Live-action comic book adaptations have come a long way over the years, and we're now at a point where both DC and Marvel have multiple franchises across both cinema and TV. According to Alan Ritchson, who portrays Hank "Hawk" Hall in DC Universe's Titans, fans are finally seeing the superhero genre at its most human. Which, to him, is why Titans is more worthy of his time than other fare like the mega-blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. In his words:
I think I'm just excited that the fans are finally getting a really raw, human look at superheroes. I think, for me, the reason I don't go see Infinity War movies or whatever these are is because there's no stakes in it. Everybody feels invincible all the time. You know, I play a superhero without any superpowers. How great is that?
Surely, Alan Ritchson's words are going to be perceived as highly inflammatory among certain fans, since DC vs. Marvel arguments never seem to grow old. Much in the same way that everyone's fascination with these heroes and villains doesn't grow old. Here, the Titans star is kind of saying that growing old and facing longterm consequences is part of what gives his show a better hook than Marvel's big-budget films, where true character risks are rare.
Taken completely at face value, Alan Ritchson does have a point. In order for fiction to be its most effective, especially action-driven superhero stories, audiences need to genuinely worry about the main characters' fates. Caring isn't always so easy, though, when fans instinctively know that central protagonists are going to be as safe as the day is long.
Titans toyed with viewer expectations at the end of its second episode, putting one character in a surprising amount of jeopardy. And while the series probably won't flat-out murder any of its central heroes, at least this early in the run, Titans is a dark enough show to possibly do just that one day in Season 3 or something.
Of course, this argument would have made a lot more sense had he maybe used any other Marvel feature that released prior to Avengers: Infinity War, which had one of the biggest death tolls of any big budget movie in existence. Granted, there are rumors about how Marvel will potentially retcon that outcome to keep its franchises going, but it was still as high-stakes as superhero movies get.
In any case, Alan Ritchson spoke more with ComicBookResources about playing Hawk like he didn't have any superheroes. Amazingly enough, the actor said he was filming his first scene with director Brad Anderson, and it was only then that Ritchson started asking questions about how strong he was and how much pain he would feel during fights.
According to Alan Ritchson, Brad Anderson told him "no superpowers," and the lack thereof seems to inform Hank's gruff attitude and his overbearing confidence. Here's what else the star said about tapping into a vigilante's powerlessness.
Who else has explored that? So, to me, it's about the humanity. I mean, this guy has a lot of pain. He masks it with pharmaceuticals and codependency. I mean, I and many others I think can relate to those kind of humans struggles and that's what I'm interested in exploring. And if you do it in a fun, entertaining way through Hawk and Dove and the Titans, all the better. That's what I'm excited for people to have.
It seems like the words "fun" and "pharmaceuticals and codependency" shouldn't be in the same thought process, but Titans somehow makes it work. I'll assume it's because Beast Boy is so cool, even if he's less human than everyone else.
Titans airs every Friday on DC Universe, so be sure to start your weekends off with brutal and grounded superheroics. To see what other new and returning shows will be offering high-stakes mayhem in the near future, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.