The 21st Century Superhero

Essays on Gender, Genre and Globalization in Film

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About the Book

Superhero films are one of the most enduring genres of cinema, and their popularity is only increasing in the 21st century. These ten critical essays explore the phenomenon through the lenses of numerous academic disciplines, and cover topics such as the role of globalization in the formation of superhero narratives, the shifting nature of masculinity and femininity in the superhero world and the state of the genre today. Of particular interest is the way these narratives, however fantastic, abstract, futuristic or simplistic, resonate with specific events in the world and function as starting points for discussion of contemporary sociopolitical conflicts.

About the Author(s)

Richard J. Gray II is an assistant professor of French at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. His fields of study include interdisciplinary approaches to French literary studies, language, film, cultural studies, and women’s studies. He lives in Ashland, Ohio.

Betty Kaklamanidou is a lecturer in film history and theory in the film studies department at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, where she lives.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Richard J. Gray II and Betty Kaklamanidou

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6345-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8730-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Introduction
RICHARD J. GRAY II and BETTY KAKLAMANIDOU      1

Part 1. Globalization
Exceptional Recognition: The U.S. Global Dilemma in The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and Avatar
ANTHONY PETER SPANAKOS      15
“You Took My Advice About Theatricality a Bit … Literally”: Theatricality and Cybernetics of Good and Evil in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, and X-Men
JOHANNES SCHLEGEL and FRANK HABERMANN      29
Power, Choice, and September 11 in The Dark Knight
CHRISTINE MULLER      46

Part 2. Gender
The Mythos of Patriarchy in the X-Men Films
BETTY KAKLAMANIDOU      61
Vivacious Vixens and Scintillating Super-Hotties: Deconstructing the Superheroine
RICHARD J. GRAY II      75
Evolving Portrayals of Masculinity in Superhero Films: Hancock
CHRISTINA ADAMOU      94

Part 3. Genre
Genre and Super-Heroism: Batman in the New Millennium
VINCENT M. GAINE      111
Super-Intertextuality and 21st Century Individualized Social Advocacy in Spider-Man and Kick-Ass
JUSTIN S. SCHUMAKER      129
The Watchmen, Neo-Noir and Pastiche
PHILLIP DAVIS      144
Smallville: Super Puberty and the Monstrous Superhero
SHAHRIAR FOULADI      161
Films and Television Programs      179

Works Cited      187
About the Contributors      197
Index      199

Book Reviews & Awards

“Excellent”—Library Journal.