Today there are superheroes, but do we need another superhero, or hero for that matter? Although Flash Gordon (1980) has some great Queen music and occasional moments of “get on board” action that may worm its way under the skin, is the hero of Flash Gordon a phony just like the pantheon of heroes and their fictitious deeds and heroism?
There is something about being a hero that rings true—or does it? Firefighters are heroes, aren’t they? And rescuers. One calls them heroes.
What about footballers? They win matches. They generate a following. They can even be the main character in a film.
Footballer/athlete Flash Gordon has earth to save. Isn’t this just taking the notion of the footballer to its logical finale? That footballers are so admired that we may elevate them so high it’s like they can save the earth.
In the film, Gordon lands on the Planet Mongo, with Doctor Hans Zarkov and girlfriend Dale Arden (Gordon was played by Sam Jones and Arden by Melody Anderson in the 1980 film), where Emperor Ming the Merciless desires to obliterate earth for the fun of it. Bad idea with Flash around.
Certainly not to be taken too seriously. Let’s get back to reality. Flash Gordon started as a comic strip, which was first published in 1934. Created by Alex Raymond (1909-1956), Flash Gordon has been adapted for other media. Flash Gordon was incarnated as a 1980 film from Italian and international producer Dino de Laurentiis (1919-2010). In the end, heroes of this ilk are fictions.
Hero is the label we put on someone who is doing their job, when it happens to save a life or happens to be something that emanates from goodness. But no one is a hero. We can just do what’s required at the time, within the boundaries the earth has set. It’s what someone can do, working within the limitations of the planet.
Do we need another hero? It’s not a question we should be asking, because one just does what he does, having made a choice to action or not. Human beings are human beings; flawed yet capable to take responsibility for the planet.
Does this have a parallel in the Genesis account of Creation, where human beings are created by God to take responsibility for what God has given? Are we not empty – do we have a purpose on this planet?
If when watching Flash Gordon we feel we can get on board with the hero, I think this is the normal human desire to want to do good with the planet, instead of watching someone destroy it