Baconsale Episode 57: The Psychology of Superheroes – Part 2

It seems that our time is up with Dr. Matt Woolley as the Baconsale crew finishes their discussion about superheroes with our favorite psychologist.

In this, part two of the psychology of superheroes, we talk about specific Marvel and DC Comics characters and let Dr. Matt psychoanalyze a few of them, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Along the way, you may even learn a little about yourself, as well. We learned that Joel slurs his speech if he records too late and that Kent believes that great power requires great looks.

14 thoughts on “Baconsale Episode 57: The Psychology of Superheroes – Part 2

  1. I had never thought about viewing Superman the way Joel described. Where it wasn’t so much about whether or not he would win, but how he would win and save the most lives. (or something like that). I didn’t like the destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel especially because of the heartache Superman showed when he killed Zod. Where was the heartache when he was smashing through and knocking over buildings? You can’t just fly through buildings and throw cars and not expect people to get hurt by flying debris and collapsing sky scrapers. I haven’t seen Batman v Superman yet. So, we’ll see how I like it.

    You didn’t discuss the young Bruce Wayne in Gotham. Why not?

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    1. The citizens of Metropolis mistook superman as a bird and a plane.. you really think they have a chance to pick him out of a crowd when he’s wearing glasses? I’m more dissappointed in Lois not picking it up sooner.

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  2. Glad you guys are going to do a Villains episode!! (Can we get an episode for just Batman villains? haha) Love the idea of a relationships one too (Gwen Stacy > Mary Jane).

    Superman is a really interesting character and I think you guys hit why DC hasn’t really done a good job translating him to the screen. The problem is he isn’t all that relatable when you jump in to him flying around and kicking trash, shooting lasers from his eyes, and being this invincible god among men in all of his glory. We need a relatable base before we can empathize with the man facing epic ethical dilemmas of trying to stop horrible things from happening. You need both sides though, I think a major issue with Smallville was it took SOOOOO long before he actually became Superman I had lost interest in the series. Man of Steel struck a good balance, I haven’t seen BVS yet but I’m worried they tried to bring him along too quickly through the early stages and mixing the relatable side of Clark Kent with the Superman side, judging by Kent’s and Joel’s comments in this episode it sounds like that’s what happened.

    I actually wrote a cool (short.. semi-phoned in) paper in college looking at the ethical philosophies represented in the Dark Knight Trilogy that sheds some interesting light on why Batman does what he does and what moral battles and conflicts are built into his three villains in the film. Basically it went into the 4 individuals and their views on rules, what is right, and their motivations.

    No Thor brought up huh? I mean he’s basically the greatest Avenger of all time…. blech.. I felt gross typing that up. Thank you for not including Thor.


    1. I was a huge fan of Smallville in the beginning. Such a good show. Then they took way too long to actually turn him into Superman. I hated that the only time he flew was when he was affected by red kryptonite or something. So, I never watched the last couple seasons. It really went downhill when Michael Rosenbaum left the show. They were a victim of their own success. They should have planned on it being only a 5 season show – 4 years of highschool and one year post highschool – and be done. They were so successful they dragged it out way too long.

      Kent is going to ask you to send him your paper on Batman. He asked for mine about Spider-man. I also did a paper in college on Homer Simpson and how he is actually a really good father, and another one for my world religions class examining the theology of the Simpsons.

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      1. Theology of the Simpsons?!?! What the? hahahaha What was your major? I was studying the wrong stuff.

        Your paper on Spiderman sounded interesting too, I saw he asked you for it, I was apprehensive to mention mine here because I’m a little self concious of it. My paper is short it was limited by our professor to two pages so it’s not as cool in my mind as it could have been. Basically Batman is a Deontologist, Raz Al Gul is a Rule Utilitarian, Joker is a Nihilist posing as a man in a state of nature, and Baine is an Act Utilitarian. Nolan, in my opinion, wanted to write movies about the clash of these ethical philosophies and used Batman to illustrate it. It’s crazy how apparent it is after you study it and then watch the films.

        I stuck around for 4 seasons or so. I think they also painted themselves into a corner by not making Lana Lois to begin with and then switching him over to her felt weird… and you know switching her over to Lex and stuff.. I agree they should have kept it to 4 or 5 seasons, maybe thrown in a movie at the end to tie it up and show Clark finally be Superman.


      2. It was a long time ago that I did the theology of the Simpsons paper. My major was International Studies, and I was taking a world religions class to satisfy both a major requirement and BYU’s religion requirement. My paper was all about how God is portrayed and referenced in the Simpsons. I don’t remember a lot but I pointed out that in the Simpsons God is portrayed as a bearded white male giant with 5 fingers rather than the 4 that most Simpsons characters have. There was more to it than that, but that’s all I can remember right now.

        I have no idea what a Deontologist is. I would have thought it was a dentist who specialized in the gums. So, I’ll have to take your word for it on that one. The part about Spider-man in my personal statement was pretty short, nothing too intense.

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      3. Deontology is Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. He believed that a persons actions were only correct if they were done out of a sense of duty and followed the persons categorical imperative (their one rule they would never break and basically wanted to apply universally to everyone, e.g. Batman not killing people). The biggest problem with that is that Kant believed in complete and total honesty, so the Alter-ego thing of batman is a major issue. He also would have a problem with taking someone up on a tall building and threatening to push them off to scare them into giving you info without being willing to actually push them off. Kant believed there was such a thing as the right thing to do and it should be strictly followed. However he also believed that doing the right thing was the correct choice only if done out of a sense of duty, if it was done for any other reason then it was not a valid action. That’s the quick cliffnotes version, it’s been a couple years too so I may not have it completely correct. Basically If a man was in a cell and there was a mob outside wanting to kill him and if you don’t let him out they’d go on a rampage and burn the town and kill people Kant would argue you never let the person out, regardless of the consequences because it is the right thing to do. Ethics is really interesting, I think once you pair it with the psychology of Batman you can really see how his trauma built his philosophy and then see the reasoning behind his vigilantiasm…

        Sorry, super nerdy moment. I really loved writing that paper, plus it was a good opportunity to watch the Dark Knight again, which I am always looking for reasons to watch it.


      4. International studies, like business or teaching or what? I had some friends from my mission that took that but I never really asked what field that related to.


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