Throughout my time in college, I took a fair share of courses that made my parents (rightfully) ashamed. There was ‘Into the Apocalyptic Dreamscape,’ ‘Into The Postcolonial Landscape,’ and ‘Feminist Medieval Dream Poetry,’ where my brain – and my personality – actually bottomed out. But now the University of Baltimore has one-upped us all with a course on the Marvel movies, alliteratively titled: “Media Genres: Media Marvels.”
According to The Guardian, the course will examine our culture’s relationship to the Marvel enterprise, through an in-depth analysis of Groot dancing and a statistical survey of talking raccoons. From Professor Arnold Blumberg, who’ll be teaching the course:
“One thing we’ll do is dive into the impact of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, which proves two things: Mainstream movie audiences are not remotely tired of superhero movies’ and Marvel Studios can now release a sci-fi adventure that actually features talking trees and raccoons.”
“The course will examine how Marvel’s series of interconnected films and television shows, plus related media and comic book sources and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the ‘hero’s journey,’ offer important insights into modern culture.”
Will the course be illustrative? Unbearable? Probably a bit of both. Even though the Marvel franchise hasn’t produced great works of art, the movies’ popularity is still worth examining. There’s a reason why certain films take hold at certain points in time. Maybe, in an age of stagnant wages and persistent unemployment, we need traditional masculine heroes to rescue us from inertia. Maybe we need wars we can win, enemies we can identify, heroes we can count on. Maybe we just like Chris Pratt.
“Media Genres: Media Marvels” will be offered spring of next year. The course will also examine Thor, the Hulk, and Captain America. Together, the series has made over seven billion dollars. Graduates of the course are not expected to find a job.