"Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man."

-Peter Parker

Batman, Superman, and Spider-man all have qualities that could make them ‘the best superhero,’ but it all comes down to the preference of the individual. The best superhero could be one who doesn’t need powers at all. He could even be someone who saves the day between classes. And to others, he could be the most powerful man in the universe. Each hero has to balance his life as a normal person along with his great responsibility to keep his community safe. The characteristics that are relevant in this debate are: ability to be easily relatable, powers, helpfulness in his city, and the degree of difficulty involved with defeating his enemies.

Spider-man is a favorite super-hero to many fans because he has super-human abilities that are original and exciting. His abilities though, do not take away from his being relatable to his audience. He has trivial teenage problems along with the truly tragic variety. In the movie, once Peter Parker obtains his powers, his first objective is to win money in a boxing competition so that he can buy a car to impress his crush (Raimi 2002). Now what comic-book reading teenage boy couldn't relate to wanting to impress the gorgeous girl next door? No matter what kind of evil-doers Spider-man defeats, he remains a somewhat nerdy young man.

According to marvel.com, Spider-man has the ability to climb walls and lift objects up to 10 tons. Marvel.com says, “… [Spider-man] is roughly 15 times more agile than a regular human.” He combines his web-slinging ability with his strength and agility to move from place to place quickly. One of his most interesting qualities though, is his spider-sense. Using this sixth sense he is able to evade harm more easily than the average human (Marvel 2oo7).In the movie, Peter finds himself with a magnified sense of awareness that allows him to defeat a bully (Raimi 2002).
As many super-villains as spider-man defeated in his career as a superhero, he never stopped taking care of the people of New York. He continued to capture common criminals that polluted the streets and, according to the movie, made the crime rate in Manhattan go down by a great degree. The people of New York showed Spider-man how much he appreciated him by throwing objects at the Green Goblin while the two were fighting (Raimi 2002).

Degree of difficulty, when applied comes to superheroes, can depend on many factors. For one, the various villains can be examined. Spider-man’s enemies are theatrical and improbable, but they possess depth, just as Spider-man himself does. Unlike the villains that Superman and Batman have to face, none of Spider-man’s enemies are totally evil. Marvel.com describes one of his most famous villains, Doc Oc, as a one brilliant and respected nuclear physicist. Other than being particularly ambitious, Otto Octavius was not a bad guy. A radiation accident turned him into the super villain he became (Marvel 2007). Most, if not all of Spider-man’s enemies originated in similar ways. Depending on who you ask, the fact that his enemies cannot be completely held accountable for their evil actions, makes them harder to defeat. In is obvious after viewing the movies that Spiderman’s weakness is his compassion, so fighting enemies who are multi-dimensional characters must be difficult for him. A part in Spider-man depicts Spider-man’s compassion as a weakness when he goes into a burning building to save who he thought was a screaming woman, only to find the Green Goblin there waiting to capture him (Raimi 2002). Of course we see that deed as heroic, but Spider-man’s enemies often use his humanity against him. There is a scene at the end of the movie where the Green Goblin (Osborne) asks Spider-man not to tell his son (Peter’s friend, Harry) about his evil identity. Peter feels for his enemy and keeps his promise to Osborne (Raimi 2002). People who want a hero who defeats evil without losing his ability to compassionate, even for the bad guy, may look for a hero like Spider-man.

Although Spider-man has many obvious characteristics in common with the average comic-book reader or movie-goer, Batman has many qualities that make him relatable to everyone. One of the reasons people love Batman is because he is mortal. And as much as can be said about all the human characteristics Spider-man has, a hero can’t get more human than Batman. Batman Begins focuses a lot on a less than super quality: fear. It is very easy to be sucked into Batman’s story because fear is universal. His villains are somewhat scarier in the movies because, despite all the theatrics, they possess qualities that real-life bad guys also have. In Batman Begins, his main enemy is Scarecrow, a psychiatrist who went insane. He uses a combination of drugs to induce fear in his victims (Nolan 2005). Whether these drugs are real or not is beside the point, they are more plausible than a green gas (the chemical that made Osborne into the Green Goblin) that has the ability to split a person’s personality (Raimi 2002). Scarecrow is scary because he is insane. And just as people fear insane serial killers like Manson and Bundy, it is reasonable to believe that they may fear an imaginary killer like Scarecrow. Villains like Scarecrow and the overall theme of fear in Batman media make Batman a frontrunner for best superhero based on ability to relate to audience and degree of difficulty.

Batman may be rich, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about the ‘little people’ of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne’s reason for becoming Batman was to save the city. His ability to help Gotham as both Batman and Bruce Wayne makes him best at helping his community. According to Jason Kirk, writer of Batman’s character overview on the unofficial DC universe website, “Bruce Wayne is the Batman, a man with a mission, not of vengeance but a long-term plan to rid Gotham from the evil that holds it. As a philanthropist he supports charities and bodies that seek to rehabilitate criminals while as the Batman he removes those that persist in offending. Those in the suburbs and country consider him an urban legend, yet the transient criminal population of Gotham and the country know him from rumor and experience." (Kirk)

As previously stated, Batman has no ‘super-human’ abilities. Dictionary.com lists, “ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something,” as the first definition for the word ‘powers.’ With all afore mentioned details about Batman, it is reasonable to say that Batman does have powers, albeit they aren’t of the fantasized variety (Dictionary.com).

Superman cannot be easily related to like Batman and Spider-man can. In some circles though, he possesses something greater. He gives an idealistic picture of what a superhero should be. In other words, what makes him likable is the fact that he is so fantastical. Superman (the movie) is entertaining because of the totally unreal things Superman can do. There is a scene near the end of the movie where he flew around the world in the opposite direction of the earth’s normal spin. This action managed to reverse time so that he could save Lois Lane (Donner 1978). As impossible and ridiculous as that task was, it was fun to watch. According to captain.custard.org, Superman possesses, “Vast super strength, speed and stamina,” and he is, “Almost invulnerable - he can easily withstand a nuclear explosion. Hyper senses allow him to see the entire electromagnetic spectrum and to see through solid objects.” He also has the ability to, “…fly by sheer effort of will and can project intense heat from his eyes.” (Captain Custard). No other superhero can do all the things Superman can; he is truly an ideal superhero.

Superman is a great help to his community in that he can prevent huge disasters with little effort. There is a scene Superman where he prevents a flood by dropping tons of rocks in the path of the raging water from a broken dam. He also picks up cars, planes, and buses in the movie (Donner 1978). He has the ability to save large quantities of people, while Batman and Spider-man can only save a few at a time. For the most part, Superman rarely has much trouble protecting metropolis from the shenanigans of Lex Luther, but to some that’s why he is such a great hero.

Batman is the most realistic and helpful hero, Spider-man is most easily relatable and compassionate, and Superman is the most powerful and entertaining. The three heroes are all equally super because they all possess the qualities that define a super-hero. One is no better than another one because they each have abilities and personality that make him perfect for defending his world.

References:

Batman Begins. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes. DVD. Warner Bros Pictures, 2005.

"Heroes and Villains." DC Comics. Warner Bros. 20 Apr. 2008 .

Kirk, Jason. "The Unofficial Batman Biography." The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe. 20 Apr. 2008 .

"Spider-Man." Marvel. 2007. Marvel Comics. 20 Apr. 2008 .

Spider-man. Dir. Sam Raimi. Perf. Toby McGuire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco. DVD. Columbia Pictures Corperation, 2002.

"Superman: Abilities and Equipment." Captain Custard. 20 Apr. 2008 .


Superman. Dir. Richard Donner. Perf. Christopher Reeves, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder. DVD. Alexander Salkind, 1978.














Posted by Ashby
Batman, Superman, and Spider-man all have qualities that could make them ‘the best superhero,’ but it all comes down to the preference of the individual. Some would argue that the best superhero is certainly one who doesn’t even need super powers to fight crime. Others would argue that and indestructible multi-powered alien has all the specifications that define the best superhero. To me, Spider-man possesses the right amount of superpower and weakness to make him a more relatable hero. This argument can’t be won or lost because it is all a matter of opinion. Three movies made from the comics of these characters exemplify their strengths and weaknesses. The first, Spider-man (2002), doesn’t stray far from the storyline in the original comic books. It shows that Spider-man has a little more depth of character than Batman and Superman. The second movie, Batman Begins (2005), shows how Batman could easily be seen as the best superhero. The darker undertones of the Batman comics and movies as well as the fact that he doesn’t have powers to depend on make him and especially great hero. Superman (1978) depicts the 'man of steel' as the most powerful and idealistic superhero. The movies obviously show the differences among the three superheroes, but they also show the strinking similarities. All three heros are, for the most part, orphans who, ridden with guilt and a sense of responsibility, want to make the world a better place.
Spider-man of course is my favorite super-hero he has super-human abilities that are original and exciting. His abilities though, do not take away from his being relatable to his audience. He has trivial teenage problems along with the truely tragic variety. In the movie, once Peter Parker obtains his powers, his first objective is to win money in a boxing competiton so that he can buy a car to impress his crush. Now what comic-book reading teenage boy couln't relate to wanting to impress the gorgeous girl next door? No matter what kind of evil-dooers Spider-man defeats, he remains a somewhat nerdy young man. For the length of the first movie, his amazing abilities do not change him as a person.

References:

Vas, Mark C. Behind the Mask of Spider-Man: the Secrets of the Movie. New York: The Ballantine Group, 2002.
Posted by Ashby
Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 9:49 PM | 0 comments  
Spiderman, Superman, and Batman each have qualities that could make him the bestsuperhero. Which one 'truly' is the best, cannot be stated because it is a matter of opinion. It is up to the individual to decide which hero possesses the traits that he or she associates with the 'best' superhero. If an individual thinks that a superhero is best if he must rely on his smarts and human ability alone that he or she would probably choose batman as the best. If the best super hero is someone who relies on super-human abilities to defeat evil and save the world, then the hero of choice of would be Superman. If one would rather have a hero with both human and super-human qualities then one would choose spiderman.

Batman is the smartest of the superheroes because he can't rely on powers to defeat his enemies, he must be a detective, a martial artist, and a scientist all at once. He doesn't have to rely on spidey-senses or superhuman strength to fight crime and save his city. Batman doesn't have any powers, this fact could greatly diminish his chances in the running for best superhero. Other than that, his dark past and exciting and suspensful fight against crime make him a great candidate.

Superman has both other heroes beat in the fact that he is more 'super' than the rest of them. He has a plethora of abilities to his advantage and very few weaknesses. According to wikipedia, "Superman's famous arsenal of powers has included flight, super-strength, invulnerability to non-magical attacks of ordinary force, super-speed, vision powers (including x-ray, heat, telescopic, infra-red, and microscopic vision), super-hearing, and super-breath, which enables him to freeze objects by blowing on them, as well as exert the propulsive force of high-speed winds..." If the definition of the best super hero is someone who has the most powers, Superman would definitely fit the bill. Superman gets a lot of hell from my side for being too powerful to make his story suspenseful, but a lot of the time, he goes against enemies that have found ways to take advantage his weaknesses. He does rely on his brains as well as his powers to defeat his enemies. He is a very well rounded superhero once all the facts are looked at properly.

Spiderman has a pretty fair mixture of human and super-human qualities that make him a good candidate for the best superhero. It is easy for audiences to look up to him as well as relate to him. In my opinion, the definition of the best super-hero is someone who has everything. His movies, comic books, and television shows show incredible fight scenes that show off his super abilities, as well as his depth as a character.
Posted by Ashby
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 8:22 PM | 2 comments  
Thesis: Spiderman has an even balance of human qualities as well as super-human qualities. This balance makes him a better superhero than batman and superman.

Reason 1. Spiderman was not born with his powers. He is first and foremost a regular guy, trying to deal with his new abilities as well as lead a normal life. This makes him easy to relate to.



Even in Stan Lee's very first sentence he states why Spiderman is such a great hero, and so worthy to be looked up to. Spiderman's ability to relate to an audience comes from the fact that he has problems, just like everyone else. Peter Parker's home life and personal problems make the comic books and movies more intriguing and interesting because audiences aren't just watching or reading fight scene after fight scene.

Reason 2. He actually has powers. Unlike Batman, he has elevated senses, the ability to climb walls like a spider, and the ability to spin strong webs. On the other hand, his weaknesses, like the fact that he can be killed, make his fight scenes more exciting.



Spiderman may not be able to 'fly' but he can get around just as fast and easily as if he could. He can stealthily climb up walls in order to sneak up on his enemies. If his only means of getting around were to either walk or fly, then he would be less able to defeat his enemies.

Reason 3. Spiderman is never more powerful than his enemies, but he always finds ways to outsmart them, this makes him more honorable that Superman because Superman uses brute force to defeat his enemies.



One of the reasons that Spiderman's enemies are harder to beat than other villains is because they are just as human as he is. He is able to see that, more often than not, his enemies are victims themselves and are therefor harder to fight. They play into the fact that he will feel sorry for them. His ability to be compassionate as well as see through their lies, makes him an excellent and well balanced superhero.
Posted by Ashby
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM | 2 comments  
Spiderman is a better superhero than superman and batman because of his even balance of human and superhuman abilities.

Batman has no powers, so it is hard to see how he can even be considered a superhero, and superman is so powerful and indestructible that he is not easy for people to relate to. Superman's powers take all the suspense out of his comics and movies.

Spiderman used to be a regular guy, this helps him be easy to relate to.

A spider bite turned him into a super hero, so his powers were not asked for. The reason spiderman's stories are so intriguing is that he must try to use his powers for good. There is a constant internal battle going on in spidermans mind on whether to keep living his life as normal or to use his powers to help people. "With great power comes great responsibility."
Posted by Ashby
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