Batman

Justice League and the Nature of Hope

justice

Or can you?

The following contains spoilers about the movie, Justice League.

It took me a while to figure out how I felt about the new Justice League movie. Walking out of the theater, I felt pretty neutral. I didn’t love the movie, but it was ok.  It was certainly miles better than the dumpster fire that was Batman vs. Superman, but that’s a pretty low bar to clear. It had a good deal of humor, and I’ll happily pay to see Ezra Millar as The Flash.  The plot was fine- nothing that exciting or interesting, but not terrible. The villain was boring and forgettable, and while an interesting bad guy is often what makes me love a particular story, I’ll admit that there have been some highly enjoyable superhero movies where the villain was the weakest part. (I’m looking at you, Iron Man and Obidiah Stain.)  

(more…)

Heroes on the Couch: Mental Illness Stigma and Awareness in Superheroes and Villains

SuperheroTherapyFor some time, we have been given villains whose actions need no explanation– they’re just “crazy.” The aftermath of the Vegas shooting reminds us how strong the stigma against mental illness still is in this country, and how much it is misunderstood. This week, Jacob and Matthew explore the issue of mental illness in superhero stories, examining the long history of problematic portrayals, and how more recent stories have strived to be more accurate.

You can download the episode with a right click and clicking “save link as” or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Agree or disagree with what we talked about, or want to add your own thoughts? Let us know! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, or email us at superheroethics@gmail.com

 

Daredevil, Captain Mal, & Charlottesville

Mal NaziWould Daredevil share information about Nazis? Would Superman or Captain Mal? How would our heroes react to Charlottesville and what can that teach us? What questions would they ask, and which should we?

Starting this week, recent guest Jacob Milicic joins us as co-host! Be sure to welcome him to the conversation.

 

You can download the episode with a right click, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Which heroes do you think would get on board with sharing information on those who go to Nazi marches, and who would object? Agree or disagree with what we talked about, or want to add your own thoughts? Let us know! You can find us on TwitterFacebook, or email us at superheroethics@gmail.com

Be like Cap’ – The Ethics of Nazi Punching

cap-punches-hitler

 

Captain America punched a lot of nazis – does that mean we should too? We are pretty pro nazi punching, but we want to explore the questions around it.  On this episode, we tie it into larger questions of vigilantism, a constant theme in superhero stories.

Is it always ok to punch a nazi? What is it about this current moment that makes it more or less ok than it might be?  We discuss these questions and more, using examples from Batman, V for Vendetta, Star Wars, 300 and the White Wolf RPGs and more. 

 

You can download the episode with a right click, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

What do you think? Is it ok to punch a Nazi? Is it wrong? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Continue the conversation with us on Twitter or Facebook!

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Stop Being Gordon and start being Batman

gordon-and-batmanI have a long history of mixed feelings about vigilante superheroes. I cheer for Batman, and I loved watching Dexter, but for a long time i was troubled by the idea of someone, anyone, deciding that they knew better than everyone else what was right and true and good, and could therefore break the law in order to serve their idea of justice. It wasn’t the breaking the law part that bothered me- I think civil disobedience is one of the most important parts of democracy. My concern was with the idea that one person could decide that they knew best, and therefore had the moral right to go above and beyond the system. I believed that, flawed as it might be, a functioning democratic system of justice was always better than one individual.

(more…)

Why So Serious? Paul & Matthew talk The Joker

 

joker

Are we all just one bad day from where the Joker is? What makes the Clown Prince of Crime such a great villain, and who played him best? Paul and Matthew dive into these questions on this week’s podcast.

 

You can download the episode with a right click, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Who was your favorite Joker? Continue the conversation with us on Twitter or Facebook!

 

What else could they do?

superman-trainThis week, Paul and I go deep on a listener question and ask if there are other, or even better, ways that superheroes could use their powers besides fighting crime. Could Superman solve the energy crisis or climate change?  Is stocking the Bat Cave the best way for Wayne to use his fortune to improve Gotham? And with so many superheroes so dedicate to fighting crime in each of their own particular cities– who is looking out for the suburbs?  Tune in for these issues, and more!

 

You can download the episode with a right click, or subscribe to by searching for Superhero Ethics Podcast on Itunes.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS AS WE START AGENTS OF SHIELD, SEASON 4

agents_of_shield_fallen_agentI’ve had an up and down relationship with Agents of SHIELD over its last 3 seasons. The show has had its rocky moments, especially in the first half of the first season (though it gets a lot better in re-watch when you know Agent Ward’s trajectory), and there have been times when the Russian doll nature of Hydra always having a deeper mission has been frustrating. But overall it has become one of my favorite superhero shows, and one that has provided a lot for this blog to chew on. As I get ready for the premiere of season 4 this week, I wanted to go over some of the ethical questions the show has raised and the ones I’m hoping to see further explored in the coming season.*

  • What is the role of government oversight in a world where people have superpowers?

(more…)

Podcast Episode- What Makes a Good Villain

maxresdefaultThis is the first of two new podcast episodes that have gone up in the last weeks. You can find them below, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes. Give them a listen, and please leave a comment to let us know what you think, give any response or suggest ideas for future episodes.

In episode 3, Suicidal Villans, it’s just your loyal host, Matthew, going deep on Suicide Squad and the good guy/bad guy trope. Spoilers for Suicide Squad, Batman, and lots of other things.