (House M.D.) would be liked by kids much. Drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, miserableness. Hey, as a character, he is multi-layered, dramatic and believable. 

So, on some level, when we creators portray super heroes only as ‘good guys’ aren’t we losing potential to give depth to the characters?  

On the other hand, an example is also important. When Ryan Reynolds and Tom Holland dress up as their characters and go to meet cancer-stricken kids, it spreads all over the news. I understand that Deadpool is not ‘nice’ in the same way as Superman or Spider Man is, but he is a hero who fights against Evil.   

Small Shift in Hero Movies


I will admit that there has been a shift in the movies. A necessary one. I believe it started with Batman Begins, a new, more dramatic type of a superhero movie that has influenced every movie of the genre since, maybe except the Guardians of the Galaxy.  

But the shift is about their personal downfalls that actually give room to show how much the superhero has overcome.  

What if screenwriters would make superheroes more like us – gambling, smoking, drinking? Imagine, just before Spider Man goes to save Mary-Jane, he is shown sitting by his computer, playing in one of the new online casinos in UK (because US does not allow playing slots online). Or Batman actually smoking a cigarette?  

These may not always be crucial details, but if it would make sense for a character, could these details be truly added? 

The reason why this so important is because today, even stand up comics get backlash for their jokes. George Carlin would roll in this grave if he saw what is going on. The whole job of the comedian is to provoke, emphasize small details that everyone thinks that may not even be true.  

Screenwriters and book writers are a different breed from stand up comedy. But, don’t we have the freedom to put our stories together as we see them in our heads?   


Examples are everywhere. They can motivate, like Elon Musk, or demotivate, like Donald Trump. For kids, superheroes and villains have done this for decades.  

However, how much responsibility does a writer carry?  

I would like to know what you think. Please, leave a comment below.

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