Event Title

Indigenous Superheroism in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Location

King Building 237

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2019 5:20 PM

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between indigeneity and the superhero in Marvel Studios’ "Thor: Ragnarok" (2017), "Black Panther" (2018), and "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018). Critics have recognized the imperialist goals of the villains in "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Black Panther," but little critical attention has been brought to the imperialist rhetoric espoused by "Avengers: Infinity War" villain, Thanos (Josh Brolin). My research identifies how the indigenous backgrounds of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) prime them to become anti-imperialist superheroes. In centering indigeneity, these films develop the superhero film genre as a locus for critiquing the exceptionalism of the superhero character. In doing so, "Ragnarok," "Black Panther," and "Infinity War" advocate for a reconfiguration of superheroism that incorporates the experiential realities and histories of marginalized communities within the realm of fantasy.

Keywords:

Marvel Cinematic Universe, imperialism, indigeneity, superhero films, Thor, Black Panther, The Avengers, Cinema Studies, superhero studies

Notes

Session VI, Panel 16 - Cinema | Studies
Moderator: Joseph Lubben, Associate Professor of Music Theory

Major

Cinema Studies; English

Award

Oberlin College Research Fellowship

Advisor(s)

William Patrick Day, Cinema Studies and English

Project Mentor(s)

William Patrick Day, Cinema Studies and English

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Apr 27th, 4:00 PM Apr 27th, 5:20 PM

Indigenous Superheroism in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

King Building 237

The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between indigeneity and the superhero in Marvel Studios’ "Thor: Ragnarok" (2017), "Black Panther" (2018), and "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018). Critics have recognized the imperialist goals of the villains in "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Black Panther," but little critical attention has been brought to the imperialist rhetoric espoused by "Avengers: Infinity War" villain, Thanos (Josh Brolin). My research identifies how the indigenous backgrounds of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) prime them to become anti-imperialist superheroes. In centering indigeneity, these films develop the superhero film genre as a locus for critiquing the exceptionalism of the superhero character. In doing so, "Ragnarok," "Black Panther," and "Infinity War" advocate for a reconfiguration of superheroism that incorporates the experiential realities and histories of marginalized communities within the realm of fantasy.