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An  easy interactive intermediate English resource.

Hollywood & Superheroes

Why is Hollywood fascinated by Superheroes ? 

Interactive English : Twenty-one words have been omitted from this article. Replace them by checking the right option in each of the twenty-one drop-down text boxes. In each case, there is only one correct solution  !
There have been lots of movies about superheroes!  Fabulous heroes like Superman, or Batman, or Spiderman, have been popular  since the first half of the twentieth  century, saving people and saving the world.   If only they were real ! When Coronavirus struck the whole world, we could have done with a few superheroes to help us get by.

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck was Batman in the 2017 film Justice League

Not just Superman and Batman...

   Superman and Batman are just two superheroes out of many. We could also include Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Robin Hood, James Bond, Zorro, Indiana Jones and a lot more. They're all more or less the same person, in different forms. Some are in the past, others in the present, others in the future.
   But why does Hollywood superheroes? Is it a question of money? Of course; but it's not only money.
    People have always superheroes. Long before the first Hollywood movie, people loved stories about superheroes. Robin Hood has a popular hero for over 600 years ... and there were others before him.
    The first superheroes were real people. Nevertheless, the stories about were often . Some of the first European superheroes were Charlemagne and Roland (Orlando). Mediaeval writers and singers invented exciting stories about these real men, just as Hollywood stories about tomorrow's superheroes.
   A thousand years , people sometimes sat round in dark rooms in the evening,  to the adventures of brave heroes. Today, we sit in a dark room in the evening, the adventures of the brave Batman. The medium is different, the technology changed .... but the people are really the same.

Superman - perhaps the best-known of all superheroes
    Hollywood doesn't actually invent new superheroes. Superman, Judge Dredd, Batman and the others "existed" before Hollywood discovered them. These three all come from magazines.
    The first Batman story came out in 1939! So Batman has now been defending the people of Gotham City for 80 years! There have been several Batman movies, with different stars Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale. How long can it last?
   Superman is even : he dates from about 1932 (the exact year is not ). Even Judge Dredd is a familiar figure; he first in England in 1977.

    Hollywood's biggest superheroes live in the future. That is not surprising. Hollywood has fallen in love with special effects, and the future great spectacular special effects. Besides, people today are frightened about the future. Things do not look good; perhaps we will need characters like Batman and Judge Dredd in 100 years' time. Perhaps we even need them today!

movie: film - do with: use, get some help from - long before: a long time before - nevertheless: but, yet - Charlemagne: Carlus Magnus, Charles the Great - mediaeval: from the Middle Ages - medium: means of communication - actually: in fact - last: continue - dates from: first appeared in - besides: also - look: seem, appear
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Student Worksheet


Imagine you have been talking to Ben Affleck (who plays Batman in Justice League). How did Ben answer your questions?.

YOU: Is Batman Hollywood's first superstar?
YOU:    Who is Batman ?
YOU:    Why do people love superheroes ?
YOU:    Did superheroes exist before Hollywood ?
YOU:    Are you Hollywood's first Batman?
YOU:    Are superheroes always imaginary people?
YOU:    Do you think we'll see more superheroes in the future?


For teachers

Using the interactive text.
This exercise is designed to be done by your students directly on their computer screen or mobile phone. Students should select the correct answer in each of the twenty drop-down boxes, in order to complete the article. There is only one correct solution in each case. In most cases, the choice is a question of simple grammar; in some it is a matter of logic or essential vocabulary. Just one set of options may lead to confusion, no 19 where there is a choice betwen real and really. The grammatically correct choice is of course really, even if real is commonly used in spoken English, specially in the USA.
   If you do not have access to computers, and want to use a printed copy of this article, you will either leave the boxes empty, and get your students to complete them by logical thinking, or from a list of the options that you will have copied out; alternatively you will need to do the online exercise yourself, then copy it or print it out with the missing words that you have chosen.

Students can save their work  by filling in the words then printing it or saving it so that you, the teacher, can receive a copy of their work.  As for marking... There are 21 choices to be made.... Just mark your students' work as if there were only 20, with one mark off for each mistake, or one mark for each correct answer, as you prefer!

Pay attention to the position of adverbs in this article. There is a selection of adverbs of frequency, as well as other adverbs of time and degree.

Text contraction:
Ask pupils to try and reduce paragraphs 3 to 8 to about a half of their current length, while maintaining as much of the essential information as possible.

What makes a superhero?

Free expression:
Ask pupils to describe their superhero, and explain why he (she) is so highly considered.

Missing words - answers.
The full text, with the correct answers, can be found in the answers section of A Background to English, the new paperback  "best of" B1-B2 intermediate texts from Linguapress.
As well as answers, this collection of 27 texts includes some texts not available online, and access to more audio recordings.

This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress renewed 2023.
Revised 2023 . Based on an article originally published in Horizon, the easy intermediate level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

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Intermediate level EFL resource
Readability - fairly easy. Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 7.9
Reading ease level:  58
CEF level: B1 - B2
IELTS Level 5-6

Also available in French

Reading resources in graded English
from Linguapress
Selected pages
Intermediate resources :
The legendary Mini Cooper
Is Britain really different ?
Life in the Scottish Highlands
Who is James Bond ?
USA: Who was Buffalo Bill?
USA: Close encounters with a Twister  
More: More intermediate reading texts  
Advanced level reading :
Charles Babbage, the father of the computer
Who killed Martin Luther King?
The story of the jet plane
Tolkien - the man who gave us the Hobbit
More: More advanced reading texts  
Selected grammar pages
Verbs in English
Noun groups in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English

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Multi-copying of this resource is permitted for classroom use. In schools declaring the source of copied materials to a national copyright agency, Linguapress intermediate level resources should be attributed to "Horizon" as the source and "Linguapresss France" as the publisher.
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Top photo by Gage Skidmore.
Superman photo by Omarukai.
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