Action movies have been a very popular option for decades, and are all about larger than life ideas.
When we watch an action movie, we expect to see a spectacular display of events.
People watch movies to relax, but in fact, the brain is very alert and active throughout the time you’re watching.
The brain processes the stimuli of a movie in the same way it would real life.
Superheroes are currently very popular, but your average action hero is usually more earth-bound.
For example, Die Hard’s John McClane might be an NYPD cop, but he’s not indestructible.
The combination of grit and vulnerability is what makes us love him and want to watch his adventures.
Since Die Hard, the relatable action hero has been everywhere.
In Speed, Keanu Reeves might be a cool SWAT officer, but Sandra Bullock’s average Joe is the one who steers the bus to safety.
In The Rock, we see Nicholas Cage play a jittery chemist stuck in a takeover of Alcatraz Island.
We like these relatable heroes as we like to imagine we could be like them, if we were given the chance.
What more does an action movie need but some really great action?
Once we believe in the hero, we want to see some thrilling stunts and high-stakes danger.
This can be shootouts and punch-ups, or it can be just watching some death-defying stunts from the safety of your cinema seat.
This is why so many love Point Break, which is two hours of surfing, skydiving, and bank robberies.
It’s why we love the prison-transfer chase from The Dark Knight, and the vault heist from Mission: Impossible.
A classic action movie trope is the hero being forced to take action in order to save his family, and we love it.
Explosions and gunfights are fun to watch, but we can’t relate to that.
What we can relate to is the desire to protect our loved ones.
This keeps us hooked and grounds even the most out-there action plots.
This is why we love Taken, starring Liam Neeson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando.
When the essentials of an action movie are right, they capture our hearts and minds.
We want to see a hero that we can relate to who still wows us with their amazing feats, we want to see a high-stakes adventure that we can understand the need to go on, and we want to see some amazing action.
We want stunts, explosions, fights, and grit, all given to us by a hero that we look up to but secretly like to think is a bit like us after all.
The highest-grossing action movies tick all these boxes and more and keep us going back to the cinema again and again.
What do you make of this article?
Let us know why you love action movies in the comments below.