Imagine, if you will, the many different types of men who have populated this study lined up in a military roll-call. Walking past the rank and file, we first notice those in nonattendance. Few and far between, for example, are the “good” men that the Marine Corps is apparently also looking for—truly and unswervingly decent, principled, moral men. Cops have moved into the ethical neighborhood of criminals. Fathers need a global crisis to take care of—or even notice—their offspring. Cowboys no longer live in a mythical past in which violence served the pursuit of truth, justice, and Manifest Destiny. The masculinity of superheroes, spies, and rogues is not unequivocal but multifaceted. They confront us with a confusing array of split personalities (Neo and Mr. Anderson, Spider-Man and Peter Parker, ores and elves), doubles (Boromir and Aragorn, Gollum and Frodo), masks (worn by superheroes, spies, and rogues), and performances (enacted by rogues and lovers). The reassuring simplicity of male perfection, if indeed it still exists, has moved from spirit to body; it is now quite normal to see ethically stunted men perform physically dazzling feats. Even as viewers struggle to make sense of these characters’ inner workings, they are entertained by watching them jump from cranes (Bond in Casino Royale), emerge from the belly of an alien with three hand grenade pins but no grenades (Ray in War of the Worlds), or dispatch orcs, gladiators, gangsters, Mobsters, enemy soldiers, suit-and-tie-clad computer programs, and countless other bad guys.
KeywordsVideo Game Story Line Marine Corps Hollywood Movie Foundational Myth
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