In the recent Captain America movie, in between fights and explosions there was a throwaway reference to Tony Stark, AKA Ironman. It was just one example of how certain superhero movies aren’t stand-alone experiences, but are meant to exist in an alternate universe in which every superhero is friends (or frenemies) with every other caped crusader. It’s the Marvel Universe, and it’s complex enough that it apparently deserves a college course of its own.
This spring, the University of Baltimore’s Arnold T. Blumberg will offer “Media Genres: Media Marvels,” a course on Marvel superhero movies, from oldies like 2008’s Iron Man to this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. While the school has never offered a class that focuses solely on comic book movies before, it does have a substantial courselist relating to contemporary culture; you can even minor in pop culture at UB.
But what can students expect to learn from studying Marvel movies in a college-level class? “This series not only provides action-packed entertainment but also profound statements about the nature of heroism, the great responsibilities that come with wielding great power, our willingness to trade freedom for security, and much more,” Blumberg says.
Watching superhero movies for homework sure does sound pretty fun. “Profound”? I’m not so sure.
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