Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Delusions of Grandeur: Hollywood's Hand in Glorifying Violence

Okay, before I get completely jumped on for writing this post, I just want to preface it by saying: I do like the idea of superheroes. I like that many of them stand for characters in the myths that have trickled down through years and years of folklore; that many of their stories represent the hero's journey. What I don't like is how violent they've become in the movies. It's less about saving the people in trouble, and more about pursuing the bad guy(s).

Given the years of mass shootings that have gone on in the U.S., especially the most recent one by Elliott Rodger at UCSB, I wonder why more attention isn't being given to Hollywood and its responsibility in light of these issues.  According to The-Numbers.com Domestic Movie Theatrical Market Summary 1995 to 2014 , adventure and action films were the top grossing from 1995-2014, just behind comedy. Some of the top films by year were Batman Forever (1995), The Dark Knight (2008), Marvel's The Avengers (2012), and Iron Man 3 (2013). While I've seen and enjoyed certain parts of some of these movies, I can never leave the movie theatre without thinking, "Wow. Was all that fighting necessary?"

Simply put, Hollywood continues to glorify fighting and weaponry at a time when it (in my opinion) should be promoting peace, or at least responsible gun control (if the NRA and legislators have to have it their way). Our Army is even trying to move away from combat ops--so why can't Hollywood?

They especially glorify heroes as the people who defeat the bad guys. Good triumphing over evil seems to be the most dominant theme, as it has been throughout the ages. Lots of guns, robotic, and sometimes even supernatural (The Avengers) weaponry are used in these films. Unfortunately, for those who are unable to separate fact from fiction; truth from reality, and may have a sense of entitlement (such as Elliott Rodger), the bad guys can be subjective. I'm not blaming the theme, but the actions in the films that come with it. If we're going to have guns available for people to use freely (again, thanks NRA), why can't Hollywood at least stop making films where people are being shot en masse?

I mean, it personally amazes me the amount of people who die in these films without a second thought--if they're shot by the good guy, we care even less about them. Well, there he goes. There she goes. But, who cares? Who is even thinking about these nameless people in these films who get shot in scene one? The problem is, in real life, the people who get shot have names. They have husbands and wives and children and mothers and fathers and friends and people who love them.

I don't blame Hollywood as being the number one source that is perpetuating mass shootings, of course. All I'm saying that is that if guns are out there and still legal, they have a responsibility not to glorify them, and not to glorify killing. That is all.

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