Tom Hiddleston Publishes a Passionate Defense of Superhero Movies

April 20, 2012
Source: The Guardian

Tom Hiddleston

In only two years he's become one of my favorite actors, for his versatility, his talent, his humbleness, and for being a down to earth person on top of an incredible actor. He is Tom Hiddleston, better known as Loki from the Marvel Studios world, or Captain Nicholls in War Horse, or F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris. He kicks some serious ass in The Avengers, taking on that entire team of heroes as their primary foe. But are superhero movies boring? Are they to be made fun of? Not at all! In fact, Hiddleston himself went so far as to write an editorial for The Guardian (via THR) eloquently defending superhero movies.

I almost always love when an actor or filmmaker writes their own editorial about a topic they're passionate about, it truly shows how dedicated they are, and gives us a glimpse at their honest, personal side, which is rare in Hollywood. This article by Hiddleston is just an extra cherry on top of all the love I have for him already. He reveals: "I grew up watching Superman. As a child, when I first learned to dive into a swimming pool, I wasn't diving, I was flying, like Superman. I used to dream of rescuing a girl I had a crush on (my Lois Lane) from a playground bully (General Zod). Reeve, to my mind, was the first real superhero."

He recalls a story about how Christopher Reeve was first mocked for taking the Superman role. But we've come so far since then, that we should look back on that with shame. It's a fantastic read, one of the best statements supporting these spectacular superhero movies that I've come to love, and I strongly encourage everyone read his piece. Here's one of my favorite excerpts from it about how these characters mirror us:

"The Hulk is the perfect metaphor for our fear of anger; its destructive consequences, its consuming fire. There's not a soul on this earth who hasn't wanted to 'Hulk smash' something in their lives. And when the heat of rage cools, all that we are left with is shame and regret. Bruce Banner, the Hulk's humble alter ego, is as appalled by his anger as we are. That other superhero Bruce – Wayne – is the superhero-Hamlet: a brooding soul, misunderstood, alone, for ever condemned to avenge the unjust murder of his parents. Captain America is a poster boy for martial heroism in military combat: the natural leader, the war hero. Spider-Man is the eternal adolescent – Peter Parker's arachnid counterpart is an embodiment of his best-kept secret – his independent thought and power."

He's getting to the idea behind why we love comic books and superheroes to begin with, on or off screen. But he also nails another aspect of these comic book blockbusters that I, in particular, love: "Superhero movies also represent the pinnacle of cinema as 'motion picture'," he explains. "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." Indeed. Thanks for writing one of the best statements I've read in support of superhero movies, Mr. Hiddleston. I'm not only a bigger fan, but a staunch supporter, and can't wait to see Avengers (again) to watch Loki take on all of ’em.

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Whoa Alex, Tom was one of my fav actors always then i read this ..he deserves a great place of honor among those actors who defend and loves the comics as any regular fan .. and he si soo talented i totally love his loki`s character...

Sakyo on Apr 20, 2012


I've Hulked smashed...multiple times. Okay no times. 🙁 Its on my bucket list!

Xerxexx on Apr 20, 2012


"Thor" it's a beautiful movie, well directed, well acted. This guy has my respect for his version of Loki and his words about super heroes movies. It's a legitimate movie genre.

Manuel on Apr 20, 2012


I take my hat off to you, sir.

Isildur_of_Numenor on Apr 20, 2012


Tom Hiddleston was great as Loki, so was excited to see him return as the villain in Avengers.  

hawk99 on Apr 20, 2012


It just sounds like he's justifying his job. They make a lot of money, they are not high art and they don't need to be. American comics haven't changed and I don't think they ever will, they invented the reboot. I'm not sad about it. Thor was good enough, I'm sure Revengers will be awesome toes too.

Crapola on Apr 20, 2012


Yea yea, come on... How are you SO quick to just write off someone's eloquent article they wrote supporting their craft and their love for it, just because it's his job? How often do you see other actors coming out and saying this, and telling stories like this, and speaking so intelligently? Do you REALLY think he's justifying his job? No way, come on. I think you're just jealous, or you like him, either way, you can't just write this off.

Alex Billington on Apr 20, 2012


Alex, it's the internet, I just make stuff up. Isn't what he said about the Hulk, the whole point of what the Hulk has been since day one? I think if you read comics surely none of what he's said is something you don't already know? Actors often say they like comics, until the questioning becomes specific and they fold. I love comics Alex, I even like comic movies, but Marvel comics don't need to be compared to Hamlet. They are junk food. If you read some of the comments below the article, which being in the Guardian, are a lot better written than what I said. Quite a few people did point out he was justifying the salary, everyone has to pay the mortgage. He probably made more money on the film than Kirby did all the time he was at Marvel. I won't go on, I could ramble on for days about it. I love you man, your passionate and you care about movies, that's why I tune in, but I never buy into good guys bad guys rubbish. My friends have been the 'good guys' and they've shot children at point blank range.

Crapola on Apr 20, 2012


wat you said makes no sense what does your friends have anything to do with this article i could care less, honestly.

Lizzyfigueroa47 on Apr 20, 2012


The popular entertainment of yesteryear is considered "classic" now. Shakespeare wrote for the popular crowd – his work embraced the lowbrow. Dickens and Austen were both considered shallow "popular" writers and shunned throughout their lifetime in literary circles. Just something to remember when you toss superhero stories under the bus for being "junk food". 

equustel on Apr 23, 2012


The Avengers is the ultimate popcorn flick. i agree with some of what @0b4f1da6f0d30ffc9bcafbcca817cbb5:disqus said, in that many of the superhero films have turned out to be cardboard burgers, with no aspirations whatsoever to high art. but we do occasionally expect a burger and get a cut of steak. and i think some of these films *are* aiming higher (Nolan / Ledger, Branagh / Hiddlestone as examples). there's nothing wrong with popular. the stories and especially the character arcs being told in these fims aren't new. but there's nothing wrong with and old story if its well told. i'll be making my mind up in the cinema.

son_et_lumiere on Apr 23, 2012


the fact mr crapola is that you that you can't spell avengers correct makes me feel that i can't take you seriously. He's not justifying his work he loves his work not just in it for the money like many celebs are these days he puts heart into it, anyone could agree he was amazing as loki, he put heart into it, also what he's talking about goes way deeper you forget you he is a very smart person and connecting the comics in a deeper sense like he said HULK is a metaphor and how peter parker symbolizes the eternal aspect of ourselves and also our secrets someone like you would not be able to understand. You a load of CRAP Damn proud of TOM!

Lizzyfigueroa47 on Apr 20, 2012


Revengers sounds better than Avengers.

Crapola on Apr 20, 2012


 OK guys, he's either hardcore trolling or he's just dumb. Either way, not worth any time arguing with haha

prantsdagger on Apr 20, 2012


Revengers assemballllllllllllllllllll!!!

Crapola on Apr 20, 2012


No need for aggresion, those thinkin crapola is trollin are wrong, in fact u guys r trollin urselves, and although i dont agree completely, i do see his perspective towards that idea of writing to justify his salary, yet i do agree with alex more, because it is rare to find actors that share with everyone how passionate they feel for their work, and how they feel about it, and being humble most of all. Im looking forward to read the whole article. 🙂 and crapola, i respect ur opinion, and understand it, but i dont agree.

AwesoMan on Apr 21, 2012


seconded. i can be pretty cynical, and the marketing imperatives of major films are not lost on me, but i do respect Hiddleston enough to take it on trust he's probably more genuine opinion than spin doctor, here. and everyone, do read Hiddlestone's article in full - it's really well written.

son_et_lumiere on Apr 23, 2012


Fascinating article! Hiddleston seemed to give the most, intelligent interviews out of the entire "Avengers" cast. This essay just cements my views that this guy is sharp and in tune with his craft and his thoughts! I have more respect for him for sharing his sentiments and mirroring mine! Great read!

Spider on Apr 20, 2012


Not being biased because I want to marry the guy, but he makes a good point. Such an eloquent article about superheroes! I love it. Him. The Avengers. Somewhat irrelevant, but I just saw The Deep Blue Sea and he was FANTASTIC. I was blown away.

fem!anon on Apr 20, 2012


Hey mr. Hiddelston high I think your dream is very sweet, I Wana tell you general zad is back! And great great Michael Shannon play his role, I think this superman in justice league beat your avengers(I even think this superman with his general zad is better than dark knight rises) Can't wait fo Justice League) Zack Snyder I Love YOU

Ehsan Davodi on Apr 20, 2012


I totally agree with his stance, but I'm also a big detractor in terms of comic book adaptions. Don't get me wrong, I love comic books, always have and always will. So naturally I'm a fan of seeing these great characters and their colourful mythology brought to life. The only issue I have is that more often then not the films are poorly written, poorly acted and poorly executed. There are a few notable exceptions but it seems like most are rushed into production to capitalize on the "summer blockbuster" cash cow.

Adrian Surujbhan on Apr 20, 2012


Superheroes ARE modern mythology: folklore gussied up in the technology and world of our present, but still bearing the same burdens as their oral tradition precedents. 

Nathan Cook on Apr 21, 2012


spot on, Nathan. even though they are not all great, i think it's one of the reasons superhero films do well, why sword and sandal films are all the rage again. many might be all cgi and fantastic spectacle, but at the end of the day they are simple parables, telling the frailties and flaws of superhuman figures and how they struggle with and overcome them. and in them, we see ourselves.

son_et_lumiere on Apr 23, 2012


just beautiful

A5J4DX on Apr 21, 2012


Someone hire this guy to write/direct the next big comic book film!

Jasonmd2020 on Apr 22, 2012


He's definetely very eloquent no doubt about that. I don't see anything wrong with psychoanalyzing fictional characters or what their psyche says/indicates about our own culture. Marvel loves to twarp mythology- or maybe just give it a new flavor? Hmmmm - I like this kid- I thought the way he played that character in War Horse was ackward. He seems to be better a complex characters because maybe in a way he is as complex as they are. Good luck Tom!

Julien on May 3, 2012


Tom Hiddleston is one of the most talented actors in film today and I would be willing to bet soon the world will know it.

Nej12515 on May 9, 2012


tom hiddlestone is an intelligent, gentleman and a brilliant actor. he knows how to play his characters very well. i've heard his audiobook in "the red necklace" he did has a voice of a god. everyone will really pay attention when he starts to talk. tom, you have my respect! i just hope he'll stay humble and true to himself!

Aquarrianne_ching on Jun 10, 2012


he went to eton and cambridge and can speak several languages all his interviews are very intelligent he is marvellous on stage .robert downey stands to make 50million i hope the others get a good cut and not the 2milliion they are saying

lyanna on Jun 21, 2012

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