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University of Baltimore to Offer Course on Marvel Movies

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, from left: Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt, 2014.
Disney Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

"Media Genres: Media Marvels" will show how Marvel's films have shed insight on modern culture

American colleges already offer beer studies and video game scholarships, but the University of Baltimore is adding the latest addition to a growing list of liberal arts perks: a class on Marvel movies.

The course, offered in the spring, will focus on how films like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy shed insight on modern culture, according to a press release. The course will analyze how the history of heroism and adventure has translated into Marvel Studios’ big-screen franchises, as well as why viewers are so drawn to its films.

“One thing we’ll do is dive into the impact of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, which proved 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,” said Arnold T. Blumberg, who will teach the course, in a press release. “It’s not that they’re getting away with it—they’ve created a universe in which fans completely accept these developments, and they’re ready for even more.”

This will not be the first time that a piece of recent filmmaking gets collegiate treatment–Rutgers and Harvard both famously offered courses on David Simon’s acclaimed HBO show–coincidentally set in Baltimore–The Wire.

Blumberg stresses that academic study in this cause would be focused on the phenomenon of Marvel’s success itself–the studio’s stream of blockbusters, which, given that Marvel has mapped out its schedule until 2028 and assigned release dates through 2019, shows no signs of stopping.

“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 said.

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