Over the past decade or so, the major Hollywood studios have increased their output of superhero movies greatly, and not a summer goes by without a major motion picture adapted from a comic book superhero franchise. These movies almost always make the list of the top grossing films of the year, with profits well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. They are seen by millions, possibly even billions, around the globe.
By my count, there have been nearly 50 movies based on comic book superheroes since the turn of the millennium.
The last comic book superhero movie released by a major studio whose
LEAD character (not a sidekick) was black was back in 2004 -- nine years
ago -- with BLADE: TRINITY (if that even counts as a superhero movie)
and CATWOMAN starring Halle Berry. If you're discounting the Blade
movies, and regarding Catwoman as a spin-off from the Batman franchise,
and instead asking for the most recent movie to introduce a leading
black superhero before 2004, you'd have to go all the way back to 1997,
with the release of the movie STEEL starring Shaquille O'Neal. In other
words, the last major movie to introduce a black superhero is now older
than the average superhero movie fan.
The last movie to star a
female superhero was ELEKTRA from 2005 -- eight years ago. That and
CATWOMAN were the only woman-led superhero movies to come out since
X-MEN kickstarted the current wave back in 2000. In other words, by the
time of the release of the new Superman vs. Batman movie, there will
have been twice as many movies starring a single male character (Batman)
then there will have been starring an individual of the gender that
makes of 50% of the planet.
You might be reading this, saying,
"But Michael, no ones care about the female or nonwhite superheroes!
They're not good characters! The studios only make movies about popular,
famous characters, like Batman and Superman!"
Yes, because people were *clamoring* for GHOST RIDER. And GHOST RIDER 2.
And JONAH HEX.
And the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.
And KICK-ASS. And KICK-ASS 2, evidently.
And THE GREEN HORNET.
Can any of you out there who aren't huge comic book fans genuinely say
that you were big Iron Man fans before Robert Downey Jr. stepped into
And can any of you honestly say that you've never heard of the *totally obscure* character Wonder Woman?
And if you say, what does it matter, they're just movies -- think about
the effect that movies have on kids and teenagers, who are probably the
main audience for superhero movies. Think about how people are still
religiously obsessed with STAR WARS even though there hasn't been an all
around solid Star Wars movies since Jimmy Carter was President. Think
about how kids look up to superheroes, how they see them as role models,
how they want to be like them. Nonwhite kids who go to the movies have
no superhero out there that looks like them. White kids have dozens.
Girls have no superhero out there that looks like them. Boys have dozens
If you think that doesn't matter, then I don't know what to tell you... you probably shouldn't be checking out this blog in that case, as I'm not interested in having readers who don't think films or the film industry matter. They can go to the IMDb message boards and hear their own fan-boy opinion parroted back at them if that's what they prefer.