Religion in the Age of Superheros: An Examination of Consecration and Exemplarity in Hollywood


  • Noor Ahmad Pitafi G2314921


Hollywood in the Twenty-first Century, Secularism and Movies, Good and Evil, Religion and Popular Culture, social media and Superheroes


Twenty-first-century cinema has witnessed a sharp rise in the production of movies based on mythological stories. The increased appetite for mythological content, which transcends race, colour, or creed, has helped shape new genres and academic curricula.  At the centre of this trend is the concept of a superhero. The superhero embodies virtue combined with a perfect balance of traits that an average human being cannot achieve, as a mythical figure above the vagaries of emotion or weakness, who is a fighter for social justice and can single-handedly tackle internal and external threats. When first transposed from a classical to a contemporary prototype about a century ago, the modern superhero personified secular humanism as an ideal; however, recent enactments display a more succinct construct empowered by Biblical overtones. This paper explores why religion is making inroads into what has remained chiefly an areligious ideal in the modern world. Furthermore, the paper explores why a towering avatar of excellence epitomises secular virtue while embellished with legendary forms of valour entrenched in faith. The paper argues that the revival of modern-day exemplarity reflects a profoundly religious inclination of Western society. Despite its outward orientation, Western society harbours a metaphysical valuation of self. It may be that in the absence of an indispensable ethical or social figure, the superhero archetype underlines its yearning for a flawless role model.  The methodology for this article is descriptive and analytical and based on the corpi of contemporary sociological and political texts.




How to Cite

Pitafi, N. A. (2023). Religion in the Age of Superheros: An Examination of Consecration and Exemplarity in Hollywood. IIUM JOURNAL OF HUMAN SCIENCES, 5(2), 16–30. Retrieved from