In a previous post, I discussed concrete ideals of masculinity that were derived from biology and social constructs. I thought, however, that a good approach might be to think about archetypal masculinity. Or rather, certain ideals that connect to a sort of essential and natural masculine. Gareth Hill writes in his book, Masculine and Feminine: The Natural Flow of Opposites in the Psyche about the differences between the static and the dynamic masculine. This book tends toward a psychological analysis of masculinity, nevertheless it is interesting and it also can be applicable to action film. So here are some of the the buzzwords Hill attaches to the Dynamic and Static Masculine:
Rules and Regulations
Systems of Meaning
Hierarchies of Value
Theories of Truth
In a lot of ways it seems the action hero falls under the Dynamic masculine and yet there is a kind of underlying acknowledgement of the static, in that the hero is working to maintain or restore "order, truth, meaning, values" etc. Or rather, most films start with the protagonist utilizing the dynamic masculine and concluding in a static masculine state once that battle has been fought, the woman rescued and order restored. The source of these ideals is what is so compelling. Again, there is the question of a socially constructed ideal versus one that is biological. Perhaps there is a merging of both. This is a topic worth examining at greater length and with certain action films.
Hill, Gareth: Masculine and Feminine: The Natural Flow of Opposites in the Psyche