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The Avengers Star Tom Hiddleston Pens Defense of Superhero Films

Usually when Loki talks, you have to keep your guard up and parse out truth from lies. However, it should be noted that Tom Hiddleston isn’t actually the god of mischief. In fact, he’s an actor who wrote an article for The Guardian that not only recounted his personal history with comic book-based films and also explains just how good they can be.

The actor recalls as a kid mimicking Christopher Reeve as Superman when he would dive into the pool and dreamed of saving the girl and beating the bad guy. He also listed several big stars who have played comic heroes and villains, pointing out Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight as particularly inspiring. “His performance was dark, anarchic, dizzying, free, and totally, thrillingly, dangerous,” Hiddleston wrote.

“Superhero films offer a shared, faithless, modern mythology, through which these truths can be explored,” he said. “In our increasingly secular society, with so many disparate gods and different faiths, superhero films present a unique canvas upon which our shared hopes, dreams and apocalyptic nightmares can be projected and played out. Ancient societies had anthropomorphic gods: a huge pantheon expanding into centuries of dynastic drama; fathers and sons, martyred heroes, star-crossed lovers, the deaths of kings – stories that taught us of the danger of hubris and the primacy of humility. It’s the everyday stuff of every man’s life, and we love it. It sounds cliched, but superheroes can be lonely, vain, arrogant and proud. Often they overcome these human frailties for the greater good. The possibility of redemption is right around the corner, but we have to earn it.”

The actor continued, waxing poetic on Hulk and Batman before bestowing the virtues of the concepts brought to life on film. “Superhero movies also represent the pinnacle of cinema as ‘motion picture,” he wrote. “I’d like to think that the Lumière brothers would thrill at the cat-and-mouse chase through the netherworld streets of Gotham in The Dark Knight, with helicopters tripping on high-tensile wires and falling from the sky, and a huge Joker-driven triple-length truck upending 180 degrees like a Russian acrobat. I hope that they would cheer and delight at the rollercoaster ride through the skies of Manhattan at the end of Avengers Assemble. These scenes are the result of a creative engine set in motion when the Lumières shot L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat in 1895. The trains just move a lot faster these days. And not just trains; trucks, bikes, bat-mobiles and men in flying, shining iron suits. The spectacle is part of the fun – part of the art, part of our shared joy.”

Hiddleston, like Nick Fury, still believe in heroes and hopes audiences do too. Avengers — known as Avengers Assemble across the pond — stars Hiddleston as Loki, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film opens May 4 in North America.


  • David Marshall

    An actor defends a trend that employs him. How insightful.

  • Jtmaxwell

    Someone on the internet responds with snark. How surprising.

  • GIJohnson

    A clown does tricks for children. How delightful.

  • sephy

    A red shirt dies in Star Trek. How predictable.

  • Jsmith

    Eloquently said Mr. Hiddleston.

  • Customart081

    Shut up, dick.

  • xaos

     C-c-c-c-combo breaker! How cliche.

  • lead_sharp


  • lead_sharp

    Good article, When something big comes out of hollywood wearing a cape there’s usually one or two Ebert types who decide it’s going to be crap on a cracker purely because it’s from the “funny books”.

    Not only is that an insult to the medium and all who create in it but a slap in the face to the people who enjoy them and work in the films they give birth to.
    It’s nice to hear some one especially so eloquently defend the genre.  

  • sandwich eater

     The defense of comic book movies that I always offer is that the stories and mythology have been optimized over decades of comics.  A film can include the best elements from dozens of different interpretations of a character.  I’m always surprised when I don’t enjoy a superhero movie. I expect superhero movies to be good because so much of the storytelling work has already been accomplished in another visual medium.  I’d say that beginning with X-Men in 2000 we’ve had more good comic book movies then bad ones. (Of course I did enjoy some comic movies from before 2000 as well.)

  • Elias Algorithm

    Christopher Reeve. Not Reeves.

  • Deborah Dessaso749

    I guess you just can’t win with some folks.  On the one hand, actors are often accused of being pretty-faced idols with braces on their brains.  On the other hand, when we encounter a brainy actor (Hiddleston graduated with double honors in the Classics from Cambridge University), he’s greeted with snarky sarcasm.  While I don’t for a moment expect the snarkies to have brains enough to follow Tom’s academic example, they could at least read up on mythological history to see where he’s coming from.  As Judge Joe Brown always says, they just might learn something!

  • Orphan

    I would agree with you up to a point, but this is all too typical of The Guardian which I generally like,and its overanalytical approach to pop culture in an effort to somehow remain relevant to the “kids”.This is just a superhero movie and it’s out there for mass entertainment.Nothing more nothing less.I agree with David Maxwell here and jtmaxwell and his fawning 34 likes need to grow up

  • rey

    I think his words ring true, and the sentiment is beautiful. GO HIDDLESTON!