This thesis aims to analyze and explain the resurgence of the superhero genre, particularly in recent cinema, directly following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It will also deconstruct the current American political landscape and define how popular culture has historically reflected real-world issues. The study draws heavily on the political ideology of neoliberalism and Henry Jenkins' media theory of convergence culture. I ultimately argue in the course of the analysis that viewers of these superhero films, regardless of their interest in comic books, cathartically release their fears and post-9/11 anxiety through cinematic escapism. It will also relay the evolution of the superhero in the last seventy years as a way to show the effects current events have on popular culture and history, using Captain America and Iron Man as examples of shifting American values.
- Holding Out for a Hero: The Evolution of the Superhero Genre in Post-9/11 America
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