The REAL Reason Why Superhero Romances Are Always Doomed

Illustration for article titled The REAL Reason Why Superhero Romances Are Always Doomed

Everybody knows that superheroes can't have successful love lives. If a costumed hero does get married to his or her long-term love interest, then the multiverse winds up breaking (or Satan intervenes) to thwart it. Is this because happy relationships are boring? Or is there a more insidious reason?


Top image: The wonderful Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane comic.

Earlier today, our Postal Apocalypse feature posited the idea that movies and comics tend to thwart romance because "watching people fall in love is interesting, watching people in love is not." But some readers disagreed, and pointed to another factor.

Gibbelins writes:

[This archetype] is inherently linked to damaging portrayals of female characters. Since the protagonist is almost always male and we see his romantic frustrations from his perspective, that means the hold-up is always generating from the woman. She's always portrayed as either being a tease for no good reason, or unjustifiably pissed about something dumb. All these portrayals taken together create an image of women as annoying nags who make things more difficult for the hero for no reason.

Adds Ladybug2:

I feel this is also related to studio execs who think women helmed movies that aren't rom/coms won't make money, that women don't read comics, or hell, how women are portrayed period.


And LostinFandom caps it off with a really good point:

I'm really sick of trying to have it be a will they or won't they thing informed by men seeing women as a weakness. Much of the time it doesn't feel like the people making it realize how much resentment there is towards the women, or they just aren't willing to honestly acknowledge it. (For better or worse, Identity Crisis made that a big part of the plot)


And in another thought, Chris's Random Thoughts has a brilliant suggestion as to how the Indiana Jones movies could have been way better:

I've always maintained that the Indiana Jones series should have been about a duo: Indy and Marian. Harrison Ford and Karen Allen had fantastic chemistry in Raiders and those movies would've played terrifically with them together on further adventures. Sort of like Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man. Making him a Bond-like character with a different babe each film got boring, especially because each female character after Marian was really boring. Kate Capshaw and her character were so godawful that I couldn't even understand the attraction. When he goes back to save her I remember sitting in the theater thinking, "dude, just leave her!" By not featuring Marian in the other films I sort of feel like they robbed Karen Allen of a career. By the time they decided to use her character again in the forgettable last film it had been so long that it looked like she forgot how to act. The poor woman just looked happy and shocked to be in the movie.




I've always wondered if this problem were due to the relationships that the creators themselves have had. If you've got a long history of bad relationships, or very little relationship at all, it might be hard to even conceive of a strong romantic relationship.

This isn't to excuse the situation; I've just been thinking about this for the last 15 or so years.