He Got Game: Superhero Edition

Advice you never asked for from someone who probably shouldn’t be providing any…

Superheroes are all the rage in the summertime… maybe it’s the spandex…

Superhero movies are back in full force this summer. Two weeks ago, The Amazing Spider-Man swung into box offices, raking in over $200 million domestically and proving audiences don’t mind the super-fast series reboot.

While Spidey’s success is impressive, the year’s earlier superhero blockbuster, Marvel’s The Avengers made $200 million its first weekend, becoming the largest domestic opening weekend in history. The Avengers has gone on to make $613 million in North America, settling in as  the 3rd highest domestic box office draw in history.

But if you think we’ve already seen the year’s high water mark, hold on to your butts. We here at The PO Life fully expect The Avengers’ box office record to fall faster than the Spider-Man series was rebranded when the incredibly successful Batman trilogy concludes this weekend with the release of The Dark Knight Rises .

Christopher Nolan could afford to burn his money from The Dark Knight because he knew he’d make way more on The Dark Knight Rises.

To prep for the weekend’s wild ride, I’m here to tackle a topic of great dispute among comic book readers: What makes a superhero great?

Some may think the super powers alone are enough for a hero, but Batman proves that to be a myth. Others suggest the spandex suit makes them super, but we know they are just fooling themselves. Is it the sidekicks, the timely puns, the clever alliteration?

No*, no, and no.

*Does anyone actually think that Robin makes Batman cooler?

What makes a superhero great is his foil, the yin to his yang. The best thing about any superhero is his super villain. Batman is cool, but would he be half as cool if the Joker never existed? Superman would get super bored if he had to battle street thugs all day. Instead, he gets to earn his chops facing off against Lex Luthor. The X-Men get Magneto, The Fantastic Four get Dr. Doom, and Spiderman gets a whole slew of bad guys from The Green Goblin to Doc Oc to Venom and teenaged angst.

Be honest, which one of these is more badass?

So, without further ado, here are four tips to knocking off your nefarious nemesis*.

*I do kinda love alliteration.

1. Find Your “Don’t Cross the Streams” Moment: This moment pops up in nearly every superhero movie but it is best known in Ghostbusters. Early in the movie, Spengler tells Venkman to be careful not to cross the streams or they could encounter “total protonic reversal.” Lo and behold, when Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow man threatened to destroy New York, the only way to save them was to cross the streams. We’ve seen this phenomenon repeated time and time again. In Fantastic Four it was “don’t let the human torch get too hot.” In Iron Man it was “don’t fly too high in your suit.” In The Avengers we were told to “never, under any circumstances, make the Hulk angry.” So when you’re prepping to fight your foil, find your “don’t cross the streams” moment and you’ll have a trick up your spandex sleeve.

2. Keep Your Friends Close: No superhero does it alone. Some superheroes have their sidekicks like Super Girl or Robin. Some superheroes are part of super teams like the Fantastic Four or the X-Men. Superheroes even enlist the help of ordinary citizens like Commissioner Gordon or Jimmy Olson. Either way, when the going gets tough, it’s always good to have a friend to lean on.

3. Know Thine Enemy: Supervillians aren’t just bad, they’re badasses. Sometimes they are super strong like the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man or Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Sometimes they are super smart like Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom. Sometimes, they are super-emo like Loki in The Avengers or super indecisive like Two-Face in The Dark Knight. Sometimes, they are just bat-shit crazy like The Joker (also Dark Knight). These traits make them more devious than your typical bad-guys but they can also be the source of their greatest weakness. Lex Luthor may be smart, but that typically leads to some crazy overconfidence. The Joker is unpredictable but he’s also prone to doing some crazy shit that will ultimately backfire. Two-Face can be beaten with his coin and Venom doesn’t like loud noises. Once you know your foe you can take him down fo sho.

4. Get Him Monologuing: Even if you’ve followed all of these steps, odds are you’re going to be behind late in the game anyways. With about 30 minutes to go, he (or she) is going to have the city wired to explode, guns pointed at your head, and your girlfriend and/or sidekick strung up over a cliff with hungry sharks, jagged rocks, and Carley Rae Jepson music awaiting her at the bottom. In this moment, you’ll have a plan, but you’ll need the perfect time to strike. When all is lost and your back is against the wall, validate your vain and vanaloquent villain* and give him an opportunity to monologue. He will start small, telling you how great it is to defeat you, but soon he’ll slip into a full-on rant about how genius his evil plot is. While he’s spilling the beans, prepare yourself. If you’ve followed these steps then by the time he is done, you’ll be in the perfect position to spring your trap, nab the bad guy, save the city, and rescue the damsel in distress just in the nick of time.

*If there’s anything better than bad alliteration, it’s great alliteration!

Now go forth, eradicate evil, irritate injustice, crush criminals wherever they may congregate*. You are armed with the tools and the knowledge to vanquish villains as a vindictive vigilante**. Whenever you come across a super villain, be it on the street, at the movies, or in video game, you have the knowhow to teach him that crime doesn’t pay***!

*The PO Life does not actually support vigilante justice or encourage its readers to fight crime. You’re probably better off hanging out at home and reading our blog instead.

**Seriously kids, don’t try this at home…

***Unless you’re running a Mexican drug cartel, in that case, it pays very very well.

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