“2016: Age Of The On-Screen Black Superhero”

“Now that the long wait is over and fans can finally bask in the super-sized, superhero brawl that is Captain America: Civil War, some may overlook something really special about this movie.

It has three black superheroes on the front lines.

There’s Don Cheadle’s War Machine. Chadwick Boseman appears as Marvel’s first African superhero, the Black Panther. And Anthony Mackie returns to a Captain America movie as the Falcon, asking Cap if he really wants to resist government control of superheroes.

“I just want to consider all our options,” Falcon says in a clip from Civil War that played endlessly in preview trailers and commercials. “Because people that shoot at you usually wind up shooting at me, too.”

Given all the criticism recent superhero movies have faced for featuring mostly white males, this may seem like a decisive rebuttal. But Nate Moore, an executive producer of the film, says the lineup of non-white superheroes was a coincidence of storytelling.

“I don’t think at any point did we feel, ‘Well this is going to seem like a political move on our part, or this is part of a larger trend,'” Moore says. “It’s sort of us as people in Hollywood catching up to the images people want to see.”

As Moore explains, movies the size of Civil War cost a lot — reported budget, $250 million — and getting Hollywood to believe that movies featuring superheroes of color could be successful on that level has taken time.  Moore says it was his idea to introduce the Falcon as Captain America’s best friend and backup in the previous movie, Winter Soldier. He had grown up reading comics featuring the two and always figured it was a natural pairing.

And he says Black Panther debuts in Civil War in a similarly pivotal role. He’s the ruler of a super high-tech African nation who stands equal to Iron Man and Captain America. That’s a level of independence we haven’t seen in black characters from recent big budget superhero movies…”



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