I saw the movie Colossal over the weekend, and highly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of kaiju cinema or superheroes, and maybe even just independent film, because it was great. The movie got me thinking of the tradition in some circles of the unlikely superhero, and although I won’t give many film details, since I don’t want to spoiler any of it, I think this film fits neatly into this tradition.
Marvel, in particular, has often put forward the idea of those that people would normally find unlikely being superheroes – teenagers, people with disabilities, or criminals, for example. In this film, we start out with a woman who’s been out of work for a while and is trying to use partying all night and sleeping all day to avoid dealing with her problems, so I found her a perfect candidate for the class of unlikely superhero.
There usually seems to be a turning point for all of these potential superheroes when they come into their power. Often, they mess around with them a bit, like Spiderman, using his new-found power as a way to get cash. After a while, however, the unlikely superhero is presented with a choice – do they use their powers in a way that serves only them and may (or does) allow others to be hurt or killed, or when they know better, do they do better? I guess in a way this is the ultimate question of whether the person is going to decide to be a hero or villain, which seems to come down to a question of character.
Also, once they’ve made their decision to step up to the heroic plate, there is often another turning point – what do they do when they’re fighting for the right things and get beaten? In the case of the unlikely superhero, being a superhero was most likely something they never anticipated or trained for. Do they turn away from the path they chose, or do they persevere? This usually gets to some of the most interesting parts of the story, and cuts to the heart of who the superhero is. Do they care enough to put everything on the line? Can they think of a way to get back up after they’ve been beaten down? I invite you to watch this movie, and to think about some of the questions above as you do, since they all come up during the course of it. Enjoy!