Students Analyze U.S. Presidential Hopefuls Through Pop-Culture Trend

Published on May 29, 2016

Superhero movies have been increasingly popular in recent years. Iron Man (2008), The Amazing Spider Man (2012), Ant-Man (2015), and Captain America: Civil War (2016) and at least 10 movieshave been planned for release in the next three years. The Marvel/DC Comic Universe is here to stay. The intensified hype around this enterprise was examined in Professor Nina Khrushcheva’s Spring 2016 class, Hollywood and the World.

Hillary’s Marvel alternate.

Deconstructing and explaining links between culture and politics is a central element of the course, which includes applying Hollywood tropes to the current political scene. Students chose presidential candidates and linked them to the Superhero pantheon counterparts, and while there were some differences, as the class began to discuss, some patterns started to emerge.

Student Mara Lipsou renders Sanders as Dr. X.

Hillary Clinton is deemed to be either the DC comics’ Wonderwoman or perhaps Captain Marvel herself for a number of reasons, among them her pursuit of peace through war, her all-American appearance, and her hand-to-hand combat experience. Bernie Sanders could pose as Captain America, although most likely he is Professor X, who fights against inequality and for coexistence between mutants and humans and believes that, ‘Any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.” 

Donald Trump is declared to be Hulk, while Ted Cruz is Dr. Strange. Trump is Hulk for his incessant muscle flexing, anger management problems, and the fact that he wields more power than anyone is comfortable with. Dr. Strange, aka Cruz, is a mastermind manipulator, the ultimate propagandist, who speaks to the public as if in an alternate reality where he has more power and leads the party. Ant-Man also indicated a pattern, with one student saying he was more like Ted Cruz and another thought him to be John Kasich, but for the same reason: his insignificance and lack of thrilling super powers.

 The exercise probed the class, why the current obsession with superheroes and how does this reflect the American political scene? Teasing out these inextricable links between Hollywood and politics tend to reveal how characters on the silver screen can pave the way for characters on the TV screen.
Student Oscar Romero fuses Trump with his alter-ego, Hulk.

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