May 25, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle | DVD

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SuperheroesSuperheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. 180 min. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2013. ISBN 9781608839742. $24.99.
Gr 9 Up–Narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, this extensive and highly entertaining retrospective chronologically reviews the history of 20th-century superheroes utilizing an amazingly rich collection of archival and contemporary media of all types. The first of the three hour-long episodes, “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” introduces the 10-cent comic and early movie serial heroes that provided a much-needed distraction from the Great Depression and onward through the late 1950s. “Great Power, Great Responsibility” covers the Space Age through the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, highlighted by the first adult television series based on a superhero, Batman in 1966. The final chapter, “A Hero Can Be Anyone,” begins its coverage with the 1978 Superman film, the first superhero franchise that set off a trend that continues to the present. This documentary explores how elements of darkness and violence have became more commonplace in the superhero genre, reflecting the change in audience from children to adults, and the shift from television to big-screen movies. This offering includes nine bonus sections with expanded interviews with and commentaries by performers and producers who were responsible for the genre’s expansion and popularity. English language subtitles and a chapter selection option enhance the usability of this sure-to-be-popular title.–Dwain Thomas, formerly of Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL

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