Extrapolation

The Post-Oedipal Desire for the Superhero Narrative in M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable

Extrapolation (2012), 53, (1), 25–43.

Abstract

M. Night Shyalaman's Unbreakable may have departed too far from superhero film conventions to be successful in the box office, but the film nonetheless foregrounds why the superhero narrative itself carries such profound psychological appeal. Rather than relying on special effects and high action to merely replicate traditional comic book stories, Shyamalan juxtaposes self-reflexive discussions about the superhero mythos against a much more subtle diegesis that ultimately bears out that same fantastic narrative. In doing so, the film not only complicates the genre of the superhero film but offers a necessary reflection on the psychological significance of the superhero mythos and its promise of ideological stability for fractured, post-Oedipal subjects.

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Seas, Kristen