BY KEVIN KLEVJER
I have always LOVED superheroes. I love reading about them, watching them, and in a big way, I’ve always wanted to be one (and at times, thought that I was one - see above picture from 10th grade).
Growing up I read a decent amount of comics, but my main form of superhero intake has always been animation. I grew up watching Batman: the Animated Series, X-men: the Animated Series, Spiderman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Justice League: the Animated Series…you get the point. I grew up obsessed with the heroes Batman and Wolverine. I loved their seeming darker side, but how in the end, these were actually men of character who never stood by if someone was in danger.
Photo credit HERE.
As a kid, I was convinced that since I had freak metabolism which led to me somehow having a six pack at a very early age (even though I pretty much only ate pizza, hot dogs, and cereal), I must have been experimented on as a kid. I literally asked my mom once…she said “no.” Even though I didn’t trust her at first, the truth revealed itself as I reached adulthood and gained chronic back pain, tendinitis, and lost my six pack.
Despite my lack of legitimate super powers, I still have always had an overactive “spidey-sense” searching for danger whenever it could be near. This gets exhausting whenever going on a date downtown on a Saturday night with my wife because nothing ever happens even though I’m hyper-ready in my mind. I’ve had a few embarrassing moments of turning quickly towards someone who seemed to stealthily be approaching me out of the corner of my eye, only to find out that they were literally just walking by. We both make eye contact…it’s weird.
So I do what any aspiring-but-not-actual-superhero would do. I count down days until the next well-made superhero movie is set to come out and then live vicariously through said heroes! Right this moment, my countdown is for Guardians of the Galaxy, which is set to come out August 1st. I’m SO PUMPED! What excites me most about this movie is not only that it’s being put together by Marvel Studios (who brought us the crazy successful Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Avengers movies), but that it’s going to have the same big budget as their previous movies, yet it’s about a lesser-known superhero team. Since I have not read the GotG comics or seen an animated series from them, I get to experience it fresh, leaving no room for disappointment that it’s not like the comic or animated series I cherished (i.e. Rogue…seriously, Bryan Singer?). Check out this awesome preview:
Another thing that has me pumped about this movie is that Chris Pratt is playing the leading role of Peter Quill, aka, Star Lord. Pratt is the guy who brought us the legendary voice of the Lego Movie’s lead, Emmet, and who has mastered the physical comedy of Andy on Parks and Recreation. In a recent interview Pratt stated that “I hope people really like [the movie], and I hope I get to play [Star Lord] for a very long time.” I love that Pratt understands what a privilege it is to play the role of a superhero and that he seems, “basically down to play Star Lord forever,” as the article suggests.
As excited as I am for this movie and as jealous as I am of Pratt and his role, something has been changing in my heart lately. I'm realizing that when I try to be a superhero - see every problem and solve it perfectly - it becomes about me. When I succeed, I feel I've earned it... but when I fail (and I usually do) then I feel I've earned that, too. Who I am rides on my ability to live up to an impossible standard. In the end, it's not just hopeless: it's empty.
I don’t know if I’ll lose my "spidey sense" anytime soon, but I’m learning that I actually don't HAVE to be the self-proclaimed Guardian of My Galaxy. As much as I want to protect people from physical harm - or any other form of harm that I perceive to be out there - in the end, it’s not up to me. When I find myself in a situation where I can positively make a difference in protecting others, then of course I will try to. Yet, when it’s not clear or there simply isn’t a situation yet, I don’t have to lose sleep over whether or not I’m doing all that I can. In the end, I am not the main protector of everyone around me.
I believe in another who is THE PROTECTOR, and I’m finding rest in the truth that HE will ultimately protect potential victims, or will avenge them, or crazier still, that he is able to reconcile victims and assailants alike to himself. But that’s a story for another time…