I came across this essay recently on “The Power of Our New Pop Myths,” which makes the argument that franchise-based storytelling in the style of Star Wars or Marvel is popular because it fulfils the same societal needs that have historically been filled by religious storytelling. There is something to the argument – it is true that we treat many of these popular tales in a similar way to how the Greeks interacted with stories of the Trojan War, or how the Icelandic peoples interacted with the Volsunga Saga.

While it is an interesting piece, I found the argument is overstated. There are stylistic similarities, and those may contribute to the popularity of franchise storytelling, but I do not think that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at the point of supplanting religious storytelling in the cultural zeitgeist. For now, such stories remain in the realm of culture, not something that forms the core of a civilization. Maybe that will evolve in the coming decades, but there is something vaguely dystopian about replacing the complex, contradictory, organic, and deeply rooted stories of religion, whether in the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, or any other text, with mass-produced entertainment.

Perhaps I should reflect at greater length on these thoughts, but this post is just to share the article. Whether you agree with its claims or not, I think you will find it thought-provoking.

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