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Gil Birmingham (Cory) and Jeremy Renner (Martin) in Wind River: grieving fathers who come together in the realm of the dead. Production Co: Acacia Filmed Entertainment, Film 44, Ingenious Media

Friday essay: journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety

American cinema mines Greek myth most strongly at times of profound social anxiety. In the age of Trump, we are already seeing key political battlegrounds framed as underworld quests in film.
A scene from The Mummy: the first in a Dark Universe multi-film franchise that will include characters such as Frankenstein’s monster, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Universal Pictures

Will the superhero films ever end? The business of blockbuster movie franchises

The new mummy film is the latest foray into 'shared universes', the seemingly critic-proof movie juggernauts that have come to dominate our cinemas.
The first issue of Black Panther, a Marvel series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, was released last month. Marvel Comics

Why the stakes are so high for the Black Panther

In the entertainment industry, the success or failure of a minority lead can be a referendum on whether or not to use diverse leads for future projects.
Captain America (Chris Evans) takes on a political crisis – and some beautifully choreographed fight scenes – in Captain America: Civil War. Supplied

How Captain America: Civil War echoes our political anxieties

Superhero movies – at their best – reflect the political concems of our time. Captain America: Civil War is a two-and-a-half hour, action-packed critique of post-9/11 government overreach.
The ubiquitous superhero finally seems to be growing up and moving on. Eneas De Troya

What superheroes looked like in 2015

It was the year of the grown-up superhero. Dark, witty and complex, superheroes on the big and small screen have – mostly – matured past mindless violence.
Superman’s over the hill. 'Superhero' via www.shutterstock.com

The twilight of the superhero?

The flop of the Fantastic Four seems to suggest that viewers are more eager to embrace characters who reflect our inherently flawed humanity.
The Guardians of the Galaxy – whose protagonists are a morally-gray motley crew – could be seen as a satire of the classic hero tradition. BagoGames/Flickr

Guardians of the Galaxy and the fall of the classic hero

A beautiful assassin. A superstrong thug. A star-lost child of the ‘80s. A sentient tree. A gun-toting raccoon. Meet the morally gray protagonists of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the film that raked…
When superheroes die on the page, fans have learned not to mourn their deaths. FRacco/Wikimedia Commons

Wolverine’s dead! (well, for now)

Among comic book fans, there’s the joke that the only characters in superhero comics who stay dead are Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, Batman’s parents, and Captain America’s sidekick Bucky. For everybody else…

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