Why do people love Superhero Movies so much? Isn't there a certain age where you get too old for superheroes? After all, they are essentially just children's cartoons and comics brought to life. So, why do they have such great success? Is it because, at the heart of the world, we're all just nerds? Or is it that we all have a little child in us that still craves those cartoons?

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The facts

Out of the top 100 highest grossing movies of all time, 22 are your traditional comic book superhero movies (such as Spider-Man, Batman, Superman). That's not even counting some that could be construed as superhero movies like Star Wars and Transformers franchises. "Avengers: Infinity War" just had the highest grossing opening weekend of all time with $250 million domestic and $380 million foreign (and hasn't even been released in China yet).

Marvel and DC Comics are the primary superhero movie makers. [Image source: Flickr]
Marvel and DC Comics are the primary superhero movie makers. [Image source: Flickr]

The American opening weekend surpassed that of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" .

The smash hit "Black Panther" has the third highest domestic box office draw of all time, is currently at number nine, and is still playing in some theaters. "Marvel's The Avengers," which debuted in 2012, is still the number five all-time box office grossing movie. It's sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" sits at number seven. The list is dominated by Marvel movies, with those previously mentioned followed by "Iron Man 3" and "Captain America: Civil War" before "The Dark Knight Rises" pops in at 21.

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The average run time for the 22 movies in the top 100 is two hours and 20 minutes. That's a long time, even if it doesn't feel like it when we are watching. Put it this way, that's about 21 percent of a 12 hour day. The longest is nearing three hours in "Avengers: Infinity War" and others are close. Does that stop people? Take a look at these tweets.

It's safe to say, people love them so much they'll watch them no matter how long they are.

So why do we love them?

There's just something about them. People obviously love them. Maybe it's comic book fans excited about their stuff making it to the big time. I doubt that's what pushes them into the high rankings at the box office. Since DC Comics is kinda lacking right now (can you tell I'm a Marvel guy?), we'll focus on Marvel.

Marvel excels at storytelling. What's more is they excel at running several different stories together. It's hard enough to run two or three storylines together for a movie, but putting 19 movies together running through and with each other is impressive.

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Doing it over a decade is even more impressive.

Based on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest ("Thor: The Dark World") score is 66. The highest ("Black Panther") is 96, and the average score for all 19 movies is 84. Certainly, something should be said about the quality of movies here.

They play out like a television series, so it makes sense that the characters grow immensely over time. Is Tony Stark the same person he was when "Iron Man" came out in 2008?

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Certainly not. Granted, it did take some time. He was selfish, careless and irresponsible. The premise of "Iron Man" is Tony realizing the harm that his weapons were doing and stopping it, which is a change in and of itself.

By the time "Marvel's The Avengers" rolled around in 2012, he was different, but not changed. "Big man in a suit of armor," Steve Rogers taunted. "Take that off and what are you?" The snarky Stark replied with "Genius, billionaire, [sic], philanthropist." By the end credits, Tony seems to have rejected his selfish nature and made one of the most selfless acts of heroics ever seen.

By the time his final solo film ("Iron Man 3") finishes, he's destroyed all of his suits because he realized it wasn't the suits that mattered. In "Captain America: Civil War," he comes face to face with the grief generated by the unintentional harm caused by the Avengers' battles. He immediately takes responsibility and takes action, albeit possibly not the smartest action.

Over the course of his eight performances and ten years, he's almost completely changed. He wants a family. He cares about the impact he has on people. He cares about those around him.

In a quote from "Avengers: Age of Ultron" Stark tells Nick Fury, "And I'm the man who killed the Avengers. I saw it. I didn't tell the team. How could I? I saw them all dead, Nick. Felt it. Whole world, too. Because of me. I wasn't ready. I didn't do all I could." He goes on, "It wasn't a nightmare, it was my legacy. The end of the path I started us on. I watched my friends die. You'd think that'd be as bad as it gets, right? Nope, it wasn't the worst part." Nick replies "The worst part is that you didn't."

To the bitter end, Tony is self-sacrificial, caring, thoughtful, selfless and charismatic. A far cry from the man who created the suit in 2008.

Take Thor as another example. The only reason he was sent to Earth by his father was to learn humility. Eventually, he did and he was gifted his hammer. Over the course of his movies, he learned to care for others and stop being selfish and impulsive. He learned how to be a true king. Then, his hammer gets broken, and the thing he relied on most is gone. He had to learn how to understand that the power and value came from himself, not an object. He was conceited, then he was too humble, then he learned to value himself and others.

The MCU is littered with characters who grow and develop. Lots of superhero movies are. Maybe that's why we love them. Because they show us that superhero or not, we all struggle. Tony struggles with guilt. Steve struggles with conviction. Thor struggles with humility. Peter Parker struggles with identity. Bucky Barnes struggles with his past. T'challa struggles with heavy responsibility. Peter Quill struggles with who he is as well. They sound an awful lot like regular people, don't they?

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