Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Communication Studies (CMST)

First Advisor

Patricia Oliver, M.A.


A generative analysis of six films from 2011, calculated to have reached the largest audience of all that year's films, revealed a pattern of vigilante behavior among the movie's male protagonists. Through analysis of the major characters' performances of the masculine gender in each of the films (Fast Five, The Hangover Part II, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Thor, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), three distinct categories of behavior were identified as central to the characters' successful performances of their masculine gender identities rooted in vigilante behavior. A vigilante is defined as a person who takes the law into his or her own hands, acting violently in an effort to avenge a crime. In line with this cultural understanding of what defines a vigilante figure, the three categories of behavior identified and analyzed within the film characters' performances of masculinity are as follows: acting outside the parameters of sanctioned, lawful procedures, being motivated by a desire for revenge, and the employment of violence. This thesis examines the performances of vigilante masculinity in modern media, specifically recent popular film, and unpacks the implications of such performances for modern American men and boys.