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End Game: An act of genocide or an agent for change.

Analyse existentialism and Thanos as a free and responsible agent of change through his own genocidal acts in the name of environmentalism, make a comparison to the environmental concerns we face today and if Thanos was right in his efforts to decrease or eliminate the population.

  • Interesting idea! I think it's also worth considering the idea that since the Infinity Gauntlet was so powerful, Thanos did have other options (e.g. doubling resources or reforming our existing structures/policies to be more sustainable). How does the possibility of these other options (which may have their own flaws, to be fair) further complicate the morality involved in his snap? – Demetra 6 months ago
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The (In)Humanity of Superheros

What DC and Marvel seem to differ between is style of superheros, the way in which they exist. Superman for instance is basically invincible and is also almost always right and just, which is part of the appeal to some people. While if you take Tony Stark from Marvel he has human faults and characteristics. There are many other characters that could fit into one category or another between the new universes. However, with Captain Marvel in the field now some say that she too is just too powerful, not relatable. Take the difference between Inhuman and Human archetypes of comic book/movie characters and explore why people find such interest in one or the other, is one more entertaining, or emotionally connecting? Are ‘human’ characters more emotional to the reader/audience because of the relatability? Or is the ‘inhuman’ character more appealing because it plays to people’s wildest dreams and fantasies?

  • This is why I love Marvel. People by design are social creatures. They love to connect with people on an emotional level, which is why when they read a book or watch a movie or TV show, they have a better connection with fictional characters that have a sense of human nature within them. That does not mean they need to be human per se, but they must have human characteristics. Such as vulnerabilities that anyone on earth can relate to (the loss of a love one, feeling cheated, having a disability, falling in love, being bullied etc. The more human experiences the character has, the more relatble they are and the more the audience will like them. – Amelia Arrows 9 months ago
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Superheroes: Altruists or Status Quo Apologists

The Marvel and DC cinematic universes have created superheroes that benefitted from the US military industrial complex then turned their backs on it. Captain America became a hero from the Army’s super soldier serum in The First Avenger then rejected surveillance overreach by government agencies in The Winter Soldier. Iron Man inherited a vast fortune from Stark Industry’s weapons development then restructured the company to clean energy development at the end of the first movie. Batman’s endless array of tech toys originated as US military prototypes of Wayne tech repurposed for war on Gotham’s crime. Nonetheless, super heroic courage, genius intellect, and god like powers are always depicted preserving the status quo (late stage capitalism with grossly corrupt governments protecting global income inequality as the earth burns) and actively combatting those who strive to fix such problems. For example, Thanos aims to eradicate overpopulation and Killmonger plots to undermine white global dominance by destroying US and NATO military superiority. What can we make of this ambiguity in superhero comics and movies?

  • I think it would also be interesting to explore what Superman and Batman represent. Admittedly, I'm not very involved in the lore, but much has been made about Bruce Wayne being a wealthy man who, besides fighting supervillians, also stops people who do petty crimes who obviously are way more economically disadvantaged than him. – Emily Deibler 12 months ago
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  • Yes exactly! Superman on the other hand has the power to shut down the 100 companies producing 70% of the carbon emissions leading to climate destruction but settles for foiling jewel heists and working as a reporter – Will Nolen 12 months ago
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  • Also, we should add Batman's obsession with surveillance and information collection...If I were to tackle this topic, I would definitely bring up Robert Kirkman's Invincible, where the main character is constantly confronted with this ambiguous dichotomy. – kpfong83 12 months ago
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  • Absolutely kpfong83! Batman's surveillance and his schemes to betray each of his allies "just in case" all echo American foreign policies even with fellow NATO members (as I recall in 2015 the NSA got busted for wire tapping German chancellor Angela Merkel). – Will Nolen 12 months ago
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  • I feel like this is really a question about what's good for individual people vs. some theoretical "greater good." Superheroes like Batman and Superman, from my admittedly limited understanding, seem like what they want is to keep "the peace" by ensuring a relatively stable society in which most people can live normal lives, even if it might leave some members of that society vulnerable in certain respects. Meanwhile, the bad guys you mention have big dreams and big ideas about how to remake the world, but the only way to accomplish these goals is to cause a lot of personal suffering, even to the people they're supposedly trying to help. – Debs 12 months ago
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  • I think that you might be right Debs but this superheroic pro-status quo perspective is quite limited in that the definition of who benefits from that "relatively stable society" does NOT include a huge portion of the global population (e.g. the 99% of the population in developing countries, the poor and other disenfranchised in the developed countries- PoC, LGBTQ, poor, etc.). So these superheoes end up reflecting the pov of the ruling elites and their beneficiaries which might explain why many superheroes tend to be white males from middle and upper class backgrounds – Will Nolen 12 months ago
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  • Really great topic! I can't help but think of Roland Barthes' argument that our dominant contemporary mythologies serve to reinforce our dominant, contemporary social value systems. In his analysis Barthes looks at all sorts of things -- including advertising for detergents and professional wrestling -- and if he were writing today, he'd definitely include a short essay on recent superhero films.The film Black Panther would be a great film to focus on, with its competing ideas -- with one idea emerging as the clear victor -- about how we might address lasting economic and social disparities. – JamesBKelley 1 month ago
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Why is there such a strong dichotomy in support for the MCU?

I’ve seen nothing but severely conflicting opinions on whether the Marvel films are going in a good direction or not. Audiences appear to be either diehard fans of the entire franchise, or completely disillusioned about the direction of the films. Despite this, there’s a continuously large following, and I’d be interested to know why.

  • This is definitely interesting division to explore. It might be worth digging into why a similar but largely more negative split is occurring in the DCU as well. Is there something about these comic book worlds that especially lend themselves to diehardness and division? – JustinMoir 1 year ago
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In what ways do Marvel's depictions of females affect society and real women?

When considering how women are viewed in film, I like to think of the Bechdel test. This test (and I am paraphrasing here) says that if a movie does not have two female characters in it that talk about something other than a man, then it fails. Unfortunately, not all of Marvel’s movies pass. How do these depictions of women (ie, their lack of roles that include interactions with other women, the way that only men are discussed when interactions do occur, etc) affect real live ladies? How does it affect society? How does it support the systematic oppression of women and perpetrate the patriarchy?

  • I agree that Marvel fails it's female characters, and women, as a whole with it's representation of women.It rarely treats women badly, and ocasionally has some really good female characters (see; Black Panther). But it's just in sheer numbers and representation that it fails its women. For every 4-5 men there is one notable female character. (See Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy). It fails to show women do much of anything as a whole, as even the supporting female characters, are delegated to just being "the girlfriends." And even the superhero women eventually become someone's girlfriend. Women cannot exist long in the marvel universe without being attached to a boyfriend or love interest. That si where Marvel fails most. There are hardly any women in the movies as headliners, and even when they are they are put into usually forced relationships. It's a shame. – Dimitri 2 years ago
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  • I have found majority of films that aren't targeted specifically to the female demographic fail the Bechdel test. I think it would be interesting to focus on how a lot of people criticise the test, without realising that if it is normal and common for men to have discussions not around the opposite sex, then it should be normal for women as well. – Zohal99 2 years ago
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  • You could contrast this with how the DC has tried to target more towards women (and POC but that's not the main focus here) especially with a movie like Wonder Women that featured a largely all female cast and a female director. Her character also eventually exists without the male hero and can exist without him. – Pamela Maria 2 years ago
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The Limitations of the Marvel Formula

Marvel has used the superhero movie genre to tell a wide variety of stories – for instance, a heist film (Ant-Man), a spy thriller (Captain America: TWS), and a war film (Captain America:TFA). The same is true on television, where the Netflix series deals with such serious issues of race, sexual abuse, toxic masculinity, and much more. As the slate of superhero content stretches out massively into the future, can it be constantly used to tell varied interesting stories, or are the limits already beginning to show?

  • This is a great topic! Especially in the wake of Deadpool 2! The first Deadpool was a rom-com, while the second was a family movie at its roots. Because this is such a bizarre approach for a superhero movie, there's theories floating around about what the next Deadpool will be. (The AtZ Show on Youtube speculates that it might be a mock-umentary, something to look into btw.) – M K Keane 2 years ago
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  • What is the 'Marvel Formula'? I like this topic but the formulaic aspect is unclear to me. Are you saying that Marvel movies are usually action type films? Huh. If so, I think Marvel's use of humour can be a limitation, in the sense that it's a staple in Marvel films. On another note, there's the overarching plot (or continuity) that blankets all individually released films—the past few led up to Infinity War. But what's next? Marvel's cinematic universe is amazing, but I worry for the day when it could seem 'dragged out'. (Then again I'm an uncultured non-comic book reader who doesn't know what'll happen after Infinity War, ack.) – Starfire 2 years ago
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Controversy or Consciousness in Marvel Netflix?

Comic books, back in the day, were the dose of tiger balm to the congested chest. They were painful narratives that made us think, that put our problems into the perspectives of a false world so a hero could show us they can be solved and the villains of our lives vanquished. Unfortunately, the solutions are solely on the page or on the screen, now with the Netflix series’ of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, but does that erase the effect they have on us as viewers and readers?

Do the shows take some issues too far? Present them too blatantly or too straight-forward for escapism?

Are they too real and too relevant? Or exactly what we need?

  • Something else to consider would be whether or not the intention of comic books is still escapism. As entertainment becomes increasingly politicized, the escapism aspect may sit on a balance with a desire to provide political commentary. If you wanted to do that more broadly, too, you could look at the balance of escapism and commentary in modern comic books or their adaptations (like Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Luke Cage), which I feel like is what you might be trying to do.There's an excellent article about Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing his run of Black Panther which touches on this --> http://kotaku.com/ta-nehisi-coates-is-trying-to-do-right-by-marvel-comics-1769418783 – Sadie Britton 4 years ago
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  • I think the subjective nature social consciousness makes this a hard question to answer. Comics have always run the gamut from utterly ridiculous to uncomfortably real but a lot of that is in the personal interpretation. Most comics aren't going to be as clear in their messaging as Captain America punching Hitler in the face. The X-Men arose as an allegory for the Civil Rights movement but not every white comic reader in the 60s was thinking "I see, this is like how we treat black people". However black comic readers may have connected with the story in a different way. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage both seemed overtly political but technically were recreations of plot lines that were decades old. When Brock Turner is making headlines, Jessica's inability to consent holds more weight. When Black Lives Matter plays a large part in the political sphere, a bulletproof black guy (in a hoodie) holds more weight. Your environment and your gender/racial/sexual identity change whether you view it as a nice work of fiction or a very political one. – LC Morisset 4 years ago
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What Can Namor Add To The MCU?

The rights for Namor the Submariner has officially reverted back to Marvel Studios. With every character in the current MCU adding a certain physical and emotional aspect to the Avengers’ dynamic, what would Namor’s contribution be? Could his aquatic setting provide a similar contrast as Thor’s Asgard?

  • More fighting and graphics is required. – Zyana Hault 4 years ago
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  • Based on what I know about Namor, he might be best introduced as an enemy to the Avengers. He's often protrayed as such, and I think they could play up the angle of him reacting to what he thinks are attacks against him and his kingdom via pollution from the surface. He seems like a character who could really put the majority of the human race into perspective with the MCU, since in the other movies the villain is doing something blatantly evil for the sake of evil, and it's often hard to sympathize with their motives.people as a whole are usually the victims/a general population that needs protection from a villain doing something undeniably evil. He could be one of few villains in the MCU whose motives are relatable. – chrischan 4 years ago
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Which stories could Marvel bring to the screen next?

A speculative think piece, could be based partly on the trend for gritty TV shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones) as well as big blockbuster hits. Also the surprise hit with little known Guardians of the Galaxy. Could be fun to think on possible filming and casting choices too!

  • This is a very interesting topic! Could you please elaborate more on the thesis a little more? It's a bit vague. Would this concern the comic books, as well? Would it be a comparison of T.V. series vs. movie franchise? Also, your comment about Guardians of the Galaxy is a bit confusing, what do you mean by "surprise hit"? Please develop this thought a little more. Otherwise, good ideas! – Megan Finsel 5 years ago
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  • I think what makes Guardians of the Galaxy interesting is that it originated as a little-known comic and yet has been a really popular film, sorry I did not make that as explicit as I should have done.The overall idea is to use comics as source material and imagine whether they will / how they could be brought to the screen (this could be film or TV). – Camille Brouard 5 years ago
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  • They can bring ANYTHING they want to the screen! – IanB58 5 years ago
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  • I love this topic! It could work for TV shows, but since Marvel has literally every film from phase three already announced and basically ready to go -- this could be cool to think about phase four and what comics they could bring to the screen after these ones have concluded. – scole 5 years ago
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  • Yes, agreed there! – Camille Brouard 5 years ago
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Published

Teaching Social Studies through Graphic Novels and Marvel Films

Analyze the connections that can be made between many of Marvel’s films and topics present in High School Social Studies.

  • It would need to be distinguished which graphic novels and marvel films best cater towards specific social issues. – Ryan Errington 5 years ago
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  • i actually took a class like this in college about teaching graphic novels in the classroom and we worked on which ones would be best in the classroom, this could be really interesting – scoleman 5 years ago
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  • Might be helpful to narrow it down to a specific series of novels or a select few marvel stories/movies. At the moment it seems like a pretty broad range to work with, which could make the analysis a little jolted with so many options. – DaisySquires 5 years ago
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