Date of Award
Critical geopolitics seeks to understand how we view the world, and popular film can be a key source in unveiling common fears and hopes of a particular time. in this thesis, I explore the portrayal of the world world and themes in 21st century spy film franchises to understand what worldviews are being reinforced and created through these films. Using the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, as my chief historical event of influence, I analyze spy films in the James Bond and Mission: Impossible film franchises to get a sense of how these films reflected and reproduced the popular ideologies of their time. Through the frameworks of critical and popular geopolitics, I provide a reading of these films’ ideologies that they portray through their visual cues to place and their thematic focuses and dialogue. I propose that these post-9/11 spy films handle the actual events of September 11, 2001, through subtext and similar imagery and that themes of the Cold War are still present in these films. Finally, I examine the role that non-national threats embody in these films. This work promotes the study of spy film as a "middle ground" that can bring together critical geopolitical work on fantastical superhero films and more realistic films, thus illuminating the semi-realistic worlds that popular spy film creates and the ideologies that can exist within them.
McCarthy, Caitlin Anne, "Critical Geopolitics and the Created Worlds of Post-9/11 Spy Film" (2023). Geography Undergraduate Senior Theses. 2.