Understanding The Heroic Spectrum Essay

2017 words - 8 pages

Perceptions of the superhero and supervillain are mainly based on subjective definitions of each concept. These observations often lead to a definitive dichotomy that precisely splits characters into two impermeable divisions. However, this stringent separation is unable to account for the characters that are not at the extreme ends of their respective side. Neither is this rift capable of classifying characters that flirt with both sides of the superhero-supervillain dichotomy. Therefore it is imperative to analyze the established criteria for both superhero and supervillain to derive a more adequate explanation. Most superheroes are not easily characterized, but rather fall somewhere between Superman, the bastion of moral purity, and Doctor Doom, the display of indubitable corruption. This solicits genesis of an entirely new notion about the differences between superheroes and supervillains. A more precise idea is that superheroes and supervillains are lined on a spectrum that spans from pure good to pure evil. Disparities between superheroes and supervillains are not black and white, but rather these characters are on a spectrum that radically changes based on individual cases.
Captain Hammer and Doctor Horrible from Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog are intriguing cases because of their inherent qualities. The character of Captain Hammer is quite easily identifiable as the superhero of the story. He is shown saving people by stopping Doctor Horrible from stealing a van that contained a special power core (Whedon). Through physical characteristics such as his costume and his strong physique, Captain Hammer matches the physical criteria of the role superhero. Also, through his reputation and influence, Captain Hammer repurposes an old dilapidated building as the shelter for the homeless (Whedon). Hammer shows heroism and generosity in using his considerable clout as a means to help the homeless. This corroborates his claim to the title of hero and leads to the assumption that he is a pure and good-hearted superhero.
Due to archetypal ideas about the characteristics of a supervillain, it is plausible to claim that Doctor Horrible is the supervillain in the film. One of the most prominent examples of Doctor Horrible living up to the archetype is his plot to steal the Wonderflonium. To develop his freeze ray, Doctor Horrible concocts a devious plan to steal a van containing Wonderflonium (Whedon). In this instance, Doctor Horrible shows the determination and fearless vision of a supervillain who wants to reach high places. Furthermore, Doctor Horrible validates himself as a supervillain by attempting to destroy Captain Hammer. To gain revenge for losing Penny and to accomplish the task of killing someone, Doctor Horrible constructs a death ray powerful enough to kill Captain Hammer (Whedon). In doing so, Doctor Horrible demonstrates the ruthless qualities essential to the concept of a supervillain.
However, Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog...

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