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The Superhero Film (Genre Studies)

1st attempt
by

James Bogdanski

on 12 November 2013

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Transcript of The Superhero Film (Genre Studies)

The Basics
The Superhero Film
What is Genre?
Genre is a pattern that gets repeated and changed.
It allows the genre film to communicate info quickly and economically
Audiences expect genre films to offer something familiar but also demand fresh variations

The Economics of Predictability:
The Production, Regulation, and Distribution of materials in ways that anticipate the desire for those materials and the efficient delivery of them.
Fordism
Based on the automobile assembly lines of the inventor and businessman Henry Ford (founder of Ford Motors), and later adopted by Hollywood, this method creates specialized areas of film production.
Mythology
A genre's mythology governs its ideology and unifies it thematically.
narrative structure = mythology
Conventions
Character types, settings, plots.

E.g. Protagonist born or receives miraculous powers (not allowed to squander them), secret identity in danger of being compromised, city threatened.
Iconography
Image patterns that are consistent over a genre.
Expectations
These dictate a lot about how we feel about a genre movie when we walk out.
These can be reacting to something in the culture.
Filmmakers can subvert expecations.
Genre hybridity
horror/superhero "Spawn"
comedy/superhero "Mystery Men"
family/superhero "Megamind"
Sub-genres
the team movie "Avengers", "Justice League," "X-Men", etc.
Conventions
Secret Identity
Villain with evil plan
Doomsday Device
"Good Deeds"
Damsel in Distress
Displays of strength
And costumes, costumes, everywhere costumes!
Accessories
Thor's hammer, Captain America's shield, Batman's utility belt, Green Lantern's ring, Wonder Woman's lasso, Iron Man's suits
Origin Story
Genre Stages
The Experimental Stage
The conventions, iconography, and myth have not yet been refined and codied into a standard, recognizable set of defining generic characteristics.
The Classical Stage
Films in this stage uphold the myth, and demonstrate the recognizable iconography and conventions of the genre, which have been clearly established.
The Post-classical Stage
Is the myth really true?
Are there problems with this myth?
Films in this stage of the genre cycle question the purity of the myth.
In the end, the myth is questioned but still upheld.
The Revisionist Stage
During this stage, the myth is subverted; found to be false.

The film becomes aware of the artificiality of conventions.
The Moment of Transformation
The Unmasking
conventions = form (story elements)
Full transcript