Representative Image
Representative Image

Superheroes or villains: Who's more violent?

ANI | Updated: Nov 03, 2018 15:08 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 3 (ANI): Superheroes are our favourite and nearly always save the day, but the methods they use might not be as heroic as people think.
According to research conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine, villains or the antagonists perform less amount of violence than the superheroes or the protagonists.
"We actually found the protagonists were performing a greater amount of violence per hour than the antagonists. Protagonists were performing 22.7 violent events per hour, while the antagonists, or bad guys, were performing 17.5 events per hour," said John Muller, lead researcher of the project.
The research looked at 10 superhero films from 2015 and 2016: 'Suicide Squad,' 'Batman: The Killing Joke,' 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,' 'X-Men: Apocalypse,' 'Captain America: Civil War,' 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,' 'Deadpool,' 'Fantastic Four,' 'Ant-Man' and 'Avengers: Age of Ultron.'
To work out who was committing the violent act, "each major film character was classified as either a protagonist ('good guy') or antagonist ('bad guy')," the research says.
After identifying the acts of violence, they were analysed and converted into rates of violence per hour for comparison. There were 2,191 total acts of violence for the good guys, compared with 1,724 for the bad guys.
"This is important because so many kids are looking up to these superheroes as positive role models and people they want to act like," Muller said, using Halloween as an example when kids dress up as both the heroes and the villains from these films.
The most common type of violence seen in superhero films was fighting, with 1,620 total appearances in the movies. The antagonists were involved in only 599 of these fights. This was followed by use of a lethal weapon, which appeared 1,263 times throughout the movies. Again, the good guys won, being responsible for 659 of these appearances, compared with the bad guys' 604 times.
The other categories of violent acts that appeared were destruction of property; bullying; intimidation or torture; and murder.
Bullying, intimidation, and torture was the only category where antagonists were responsible for more of the incidences: 237, versus 144 for the heroes.
Although the reasoning behind the violence for the good guys was not analysed in the research, Muller suggested that if they are seen as committing acts of violence for a good reason, such as protecting someone, it may be better accepted and understood.
The research also found that male characters committed an average of 33.6 acts of violence per hour, compared with only 6.5 mean hours of violence per hour for female characters. (ANI)