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Monday, March 26, 2007

I’ll have the Hero Sandwich – with a side of PAIN!

First let me say, I am in NO WAY sadistic. Seriously. Okay – sure – the caveat to that statement being, when the Leafs play... oh, I dunno, the Sens? Then yeah. Make with the hurtin’ bombs.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about heroes lately.
Comes from having to write about the dang things, I suppose...
And, I’ve come to the... er... interesting conclusion that, well, knights in shining armour aren’t heroes. At least, they’re not interesting heroes. Not to me. Nope. I’ll take the knight in the largely missing and/or seriously damaged armour. The missing helmet (and commensurate gash over the eye because of it), the battered breastplate (and broken rib or two), the busted side-buckles that let the enemy get a good solid slashing blow in to do some real damage... er, y’know.

I guess you could say that, really, I like my sandwich meat tenderized. Okay – see – now STOP THAT. Gad! – you people have naughty little minds!! I was just building on my title metaphor!!

Right. Moving on. My point – and I do have one – is this: why do we (it can’t be just me, right?), as readers, as audience, love to see our good guys get the crap kicked RIGHT out of them? Mentally and physically.

Superman is awesome when he’s invincible. Why is he somehow MORE awesome when he’s drowning in Lex Luthor’s pool? Or howling out his anguish at the death of Lois in the earthquake?

Consider Indiana Jones - and Marion’s reaction when she first sees him - all calm, cool and in control – “Come back tomorrow.”
Now consider Marion’s subsequent reaction to the sight of Indy’s extravagantly abused torso in the cabin of the Bantu Wind. Yeah.

Picture Aragorn pushing through those massive double doors, pretty much half-dead...
Picture Boromir impersonating a pin-cushion, pretty much all-dead...

Pierce Brosnan’s best Bond moments? – beaten and bearded and forsaken at the start of Die Another Day. Especially his scene with M in the hospital room. Pain inside and out. (And, yes, I will watch this movie again and again – RIGHT up until the moment Halle Berry appear on screen – eesh, talk about pain)...

Daniel Craig’s best Bond moments? – ... er, you know where I’m going with this one, right?...

Darcy Tucker. Okay okay. I know. He’s not exactly fictional. But – dang!...

One word - Rocky.

Two words – King Arthur. There’s pain for you. Pain, betrayal, loss, more pain. Lancelot? – who cares! Arthur? – Yeah, baby!...

Oh – and by the way. The above statement in NO WAY (in case I’ve yet to make this clear) refers to the Clive Owen version of King Arthur. ‘cause – meh. Perhaps this is because, out of all the manly men tromping about on the screen in that sorry flick, King Clive suffers – it seems to me – the least. In a King Arthur movie. WRONG. I’ll take Dagonet (with the physical pain and, er, noble sacrifice) and Trystan (with the quiet, but obvious, emotional wounds and, er, noble sacrifice) over Owen’s stoic, barely suffering cardboard hero any day. Which is not to say that ol’ Clive is necessarily to blame. Actually, I just blame CRAP directing for that debacle, mostly...

But speaking of Dagonet, he was, of course, played by yummy Ray Stevenson of ROME fame, which brings me neatly to...

Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus in the gladiatorial arena. I may have mentioned them in an earlier post. “Thirteen! Thirteen!!” Ow. Ow. Ow. Everybody sing along, now – Hurts so good...

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden is never more appealing than when he’s had the almighty stuffing hoofed out of him by a necromancer, a couple of loup-garou, a passel of soul-sucking black-court vampires and a pissed-off Lieutenant Murphy. Preferably all at the same time...

Dirk Pitt – don’t laugh. Back in the days of Vixen 03 and Treasure and Iceberg. Talk about crap-out-of kicked. Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain!... and yet, somehow, perseverance, throughout... Go Dirk!...

Wolverine. Oh my. Wolverine. Many-layered pain. Sure – most of the physical stuff he can get over in moments. But the other stuff? The invisible scars? Yeah – that’s what I’m talking about...

Han Solo – post-carbonite: “I’m all right, pal.” – no you’re not. And that’s the way we like it!...

And yet...

And yet... you can take this kind of thing SO very much too far. Well, for me, anyway. William Wallace? – good. Mel’s subsequent – er – bringin’ of the pain?... I dunno. Having to tell the make-up department that, for this scene, you want your actor wearing what looks like, essentially, a BACON SUIT? (*thanks, John, for that delightful piece of imagery* eew)... not so good.

Also, is it possible to say that the Jack Bauer Power Hours are getting just a leetle bit out of hand with the hurtin’ music?...

And most of all, I really can’t abide the latest Over. The. Top. torture trend in Horror movies. See, there’s pain and then there’s... just... ick. There ain’t no nobility in gratuitous buckets o’ blood and the egregious misuse of dental and/or industrial logging equipment. Just. Stop.

At any rate...

For me, what it really comes down to, I suppose, it that I hate to see a grown man cry. Except that, y’know, I love to see a grown man cry.

Well godammit, Indy where doesn’t it hurt?!”, indeed, Marion...

1 comment:

adrienne said...

Okay so I skipped the last bit cause I wasn't sure if you were giving away some spoilers with the Rome thing, but I have to say I know what you mean. The obvious answer is that we like to see them as human, as sensitive, as accessible. I personally really appreciate a hero with a sense of humour. But of course it is late at night and I have jet lag (I'm back by the way!), so obviously can't think of an example.

Possibly also those moments where our hero is vulnerable, he also seems to always be in a state of undress. This is a nice thing as well.

xox