Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Essays on the Social, Cultural and Geopolitical Domains


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About the Book

The Marvel Cinematic Universe—comprised of films, broadcast television and streaming series and digital shorts—has generated considerable fan engagement with its emphasis on socially relevant characters and plots. Beyond considerable box office achievements, the success of Marvel’s movie studios has opened up dialogue on social, economic and political concerns that challenge established values and beliefs. This collection of new essays examines those controversial themes and the ways they represent, construct and distort American culture.

About the Author(s)

Julian C. Chambliss is a professor of United States history at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His research examines race, identity, and community in real and imagined spaces.
William L. Svitavsky is an associate professor and emerging services librarian at the Olin Library of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His research includes American comic book history and geek culture.
Daniel Fandino is a history graduate student at Michigan State University. His academic interests include American and Asian popular culture, video games, nationalism, and technology. He lives in East Lansing, Michigan.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Julian C. Chambliss, William L. Svitavsky and Daniel Fandino
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 262
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6418-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3285-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Filmography 9
Section I—“In order to form a more perfect union”:
The Cultural Context of the Transmedia Universe 13
Multiliteracies of the MCU: Continuity Literacy
and the Sophisticated Reader(s) of Superheroes Media (Perry Dantzler) 14
“A bigger universe”: Marvel Studios and Transmedia Storytelling (Liam Burke) 32
#ITSALLCONNECTED: Assembling the Marvel Universe (Lisa K. Perdigao) 52
America Assemble: The Avengers as Therapeutic Public Memory (Derek R. Sweet) 64
“Your ancestors called it magic”: Building Coherence in the MCU Through Continuity with the Past (William L. Svitavsky) 76
Section II—“Establish justice”: The Social Context of the Cinematic Universe 89
Stark Contrasts: Reinventing Iron Man for 21st Century Cinema (Sarah Zaidan) 90
Silly Love Songs, Gender, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron (James Rovira) 103
Hooked on the Wrong Kind of Feeling: Popular Music and Nostalgia in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Masani McGee) 116
Tracing Views of Nature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Elizabeth D. Blum) 127
Bodies That Shatter: Violence and Spectacle in The Avengers
(Antony Mullen) 141
Section III—“Provide for the common defense”: The Geopolitical Context of the Cinematic Universe 149
“You were the world’s first superhero”: Marvel Studio’s Superheroes, Law and the Pursuit of Justice (Jason Bainbridge) 150
Enemies, Foreign and Domestic: Villainy and Terrorism in Thor
(Sasha-Mae Eccleston) 168
More Than a Shield: Security and Empire Building in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Vergil’s Aeneid (Jennifer A. Rea) 185
Acting with Limited Oversight: S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Role of Intelligence and Intervention in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Jennifer Beckett) 203
“To be the shield”: American Imperialism and Explosive Identity Politics in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samira Shirish Nadkarni) 218
Bibliography 237
Contributors 245
Index 247

Book Reviews & Awards

“Intellectually stimulating and rewarding anthology…intelligent, engaging, insightful, academic without being inaccessible, accessible without being overly simplistic”—Fantasy Literature; “fascinating”—Against the Grain.