Orbital View: Fools From Above

Over the last 60 years, on-screen superheroes have reflected America’s changing ideals for men’s physiques.

Every spring and summer, one thing moviegoers can reliably count on is a bumper crop of comic-book movies. At this point in time, studios have run through the A-list (Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Hulk), hit the B-list (Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil), and are now chugging through the C-list (sorry, Ant-Man, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy et al).

Another unavoidable fact is that these movies will feature actors who undertook rigorous diet and exercise regimens in preparation for their spandex suits. The ritual of actors bulking up or shedding fat for their superhuman roles may feel inevitable now, but the current standard for impossibly brawny comic-book heroes is something of a new development. Over the past few decades, there’s been a substantial amount of fluctuation when it comes to portraying the “perfect” male body. As an infographic published by The Economist reveals, Adam West’s Bruce Wayne, weighing in around 200 lbs, might surprise viewers familiar with Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader (158 lbs), while both heroes would be dwarfed by Ben Affleck’s Batman (216 lbs and 6’ 4”).