Weekly News

This Masterful Video Essay Explores Symbolism in Marvel Films From Iron Man to Repo Man

July 17,2016 08:22

Slate (well, honestly, it was just me) has written about the Why is Cinema series before, but this episode deserves special praise for exploring the lesser-known films of the MCU, like Repo Man, Yes Man, and of course, Fun 9/11. Carpenter makes a ...and more »



By Matthew Dessem

Robert Downey Jr. symbolizing things in Captain America: Civil War.Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is unanimously acknowledged to be the apotheosis of filmmaking, the lens through which all past and future achievements must be judged. But despite nearly two decades of revolutionary cinematic achievements (and no end in sight!) there’s been relatively little serious critical appraisal of the complicated signs and symbols that make the MCU films such a rich canvas. That critical drought ended Friday, when Cameron Carpenter released his new Why is Cinema video essay: “Symbolism in Marvel Films.”

Slate (well, honestly, it was just me) has written about the Why is Cinema series before, but this episode deserves special praise for exploring the lesser-known films of the MCU, like Repo Man, Yes Man, and of course, Fun 9/11. Carpenter makes a meticulous case, based on almost no evidence, that Captain America is a stand-in for Satan, squaring off in his eternal battle against Iron Man’s Holy Spirit.  And yet the essay still makes more sense than most MCU fan theories, or, indeed, the films themselves. So in these troubled times, with no Marvel film in theaters, enjoy this wonderful tribute to “the finest symbolic movies ever made for their use of symbolism.” Just try to hold it together when Chris Evans is on screen.

slate

Share this article

DON'T MISS THIS STORIES