Monday, May 13, 2013

In Defense of Superheroes

Now, before you read any further, there are a few things you should know.

First, I often refer to myself as a superhero. It's even up there ^^^ on my header. I'm not actually a superhero, of course, because superheroes aren't real, but I take issue with anyone who wants to challenge me on the subject, and have done so before. I've been through a lot, I've done a few things that firmly seat me in superhero categories and I pulled off a kickass Wonder Woman costume for Halloween last year. If you're going to have a problem with any of that, go ahead and stop reading right now. Don't make me deflect stupid with my bracelets.

I happen to think I make this work.
Second, I'm a dork. Full blown geek. I read comic books, I go see the movies on opening weekend. I watch trailers online the day they are released. I've had passionate arguments with my family and friends about whether Batman is a superhero or not. I can tell you the differences between DC and Marvel. I'm going to Comic Con at the end of the month, and yes...I'm wearing the costume. I'm completely geeking out over the chance to meet Stan Lee and George Takei. If you don't know who they are, please google it. For the love of god. If you are intent on making fun of me for any of that, go ahead and stop reading now.

Third, I'm writing about the Iron Man 3 movie in this post, so if you really want to see it and don't want anything spoiled, stop reading now. I'm not really discussing the main plot anyway, but I'll leave it to your discretion. If you read this, and I ruin something for you, don't say I didn't warn you.


Now that we have all that nonsense out of the way....

I saw Iron Man 3 the weekend it came out. Of course. I happen to love superhero movies in general, but if you put RDJ in one of them, you know that I'll be there.

Good lord that man is aging well. 

Anyway, I'm a fan of the franchise in general, though I didn't love the second movie and can't stand Gwenyth.  I'm there for RDJ though, I mean...come on, let's be honest about that.

I didn't really know what this movie was about, mostly because the trailers are really good at showcasing the action in these movies, but tend to leave out any details about the actual plot.

Spoiler Alert

In this one, Tony Stark fights some demons, and not the kind that descend from other planets with armed droids or the kind that invade other countries or any of that. I mean, he fights his fair share of bad guys, don't get me wrong...but that's not what I'm talking about here.

He is fighting the demons inside his own head.

Between the second and the third movies, he developed an anxiety disorder. As a very intense type A personality, a highly intelligent control freak, this didn't sit well with him. He lived in denial of it for a good long time, until the panic attacks got so bad that they were interfering with daily living and endangering his life when the bad guys showed up.

What the what???

A superhero who has anxiety attacks???

Maybe I really am a superhero after all.

That whole italicized description of Iron Man above could be one of me...well, up until the fighting bad guys part. My enemies aren't all-powerful radioactive injected re-generators, but they're just as bad at times. Trust me on this.

I have always been an intense person, a control freak if you will. Then life decided to start playing tricks on me, and when everything spirals rapidly out of control...people like me tend to do okay for a while, then hit the wall. I've had at least three panic attacks in the last year. The kind where you go from being okay, thinking you're managing everything just fine one second, to completely believing that you're going to have a heart attack and drop dead the next. Your heart starts racing, the walls start closing in, you start sweating, you literally cannot do anything to stop it once it starts.

It's not fun.

Seeing it play out on a screen was a bit of a reality check for me. I've lived it, but I haven't seen it.

A few days before I saw the movie, I finally sucked it up and told my doctor. He wrote me a prescription for anxiety meds after he made me promise that I would call him if they didn't help. I did. I will. As much as I want to believe that I can always handle everything life throws at me, I know otherwise now. Sometimes you need help. Sometimes you need to call an audible. Sometimes you need medication.

Even if you're Iron Man.

At the end of the movie, after he'd defeated all the bad guys of course, he had the power generator in his chest removed, stripping him of his superpowers.  Technically, he's just a smart rich guy with a ton of fancy toys now (like Batman heh heh). Technically, you could make the argument that he's not a superhero anymore. They ended the movie with a false finish, claiming the story had closed, that he was putting himself out to pasture to live out the rest of his life uneventfully away from the messy business of saving the world.

Real Marvel fans know you have to stay until the end of the credits to see the whole movie though. It's simply not true.

We all know he'll be back. We all know he'll still be a superhero, even if he's not one by everyone's definition anymore. And we all know he'll still be awesome, even if he's a little more human now, a little more flawed, even if he displays a little more weakness.

Maybe, just maybe, superheroes are real...and maybe, just maybe, there doesn't have to be anything super about anyone to make them a hero.

My family of very un-super superheroes.


  1. Brilliant deductions. I like my super heroes to be a little more human, I can relate better.

    We all know Moms are the true super heroes, and we all know writers have the most pain, crazy, and hurt in their lives. So Moms who write are like, super-duper extra heroes. ;)

    -The Insomniacs Dream

  2. I abdsolutely love this post. AWESOME. (ANd what Starr said above!!)

  3. I love this post--not just because it has the gorgeous RDJ in it (you are so right--he never ages--must be sleeping in Tupperware or something to preserve those good looks)but because it shows the human side to our super heroes. I've never had a panic attack, but my husband had them frequently before he finally went on meds for them. My youngest daughter has them too---I was with her the first time and was quite shocked--never seen one before and I have to admit--it was frightening. And I agree whole heartedly--you are a super hero--a champion of so many worthy causes. In my eyes, that makes you a special person....yup---a super hero mom!

  4. Love it! Anxiety attacks are not fun. Mine are more in my head than in the chest. First, the hamster in the wheel lodged in my head grows jet packed feet and begins to run. Then the room spins like I just stepped off a playground merry-go-round.

    I believe we who deal with anxiety have our own super power. WonderTwin powers activate...


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