The Chicago Project on Security and Threat, which analyzed more than 1400 videos made by the group between 2013 and 2016, concluded ISIS videos followed the same storytelling arc as action hero movies.
“It’s the heroic screenplay journey, the same thing that’s in Wonder Woman, where you have someone who is learning his or her own powers through the course of their reluctant journey to be hero,” director of the security center Robert Pape told the Associated Press.
Pape explained the group had “figured out” how to get Westerners on-side as potential recruits; minimalizing the role religion plays in attracting people to the group and suggesting Western ideals are being played up by the group in order to appeal to a Western audience.
“This is a journey like Clint Eastwood,” Pape told AP, citing 1970s flick High Plains Drifter as an example of a heroic story that focuses on the hero rather than the cause.
“When Clint Eastwood goes in to save the town, he’s not doing it because he loves them. He even has contempt for the people he’s saving. He’s saving it because he’s superior,” Pape said, explaining such a motive would explain why some Western recruits to ISIS have a limited religious background or knowledge.