Comprasion of Superhero Themes in The Superman and Captain America: Civil War

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A traditional Superhero is one who fights for justice, makes wise decisions and fights against evil plus saving people who are in the way of destruction. Although in captain America: civil war the traditional superhero doesn’t exactly exist and has challenged the above definition. Since 1980s Superhero films have evolved starting with Superman to Iron Man to now Captain America: Civil War, this is due to cinematic aspects and time related themes.

Superman is a clear example of a traditional superhero, in the Superman film we see him reversing the word to save miss Lane, yet he is saving the world from destruction and deaths.

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Iron Man has similarities to the Superman film as Iron Man saves the pilot from dying, and the deaths are only caused due to the war, however in Captain America: Civil War the first scene consists of the superheroes fighting a villain but end up destroying an apartment building killing and injuring many people. Even though Superman is the ideal superhero, we don’t seem him having imperfections. Although in Civil War there is another side shown to the superheroes, one that proves superheroes are not perfect and they make mistakes too. There is a shift in how superheroes are filmed looking at Superman compared to the new Captain America: Civil war. During the 1980s (before the digital age) Superman was filmed without the knowledge of CGI (computer generated images, ) therefore they had to carefully plan how to construct a set and they had to think carefully how to film the special effects that let the audience believe these effects.

In captain America: Civil War, the techniques used consisted of a techno crane, steadicam, dollies and a drone was used for the airport scene (Seymour, 2016) -high advanced technology was used to film Civil War. Each scene was carefully planned and most of the film is based off technology rather then full on acting. Most superhero films carry the theme of: justice for people, saving the day and the battle between good and evil, Superman is a clear example of these superhero themes. In Civil War, these themes don’t apply, the main theme is “exercising power has a cost” (ottensam, 2016).

There is a clarity in this film that shows the audience that having enhanced power has its flaws. For example in Civil War the first scene, the advengers are in Nigeria Lagos, they are trying to stop the villain but end up destroying property and injuring many people, therefore saving the day ended up having a toll on the community. The Superman film had comic elements but when he was saving the day, the movie shifts to a more serious tone. Whereas in captain America: Civil War there is a heaviness to the film due to the fighting of heroes who are practically ‘family’ but there is a trademark of humour in the fighting scenes which shows they still have love for each other as they do carry a strong friendship. (Alexander, 2016.) In civil war there is a presented villain but the focus is rather on iron man and captain America and their battle for freedom vs government control and having a restriction on their actions. The directors of civil war told the costume designer they wanted a more realistic-based costumes (cinemovie, 2016.)

However in Superman, his costume is very brightly coloured this is used for when he flies around so that people know it’s Superman whereas the superheroes in Civil War blend in more with their surroundings. Superhero costumes have evolved since the 1980s, Superman being the first superhero to exhibit a colourful suit that shows off his muscles and Superman emblem. In Iron Man there is a different approach to superhero powers and suits used, for example Iron Man is an enhanced human but his suit is the one that holds all Starks powers. Now in Civil War, each superhero displays a significant suit of their own that shows off assets of their powers.

The classic superhero has been challenged, by new media that shows superheroes in a different light. Superheroes have evolved enormously over the years, such as Superman was seen in such a good light that society was in his favour. However in Civil War those superheroes are faced with a darker light that means the society they live in is against them and would prefer if they had control by government influence. Civil War is one of the most expensive films made (Maurer, 2015) due to the high advanced technology and the different cameras they had to use. Civil War uses themes never explored before in superhero films. Captain America: Civil War is a new take on superhero films and it fits into the society we live in today.

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