ByTrent Tofte, writer at
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Trent Tofte

Some people say that superheroes are one of society's greatest assets. My question is, when superheroes cross the line and end up causing more damage than their enemies, should they not be held responsible for those actions? Think logically about it for a minute. If you or I saved five lives but killed ten other people in order to do it, wouldn't we be faced with some kind of consequences? Of course we would! See, when you or I cause destruction and death to save people, it's a bad thing. But when someone like Superman or a group like the Avengers do it, it's totally okay. Is that justice? Is that fairness? No, it isn't. But when a superhero or superheroes become involved, somehow, the rules of the game suddenly and inexplicably change! It's not fair that they get off scot-free for doing things that any normal human being would suffer major repercussions for.

"Let's save the city WITHOUT destroying it!"
"Let's save the city WITHOUT destroying it!"

Out of principle, I was always a Team Cap kind of guy when it came to Marvel's Civil War, but the more I researched and thought about the issues that sparked this conflict, the more I realized that as much as it pains me to agree with Tony Stark on literally anything, the guy makes a pretty convincing case for the Superhero Registration Act. Admit it, you knew it was only a matter of time before I mentioned that. The Act itself is basically the government's attempt at cracking down on this exact issue by having S.H.I.E.L.D. police heroes so they don't end up doing more damage than those they're fighting. But how do the heroes and villains see the matter of their rights versus their responsibility? We all know what Peter Parker's Uncle Ben would say: "With great power comes great responsibility." But do you remember what Norman Osborn's Green Goblin told Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man film?

"In spite of everything you've done for them, they will eventually hate you."

That's right. No matter how much good you do for the common people, sooner or later, you will be considered a monster. Especially if you, ya' know, destroy their cities. People tend not to like that. But when do heroes become responsible for the destruction they cause? Well, think about Man of Steel for a minute.

How much devastation did Metropolis really suffer? According to professional disaster experts, the cost of collateral damage reached a staggering $700 billion (plus $2 trillion in direct economic fallout). And that's not even taking into account the cost of human life. Given the approximate size of the city, simulations indicate that there would be roughly 2 million casualties, with 129,000 fatalities, 1 million wounded, and another quarter million or so remaining unaccounted for. After crunching those numbers, it's fairly obvious why Superman is being sent to court in the trailer for Dawn of Justice. But Superman isn't the only one. How about the Avengers? How much unnecessary damage have they caused?

In their first big screen outing alone, disaster experts estimated that based on simulations, the total disaster cost would be between 60 and 70 billion dollars, plus another $90 billion incurred by economic fallout and cleanup. All told, that's $160 billion, which, to put it in perspective, is about 54(ish) times as much as Tony Stark's entire net worth, plus 160 times more than the actual film made at the box office, which is kind of scary to think about when you consider that it's the fourth highest grossing film of all time.

"Wait, we did HOW MUCH damage?!"
"Wait, we did HOW MUCH damage?!"

But if you thought superheroes' problems ended there, you're wrong. What about when they end up saving people who don't actually WANT to be saved? Remember what happened in Pixar's Incredibles? Mr. Incredible saved a man from committing suicide, and stopped a trainload of people from falling to their deaths. However, because he injured all of said people in the process, he became liable in a court of law, forcing the government to fork over massive damages and initiate the 'Superhero Relocation Program,' aimed at putting an end to superhero activity altogether.

But the big question is, what do you guys think?!


Should superheroes be held responsible for their actions?


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