That Makes Them Us: A Film Analytical Approach to the Dark Fantastic in Marvel's Eternals
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In a time that sees entries into the fantasy genre grow exponentially, a genre whose most essential premise it is to make nonfact appear as fact, it is of the utmost importance to take the potentially injurious social power of the fantasy genre seriously. This power shelters in the socially alienating practices that, according to Joshua David Bellin, make up the fabric of the fantasy tradition. In this thesis, I review Bellin's theory of alienating social practices, which involves framing marginalized groups as monstrous threats to the established social hierarchy, using Ebony Elizabeth Thomas' framework of the Dark Fantastic to provide a contemporary case study. As one of the biggest producers of fantasy today, my case comes from Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the film Eternals, which is praised for being the most diverse entry into the MCU to date. However, despite its promising cast, a deconstruction of the film’s monsters reveals the film as a project of tokenism that uses an intersectionally diverse cast and crew members as a stand-in for structural change to genre conventions.