Love & Romance in 21st-Century Hollywood Superhero Films

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Superhero films and media culture constitute America’s contemporary mythology, taking elements from world cultures and mythologies to combine/remake them in fictional worlds heavily influenced by science-fiction and technological advancement. Since 2000, more than eighty Hollywood films and several TV shows focused on superheroes have appeared in the U.S. – and all of them include themes of romantic and other types of love. Yet, this topic remains almost entirely unexplored in the scholarly literature on superheroes and comics culture. Why is love so important to superheroes, and furthermore, what is “love” in the superhero universe? How realistic are these images of love, partnership, and family that today reach a massive audience and gross billions of dollars in the movie industry? This project explores the 21st-century Hollywood superhero film in terms of popular media myths about love and romance, as well as themes and qualities of love specific to the superhero genre. Issues of gender and spectatorship are also considered.



LARC projects superheroes love romance media gender film