How to Survive a Superhero Movie – As a Bystander

Good morning! You’ve woken up in a superhero universe. You might be thinking this is exciting news, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your newfound super powers so you can begin a life of fighting against (or for) the forces of Evil.

Well, I regret to inform you that waking up in a superhero universe does absolutely nothing to make you a superhero. You are not in the .000001% of people that either has powers or the money to buy the next best thing. You are also not in the .00001% that is in some way related to or connected to a superhero.

Not pictured: You. (Photo from HighDefDiscNews)

You are a bystander, a regular person on the street. The good news is, this means you won’t be required to come up with a costume, witty dialogue, or a conventionally attractive face and body. The bad news is you are probably going to die as collateral damage when the Avenging League of Justice fights the next alien invasion.

Here’s some things you can do to survive!

1) Be conventionally attractive.

Remember how I said a little bit ago that you don’t need to be conventionally attractive, since you’re not the main character? Well guess what? I lied. That was a lie I told you to make you feel better. The truth its, if you can get conventionally attractive, your odds of surviving go up significantly.

Try looking more like this.

However, there’s a catch here.

You need to be conventionally attractive and a member of the gender the hero is attracted to. The odds of the hero swooping in, pectorals proudly pronounced, to save your life go up by a huge factor if the hero finds you conventionally attractive. Don’t worry about figuring out what, specifically, the hero is attracted to – as long as 95% of America would agree you are attractive, you’ll be fine.

This means the best chance you have to survive is to be where superhero teams congregate, since the odds of someone being attracted to your gender go up dramatically the more heroes there are. Therefore, you’ll want to…

2) Move to New York or Metropolis.

This one largely depends on which hero universe you’re in. If Marvel, move to New York. If DC, move to Metropolis. You might think that this increases your risk of being caught in the crossfire of a superhero fight, and you’d be absolutely right to think that.

However, your odds of surviving also go up.

Sure, that’s your car in the background, but at least the city isn’t a crater. (Photo from MovieWeb)

See there’s a reality very few people talk about. Any city that isn’t New York or Metropolis is basically guaranteed to, at some point, be completely obliterated by a supervillains doomsday weapon. It shows how frightening and dangerous the villain has become while at the same time leaves all the heroes alive to fight them at a later point. Meanwhile, New York or Metropolis never, ever get blown up because doing so would remove the heroes from the story. Bad guy wins, adventure over. You’re safer there than you are anywhere else.

It’s also true of Gotham in the DC universe, but they have psychotic clowns running around, and no one wants to live near psychotic clowns.

3) Make sure they see your face.

So you followed point one and two properly. You got conventionally attractive, and you moved to New York or Metropolis. Of course, now that you have, a superhero fight has broken out while you’re on the way to daycare, or picking up groceries, or going to see the doctor about that weird rash that won’t go away and you secretly hope is an alien organism bonding with your body but is probably an allergic reaction to Brenda’s cookies. She swore there wasn’t any peanut butter in them, but you should have known better than to trust Brenda.

Damnit, Brenda.

Anyway, Brenda’s toxic cookies aside, now you have to leap into action and make sure someone in spandex sees your face.
Nope. These faces are far too blurry. They’ll all doomed. (Image from Forbes)

This is, without a doubt, the most critical phase of this plan. Have your face seen by the heroes and/or villians. If you are seen, you are no longer a background statistic that will be played over the next movies expositional dialogue. You are now a person in the eyes of the main characters, and as such your odds of survival have just gone from basically zero to ninety-nine percent.


Now, you might think that the villains seeing your face is a good way to get yourself killed. To that I say: you’re going to die no matter what if no one sees your face. It’s pretty much guaranteed, given the amount of collateral damage that happens in these fights. However, if the villain actually sees you, there is a good chance they will pause and dramatically raise their weapon/hands/death ray, which statistically means there is now a fifty/fifty chance the hero will swoop in at the last minute. Your odds go up to eighty-five percent chance if the villain spotting you is a minion, henchman, or other disposable mook.

4) Be helpless but plucky.

Of course, now that the hero or villain has spotted you, you have to take action. You need to strike a careful balance here. You need to be just plucky enough to not bring down the tone of the action, but not so plucky you actually inconvenience the bad guys or actually do anything to change your fate besides defiance.

Try shouting “We’re New Yorkers! You think we’re afraid of you? I’ve seen scarier rats on the subway!” You don’t need to use that specific phrase, but some kind of cliche dialogue that establishes that the being from another world doesn’t scare you. Sure, it just bit Brenda in half, and by all rights you should be pissing yourself with fear, but Brenda gave you those goddamn peanut butter cookies.

However, the moment you pick up a gun and actually fire on the alien monstrosity, you’re going to go the way of Brenda because your death will show how dangerous these aliens are to normal people. Don’t feel bad in this case. Your death helps establish that only the hero can save the world, and really, is there any nobler cause to die for?

Congratulations! You survived as a bystander in a superhero movie!

Now you need to pray the franchise collapses before they have to up the danger for the sequel.

Want to know how to survive the Apocalypse? So would Ryan! And he has to cause it. Check out Weird Theology here. 

One thought on “How to Survive a Superhero Movie – As a Bystander

  1. Pingback: Why You Should be Watching the Arroweverse – The Home of Alex Raizman

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