Superhero Me: A Recipe for Greatness

Captain America: The First Avenger /Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios
Captain America: The First Avenger /Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios

Have you ever noticed what it takes to be a superhero? After spending a whole day watching Marvel Comics Live-Action movies such as “Thor”, “Captain America” Marvel’s “The Avengers” it is perfectly clear the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) was onto something when he reportedly spoke before a church congregation and uttered these now famous words:

“What You Resist, Persist.” 

 After five tries in as many states he is able to enlist. Rogers asks the scientist, Dr Abraham Erskine, who made his enlistment possible, why he chose him. Dr Erskine responds,


“The weak man knows the value of strength and he knows compassion.”
Rogers’s weakness is, well, he’s “weak and small in size. He is willing, however, to embrace it. We see, later in the film, Rogers’s display of bravery allows Dr. Erskine to select Rogers to receive the Super Soldier Serum read: Human Growth Hormone. Rogers grows taller, stronger and muscular and becomes an instant American hero. 
Superheroes resist nothing, not even the so-called ugly part of themselves. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, and Clint Barton/Hawkeye and even the nemesis, Loki are all of questionable character. What makes them super is the fact that they all embrace their so-called “Shadow self”. 
According to Jung, the shadow self is part of the personality that ordinary humans choose to repress. The shadow usually represents the aspects of our personality we choose to hide from the world. In fact, some of us are so efficient at repressing our shadow self , we are unaware that it is operating. 
The opposite is true of superheroes both the masked and unmasked; they are so self-aware they use their dark side to their advantage. What mere mortals identify as weakness, would-be superheroes use as leverage. 
Case-in-point, in the 2011 movie ” Captain America: The First Avenger “, its namesake Steve Rogers is (SPOILER), as Iron Man says in “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012), “…a laboratory experiment, Rogers and everything special about you was made in a test-tube.”
We, the audience, know that isn’t actually true. When Rogers first appears on the screen we witness him saying “Yes” to his dark side instead of resisting it. Rogers’s humble superhero origin began way before his transformation into Captain America. He was small in stature and constantly bullied but he didn’t run from a fight. In fact, he wanted to join the big fight as the world was at war with, who Rogers calls a bully, Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany. 
Rogers’s small size gets him a 4F Military classification (Not qualified due to medical reasons). He is not deterred by the rejection. 
The Superhero recipe is so simple it begs the question why aren’t there more of us out there saving the world?