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Hollywood & Superheroes

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An  easy intermediate level English resource.

Why is Hollywood fascinated by Superheroes ? 

Superman and Batman are back .... together !   Once each superhero movie was about just one superhero : Superman, or Batman, or Spiderman, or some other fantastic hero.  Now Hollywood gives us several different superheroes in the same film.  Justice League, which comes out in November 2017, is a movie that includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and more... all in the same movie

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck is 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 love superheroes? Is it a question of money? Of course; but it's not only money.
    People have always loved superheroes. Long before the first Hollywood movie, people loved stories about superheroes. Robin Hood has been a popular hero for over 600 years ... and there were others before him.
    The first superheroes were real people. Nevertheless, the stories about them were often invented. Some of the oldest European superheroes were Charlemagne and Roland (Orlando). Mediaeval writers and singers invented exciting stories about these real men, just as Hollywood invents stories about tomorrow's superheroes.
   A thousand years ago, people sometimes sat round in dark rooms in the evening, listening to the adventures of brave heroes. Today, we sit in a dark room in the evening, watching the adventures of the brave Batman. The medium is different, the technology has changed .... but the people are really the same.

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

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

movie: film 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

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.

This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress 1997 - 2017.
Revised 2017 . Based on an article originally published in Horizon, the easy intermediate level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

Linguapress; home Découvrez l'Angleterre (en français) Discover Britain

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

A selection of other resources in graded English
from Linguapress
Selected pages
Intermediate resources :
Mystery - the Titanic and the Temple of Doom
Who is James bond ?
Sport: The story of football and rugby
Big red London buses
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?
USA - Discovering Route 66
London's Notting Hill Carnival
More: More advanced reading texts  
Selected grammar pages
Online English grammar
Noun groups in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English

Copyright notice.

All articles published on this website remain the copyright © of and/or their individual authors.
Reproduction is authorised exclusively for use by students for personal use, or for teachers for use in class.
Copyright 1997 - 2017
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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Free EFL reading resources

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