Illustration for article titled Are superheroes becoming too powerful?

Superheroes tend to have longer lifespans than the rest of us, but they're still products of their times. And, when those times move forward, sometimes their powers seem to be moving forward with them. But is there a danger that they could become too powerful?


After watching this new fight scene from Captain America 2, some commenters noted that this Captain America was not the Steve Rodgers of a few years ago, this was a new Cap — and a much more powerful one:


It's worth bearing in mind Steve's training and experience during The First Avenger and Avengers.

Steve is from the 1940s. Access to television is limited. The Olympics aren't the media sensation that they are today. Martial arts haven't really begun to work their way into western society. The movies that do exist don't feature much in the way of action and violence. Steve is trained as a soldier, and gains access to his abilities in an environment saturated with soldiers. He knows that the serum is supposed to make him faster and stronger (he even witnessed that first hand with Red Skull during their initial encounter), and he knows the concept of fighting with a shield, but he doesn't have the exposure to martial arts or gymnastics for him to even think of trying that sort of stuff.

By the time The Winter Soldier rolls around, he's seen what Black Widow is capable of first hand. He's had SHIELD scientists telling him "you are capable of doing this", and encouraging him to try it. He's almost certainly had some amount of self defense training to bring him in line with the other SHIELD operatives. It makes much more sense for him to bust out some fancy moves in the sequel, because he's had far more opportunities for the notion of doing those sorts of things to enter his mind.


Captain America isn't the only superhero whose powers are on the uptick. Even heroes with no extra-human powers, like Batman, seem to be on an upward trend of becoming more powerful. And, while some superheroes' new abilities could be the result of new experiences and training, there's also plenty of superheroes who just seem to be stacking up new and increasingly powerful abilities. This means plenty of cool action sequences to go around, but it also means that their stories can lose some of their earlier elements of risk.

So what do you think? Are superheroes becoming too powerful? What does the increase in power mean for their stories? And who are some of your favorite superheroes who gained, lost, or just sharpened some of their powers as time went on?

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