Supervillians: A Reflection of Terrorists

Main Article Content

Nuttawuthi Nakong
Preeda Akarachantachote


In recent years, superhero films have dominated the global film market. Film, as a form of media, proves an efficacious communication tool. In addition, Hollywood has been overt in its use of terrorism in storytelling. Thus, a nuanced comprehension of the relationship between film and terrorism is crucial. Despite a significant amount of literature on this and related topics, only a few studies have managed to establish a clear relativity between terrorists and those posing violent threats in superhero films, the supervillains. This article, therefore, intends to forge a strong bond between supervillains and Terrorists. By utilizing concepts regarding terrorist’s ideologies, weapons, and prevalent terrorism myths by Richard Jackson and his colleagues in a textual analysis of six films [Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame, and Aquaman], profound implications between these two are revealed. These implications further disclose the supervillains’ internal ideological conflicts and nuances, mythologies inherent to their usage of terrorist weapons, and the hierarchy of their powers; all of which could address both infallible and flawed understandings of current literature on the topic.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details



Bainbridge, J. (2017). Beyond the Law: What is so 'Super' About Superheroes and Supervillains? International Journal for the Semiotics of Law(3), 367. doi:10.1007/s11196-017-9514-0

Boggs, C., & Pollard, T. (2006). Hollywood and the Spectacle of Terrorism. New Political Science, 28(3), 335-351.

Box Office Mojo. (2018). All time box office: Worldwide grosses. Retrieved October 3, 2020 from

Combs, C. C. (2018). Terrorism in the twenty-first century: New York ; London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2018. Eighth Edition.

Coogler, R. (2018). Black Panther. In K. Feige (Producer). USA: Walt Disney Studios.

Griset, P. L. (2008). Terrorism in perspective: London : Sage, 2008. 2nd ed.

Heather, S. G. (2014). Defining and Distinguishing Secular and Religious Terrorism. Perspectives on Terrorism, 8(2).

Holms, J. P., & Burke, T. (2001). Terrorism: New York : Pinnacle Books, c2001.

Iyer, A., Webster, J., Hornsey, M. J., & Vanman, E. J. (2014). Understanding the power of the picture: the effect of image content on emotional and political responses to terrorism. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44(7), 511–521.

Jackson, R., Jarvis, L., Gunning, J., & Smyth, M. (2011). Terrorism : a critical introduction. In. Basingstoke: Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.

Kattelman, K. T. (2020). Assessing success of the Global War on Terror: terrorist attack frequency and the backlash effect. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 13(1), 67–86.

MacFarlane, J. S. (2014). Desperate times and desperate measures: false-representation and distortion of terrorism in post-9/11 superhero films. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 7(3), 446.

Martin, G. (2011). Essentials of terrorism : concepts and controversies: Los Angeles : SAGE, c2011. 2nd ed.

Reilly, S. K., Master’s Theses, & Dissertations. (2013). Superheros as Social Practice. Master’s Theses, Dissertations, Graduate Research and Major Papers Overview.

Riegler, T. (2014). "MIRRORING TERROR": THE IMPACT OF 9/11 ON HOLLYWOOD CINEMA. Imaginations Journal, 5(2), 103-119.

Ritchie, H. R., Max. (2019). Causes of death. Retrieved October 3, 2020 from

Russo, A., & Russo, J. (2016). Captain America: Civil War. In K. Feige (Producer). USA: Walt Disney Studios.

Russo, A., & Russo, J. (2018). Avengers: Infinity War. In K. Feige (Producer). USA: Walt Disney Studios.

Russo, A., & Russo, J. (2019). Avengers: Endgame. In K. Feige (Producer). USA: Walt Disney Studios.

Treat, S. (2009). How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Cynically ENJOY! The Post-9/11 Superhero Zeitgeist. Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies, 6(1), 103.

VanDerWerff, T. (2016). Superhero Moives Have Become An Endless Attempt To Rewrite 9/11. Retrieved October 3, 2020 from

Wan, J. (2018). Aquaman. In P. Safran & R. Cowan (Producer). USA: Warner Brothers Pictures.

Whedon, J. (2015). Avengers: Age of Ultron. In K. Feige (Producer). USA: Walt Disney Studios.