Who among science fiction and fantasy fans doesn’t love a good fight scene? The epic battle of Good vs. Evil, whether it is against monsters or aliens, speaks to us on so many levels. Who hasn’t gasped as a costumed hero is dealt a potentially fatal blow or cheered when the good guy finally, after an epic battle, defeats the bad guy once and for all?
I grew up on heroes, and lived vicariously through them. I was amazed when The Dread Pirate Roberts dueled against Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, though we weren’t entirely sure then which of them was the hero and which was the villain. The scene combined spectacular fencing skills with humor and irreverence only Mel Brooks could produce.
When Leo and Trinity decided to go against the unbeatable agents to save Morpheus, I really didn’t understand what they were up against, until the scene in the bank that had security like an airport terminal. Guns, guns, more guns, and shooting the guards midway through a one-handed cartwheel. Cool.
I wanted to jump to my feet when Legolas used a shield as a skate board to fly down the stairs while shooting arrows, and Aragorn went over the cliff while fighting orcs in The Two Towers. No matter how many times we’ve seen those movies; my family still likes to jump to our favorite parts.
My whole family did jump to our feet and cheer when we watched the Avengers come together to take out the alien horde. (Luckily we were watching at home on our 3-D DVD player.) Then we laughed when The Hulk used Loki as a rag doll. A Norse god is just no match for a gamma-radiated human.
Why do these things excite us so? Is it because the characters we root for are doing things we could only dream about? Or do they inspire us, with their bravery and selflessness, to be better versions of ourselves, to stand up to the obstacles in our lives? I don’t think for most of us it’s because we want to go about our day in a cape and tights. Whatever the reason, we will continue cheering for our fictional heroes as long as writers and movie producers keep creating them.