As Seen In:
Star Wars Episode I, IV, The Matrix, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Wanted, 90 Percent of All Fantasy Films
Why They Do It:
Because your mom did it. No, seriously. When you were a kid, didn't your mother--along with every teacher in elementary school--sit you down and say you could be anything you wanted when you grew up? Making most of us think that by age 20 we'd be video game programmers by day and champions of the Ultimate Fighting circuit by night?
These films are the ultimate wish fulfillment. See, life isn't really all that hard! It just seems hard, because you haven't discovered the hidden talent that will make you special!
It's the embodiment of all our daydreams. Well, not the naked ones necessarily.
So What's the Problem?
Of course, the reason people like to think about being a Jedi or a Wizard is that it's not something they have to work for, it's just encoded into their DNA that they'll have the ability to do kick-ass things at the drop of a hat. A hat that you will be able to catch and then kill someone with.
But it doesn't appeal to our optimism, it appeals to our laziness.
You if you could afford better beer.
Luke became a Jedi master over a couple of training montages. Neo just had to do a direct brain download to become a kung fu machine. Harry Potter showed up at high school and found out he was fucking awesome at a sport he'd never even played before.
In reality we grew up and found out that if we wanted to be amazing at something, we had to practice so much that all the enjoyment dried up under the tedium. It's no wonder that by our 20s, so many of us wind up depressed, jobless and drunk (OK, we'd still get drunk if we could use the force, but it would involve a lot less brooding and much more car throwing).
Will They Ever Stop?
As long as there is film, or novels, or any entertainment media at all, there will be these stories. Nobody wants to walk out of a movie with the feeling that they should buckle down and spend more time at the office.
I guess I'm good at swords now.
No, we'll be seeing these movies right up until we're sitting in a shitty retirement complex, wondering why the hell Morpheus never showed up to rescue us from it all.