I remember when the Lord of the Rings movies were coming out in the early 2000s, and me and my friends would gather in the forest with Halloween masks on, swinging hockey sticks to film our own epic fantasy trilogy. Granted we never got past a first ten-minute film, but damn it, we had fun. And the fact that we wanted to emulate and be a part of J.R.R. Tolkien's story, which Peter Jackson ever so brilliantly brought to life on the big screen, is a testament to what a great story it is.

That's what any great story should do - to inspire us and awaken our imagination. Often times with stories one would categorize as fantasy, this manifests itself as imagining yourself as part of the story. Who of us who loves Star Wars hasn't had lightsaber fights with their friends? When Beyblade was at the height of its popularity, me and all my friends went out and got our own toy Beyblades so we could battle like in the animated show. And as a kid growing up on Batman movies, of course I owned one or two masks and a cape so I could pretend to be Batman. When we were kids, we dreamt we were these heroes. We wanted lightsabers, we wanted the Batmobile. We wanted to be these heroes and experience all the cool things we saw in the realm of fiction. And in the short film W is for Wish, two little boys who wish they could be a part of the world of their action figures do indeed get their wish. And well, knowing the short was included in an anthology film called ABCs of Death 2, you can imagine what the outcome is.

A sequel to The ABCs of Death, ABCs of Death 2 like its predecessor is a collection of short films all by different directors and all centering around the concept of death. Each director was given a letter of the alphabet and then had to direct a short film based on a word they came up with that started with the letter they were assigned. In the case of director Steven Kostanski, his letter was W, and his word of choice "wish". In W is for Wish two little boys wish they could help Prince Casio - a character portrayed by one of their action figures - only to find themselves transported into the world of Prince Casio and the Champions of Zorb which isn't what they thought it would be. The reality of the fantasy world of their action figures is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where heads explode in a mass of bloody gore, where children and heroes die in brutal ways, and where the good guys don't always win. Oh and Prince Casio is actually a coward, and the heroic Fantasy Man isn't a muscular He-Man-like figure, but actually an old man.

Amidst all the awesome visuals and bloody gore, there's a lesson to be learned in W is For Wish. Despite many of the fantasy worlds we love being cool and appealing and us wanting to be a part of them in the form of video games and the like, the reality of many of them kinda sucks. Would you want to live in a galaxy under the rule of an evil Empire or the threat of the First Order? Sure it would be cool to be a wizard or a witch, but would Hogwarts really be the best place to be with Voldemort and Death Eaters on the loose? And let's not even get started with The Hunger Games because even if you love said series, that's a world no one in their right mind would want to live in.

But Hunger Games is really a great example of what the point of fantasy stories with heroes and villains is. Sure the post-apocalyptic world of Panem is horrible, but in this horrible world, Katniss and other characters represent traits and values that fans relate to and look up to. The point of these stories isn't how well we would fit into their worlds or how much we would actually want to be in their worlds, but what kind of values the heroes of these stories hold and what we can learn from them to maybe make our own world a little better. Sure flawless heroes rarely if ever exist in reality, the two boys in W is for Wish coming face to face with this fact when their action figure heroes are in fact not what they thought they would be. But heroes are often symbols - an idealistic example to strive towards. Just because we might never be super-soldiers like Captain America doesn't mean we can't aspire to be good like him.