How Marvel Studios Is An Unlikely Ally To The Black Community
The studio is leading the way for black representation in Hollywood!
Like the next person, I love my share of superhero movies. The Dark Knight trilogy gives me chills each time I rewatch it, Guardians of the Galaxy is my go-to movie when I want a good laugh and I still can’t get over how amazing Wonder Woman was.
With that being said, I also appreciate—no, expect—representation in the movies I pay to see. As a black man, I enjoy being able to see people that look like me in these movies, to see people whose skin is as black as mine, whose hair is the same texture.
Marvel Studios is paving the way for black representation in the insanely-profitable area of blockbuster, superhero films.
For some time now, black people have dominated a small section of Hollywood, our movies have fit comfortably within a niche market. However, recent films like Get Out, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures have seen us move away from the sidelines where we have thrived. And our movies are beginning to become mainstream box-office successes and critical Oscar darlings.
The explosive success of the black film industry in recent times is of course thanks to our talent as actors, directors and writers, but it is also because of major movie studios, like Marvel, giving us a chance to put our talent on display.
After seeing Spiderman: Homecoming, I’ve realized that we owe some of our success to the studios who give us the platform we need to shine. Spiderman: Homecoming is the most diverse superhero film I’ve seen to date. I was in awe watching the film. Not only did the non-speaking extras vary in their ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations, but the main cast itself did also. Much of the film took place in the New York City borough of Queens, and the film captures the city’s vibrant culture "to a T." Spiderman: Homecoming featured POC like Donald Glover, Abraham Attah, Tony Revolori, Laura Harrier, Bokeem Woodbine and Zendaya in prominent, likable roles. Furthermore, it was confirmed in the film that Zendaya is indeed the new Mary Jane, so it’s likely we’ll see more of her in future MCU films as Peter Parker’s love interest. Spiderman: Homecoming is the rare super-hero film that both entertained me as a casual moviegoer, and made me proud as a minority.
Spiderman: Homecoming was originally pegged at having a $90 million opening weekend, but instead it opened far above early estimates with a whopping $117 million. The success of Spiderman: Homecoming cannot be overlooked. It proves that diversity in Hollywood doesn’t have to be forced and it can be portrayed in films in a way that is organic and respectful.
Next year, Marvel plans to continue with this trend of diverse, fun movies with its release of the hotly-anticipated Black Panther movie. The film is based off the superhero comic of the same name and sports a cast so black, you’d think it was a Tyler Perry movie!
The film stars, in main roles: Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Chadwick Boseman, as the titular character. Black Panther is the very first movie of its kind to have a main cast that is predominately black, and I am so here for it!
For the better part of this past decade, Marvel's films haven’t ventured very far away from their usual formula. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the rest have all featured a white male lead with a white female love interest, and a white supporting cast. To see a film like Spiderman: Homecoming was refreshing, to say the least, and to see it do so well with audiences and critics makes me hopeful for what Hollywood, especially Marvel, churns out in the future.