Hollywood’s live-action superhero films currently dominate the worldwide box-office, with the characters enjoying more notoriety through their feature film and television depictions than they have ever before. This book argues that this immense popularity reveals deep cultural concerns about politics, gender, ethnicity, patriotism and consumerism after the events of 9/11. Superheroes have long been agents of hegemony, fighting for abstract ideals of justice while overall perpetuating the American status quo. Yet at the same time, the book explores how the genre has also been utilized to question and critique these dominant cultural assumptions.
Introduction: The Live Action Superhero Genre
1. Hollywood Superheroes: Commercial Economy, Spectacle and the Universe
2. Supermen and Wonder Women: Gender Ideals and Live-Action Superheroes
3. Superheroes Rewriting 9/11 and Remasculinizing America
4. America, Nostalgia and Exceptionalism
5. Diversity and Marginalization
6. Spoofs, Parody and Camp
Conclusion: Superhero Fatigue?