Leave it to Tom Hiddleston to stand up for the integrity of the superhero genre.
"The Avengers" star wrote an editorial for The Guardian defending what has become one of the most popular types of movie in Hollywood. Hiddleston explained that, in his opinion, comic book movies are inventive and innovative, like the films the Lumière brothers made back at the turn of the 20th century, and should be treated as such.
"Big talk for someone in a silly superhero film, I hear you say. But superhero films offer a shared, faithless, modern mythology, through which these truths can be explored," Hiddleston wrote. "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."
He continued, "Superhero movies also represent the pinnacle of cinema as 'motion picture.' 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."
The full editorial is fascinating, and it seems a bit surprising that it has taken so long for an actor to come out and share these sentiments. As Hiddleston points out, many esteemed actors—from Christopher Reeve to Jack Nicholson to Ian McKellen—have starred in their share of superhero films, and yet it's taken until now for someone to really defend the genre as an art form. Thank you, Tom Hiddleston, for expressing how we always felt (albeit in much better words).
With this year's awesome line-up of superhero films, it's hard not to hope that some critics in BAFTA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences heed Hiddleston's words. Movies like "The Dark Knight" and (hopefully) "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises" aren't just summer blockbusters anymore. They pose questions about humanity and delve deep into the human psyche, as all good art should do. And what more can we really ask for from our movies?
Do you agree with Hiddleston's sentiments on superhero films? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!