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School of Arts and Media

Dr Martin Flanagan

Lecturer in Film Studies


My research explores the cultural functions, textual strategies and interpretive modes of contemporary film, increasingly focusing on the intersection with comics. I am also developing the comics theme within my teaching at Salford.

My Ph.D thesis (Sheffield) evaluated the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin as a framework for understanding the narrative dynamics and ideological implications of Hollywood texts, arguing that concepts such as chronotope and dialogism can reinvigorate disciplinary thinking around spectatorship, narrative and genre. This led to my 2009 monograph (with Palgrave Macmillan). A series of articles in journals and edited collections also emerged from my work around Bakhtin. I was invited by editors Edward Branigan and Warren Buckland to contribute a Bakhtinian piece to The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory (2014).

My most recent major project is the co-authored book, The Marvel Studios Phenomenon, which Bloomsbury published in summer 2016. Academic attention has recently been given to issues of adaptation in Marvel texts, but this work has a different focus in that it reads the texts as defined by the particular industrial formation within which they have arisen. Understanding the new (to large-scale, mainstream film practice) aesthetic patterns brought by the ‘shared universe’ concept requires a holistic perspective encompassing transmedia modes of organisation, the thematics of superhero fiction, the role of fandom, and an understanding of business histories as they apply both to Hollywood and to comic publishing/intellectual property. The book has created a new set of film readings, and provides a cogent assessment of the studio’s long term plans (as well as probing its identity within the structures of parent organisation Disney). Related to this work on Marvel, I have recently presented on a British comics theme to ‘Transitions’ conference (part of the London Comica Festival).


I teach both ‘Critical Approaches’ modules in the first year, as well as modules focusing on American Cinema, Film History and Film Theory.

Research Interests


(Hollywood, particularly action cinema; the blockbuster; Westerns, technology, industry and studios)




Mikhail Bakhtin/ Bakhtinian theory and film

Qualifications and Memberships

Society of Cinema and Media Studies


2000 – only:


  • Bakhtin and the Movies: New Ways of Understanding Hollywood Film (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)


  • Martin Flanagan, Mike McKenny and Andy Livingstone. The Marvel Studios Phenomenon: Inside a Transmedia Universe (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)


  • ‘”The Hulk, an Ang Lee Film”: Notes on the Blockbuster Auteur’ in New Review of Film and Television Studies 2:1 (2004). 19-35
  • ‘Process of Assimilation: Rodriguez and Banderas, from El Mariachi to Desperado’ in IXQUIC: A Journal of Hispanic Studies, 3 (December 2001). 41-59


  • ‘The Necessity of Dark Places: Polyphony in David Mamet’s House of Games’ in Mykola Polyuha, Clive Thomson and Anthony Wall (eds) Dialogues with Bakhtinian Theory: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Mikhaïl Bakhtin Conference  (London, Ontario: Mestengo Press, 2012). 205-24
  • ‘”Continually in the Making”: Spider-Man’s New York’ in Robert G. Weiner and Robert M. Peaslee (eds) Web-spinning Heroics: Critical essays on the History and Meaning of Spider-Man (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland Publishing, 2012). 40-52
  •  ‘”Everything a Lie”: The Critical and Commercial Reception of The Thin Red Line’, in Hannah Patterson (ed.) The Cinema of Terrence Malick: Poetic Visions of America. Second Edition (London: Wallflower Press, 2007). 125-40
  • ‘Teen Trajectories in Spider-Man and Ghost World’, in Ian Gordon, Mark Jancovich and Matthew P. McAllister (eds) Film and Comic Books (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007). 137-59
  • ’Fighting to be Seen: Looking for Women in the West’ in Silke Andris and Ursula Frederick (eds) Women Willing to Fight (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2007). 112-27
  • ‘“Get Ready for Rush Hour”: The Chronotope in Action’, in Yvonne Tasker (ed.) Action and Adventure Cinema (London: Routledge, 2004). 103-118