Why Superhero Bundles Resemble Your College Business Classes?

Superhero bundles that flood theaters make for another opinion post on VillainLabs. Written by Rogue Saint.

Is there a college nowadays not offering a business class? Possibly. Most of them, however, are loaded with a variety of business curricula, with promises to teach you leadership and mold you into the next Steve Jobs. But as soon as the glossy brochures crease and promises fade, you realize an important thing. Your classes are a glorified waste of time disguised by teamwork and the tattered mantra that every single one of you is equally important. The reality is, your bachelor’s degree in business most likely means nothing without good connections.

Even if you achieve something resembling a career, about twenty years into it, sitting inside a tiny cubicle on the thirteenth floor of a high rise, humbled by your skyrocketing student loans, basically being a number on a payroll sheet, you’ll be asking yourself, what happened to the promises of being Steve Jobs? Where's the leadership they promised to teach you? More importantly, you ask, how do I dare to compare superhero movies to your slew of meaningless business classes? Even if there is a comparison, does it go further than coincidence? Let's try to decode the answers.

Some would argue that every movie is a propaganda piece. In reality, movies follow patterns of society and sometimes promote them. That is especially true for blockbusters. All the way up until mid to late twentieth century, businesses were dominated by relentless gunslinger capitalists who used acumen and zeal for success to build empires. This was the business world of the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Waltons... This was a one-man-hero world emphasized by an "alone against all the others" mentality.

Hollywood studios and their products mimicked this pattern. Back in the day, the studios were smaller, but leaner, meaner, and under the guidance of desperados eager to pull the trigger—to greenlight. The blockbusters of that time mirrored the reality and glorified the lone hero to the level of absurdity. The Shanes, the High Plains Drifters, and the John Waynes of their time could defeat entire gangs in shootouts. What to say about Sylvester Stallone in Rambo or Chuck Norris in the Missing in Action trilogy? Oh boy, how wonderful it must have felt to defeat an entire army without changing your ammo magazine. Call me old-fashioned, but I liked these kinds of movies. Not because they were realistic, but because, when you strip them of all ridiculousness, within lies a statement—the statement that guts, zeal, and leadership cannot be taught in the classroom. You either have them or you don't. This conclusion, of course, amounts to a belief. Truth is not always visible and within reach, but as Agent Mulder used to say, "The truth is out there."

Modern business strategies revolve around group work. Most corporations are lead by boards of directors, and Hollywood's green light now lies in the hands of committees. No more trigger-happy, murky, testosterone-driven individuals who want to suck up all the glory. It's about teamwork, fun, and sharing collective success. The groups are credited with brainstorming ideas that are supposedly elusive to individuals. In theory, that works wonders, but in reality...

Back in my business classes, just like in all the others, the students were split into teams. Different classes featured different groups. But when you broke down these teams, you found the same things. There were a few driven students who carried the teams. There were a few who wanted to put a business class on their diplomas and move along. And there were a few who had heard they could earn an easy grade and sleep through the entire class—because the group grade is your grade, so why bother to make an effort?

This is where our superhero bundles finally fade in. In all movies that feature more than a single superhero, you can easily distinguish who carries the movie, who just goes along, and who picks up an easy paycheck. And to be on the record, I'm all for that actor who picks up an easy paycheck. I do have something against the narrative that all of these heroes serve the story and are necessary. They're not. Some of them don't add anything, not even a good laugh.

My biggest beef with superhero bundles remains the decline of the strong villain. We may soon see a movie without a traditional villain. Our superheroes will fight each other over a box of chocolate after a boozy Saturday night in Vegas. If you put six or more heroes in a movie, where's the time to develop a villain? Each hero earns his/her own screen time based on popularity, and when you add all these minutes, there remains just enough time for the end credits. Let's go back and compare that to real-life boardrooms. At the beginning, you hear conflicting voices inside them, but as time goes on, more powerful members push the opposition out and replace them with yes-men. In business, this grows bureaucracy and stops innovation, while movies without meaningful conflict become boring. Not even special effects can save them.

The superhero bundles carry an extra weight of unnecessary components that choke the story, kill the real conflict, and extend projection time sometimes by forty-five minutes to an hour. These movies will soon look like a guy forty-five pounds overweight who looks in the mirror and questions why he can't see his abs. Shed the weight and you'll see the abs. You'll improve your erection, too. But let's get back to our business class again. I have yet to meet somebody who has earned less than a B in these group classes. The same goes for our bundled heroes. They also earn high cinema scores. But how important is that score, really? As important as our class grades. The class never made you a Steve Jobs simply because you've never been one. Some superhero bundles will sell billions in toys and theme rides. As the team, they will never be as iconic as Rocky. Why? Because they have no potential to be.

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VillianLabs by Rogue Saint: Why Superhero Bundles Resemble Your College Business Classes?
Why Superhero Bundles Resemble Your College Business Classes?
Superhero bundles that flood theaters make for another opinion post on VillainLabs. Written by Rogue Saint.
VillianLabs by Rogue Saint
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