In 2018, Black Panther made cinematic history as the first superhero film nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. More importantly, it brought black culture and expression to mainstream audiences, which was very profitable as the film grossed over a billion dollars and helped some audience members finally feel represented. Despite Black Panther groundbreaking success, black superhero movies are actually nothing new.
The superhero movie from a black perspective has been around for decades with varying results, but recently they have had more mainstream success. Not all films are about the hero who must save the world, but rather protect their communities and help the forgotten and disenfranchised citizens.
ten Steel (1997) – 12%
After coming out of the failed Kazaam, basketball star Shaquille O’Neal took another shot at being a movie star with, sadly, similar results. Back then, Hollywood didn’t produce a lot of superhero movies outside of the Batman series, but Warner Bros. decided to take a Superman character side and give him his own film.
More grounded than his comic book counterpart, John Henry Irons, wears armor to keep advanced weapons from falling into the wrong hands. The film was a critical and commercial flop, although critics praised Annabeth Gish as Steel’s wheelchair sidekick. Shaq wouldn’t be on the front page of another movie anymore.
9 Abar, the first black superman (1977) – 17%
Abar, the first black superman is the first on-screen portrayal of a black superhero. After experiencing racism in his neighborhood, a scientist gives his bodyguard an elixir that turns him into a superhero. He then takes revenge on a racist white neighborhood using super strength and telekinetic powers.
A bar was a low-budget blaxploitation film, known for its cheesy dialogue, wooden role-playing, and mediocre special effects, but known to be a political expression of the era that has become more prescient than ever.
8 Spawn (1997) – 17%
Based on one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, Michael Jai White stars as Spawn of Todd McFarlane, a murdered soldier who essentially makes a deal with the devil to lead his army in exchange for his return. with his wife on Earth. However, when Spawn returns, he uses his newfound powers for good rather than evil.
Critics and audiences alike praised the visuals and styling of the film as well as John Leguizamo’s performance as the Clown. It did slightly well for an R-rated superhero movie, and despite the mixed response from a critical and commercial standpoint, it’s gained a cult following and a sequel or reboot has been in the works for years.
7 Blankman (1994) – 19%
After the murder of his grandmother, a nerdy, childish repairman tries to be a superhero to transform his downtown neighborhood. He wears a sheet for a cape and uses his technical abilities to create weapons, gadgets, and even a robot. The comedy stars Damon Wayans as amateur superhero, Blankman and David Alan Grier as his cynical brother.
The film was co-written by Wayans and it uses the homemade superhero angle to its comedy advantage. Something hadn’t been done until then. Sadly, the film was a critical and box office disappointment. However, it won a sequel on home video.
6 Meteor Man (1993) – 29%
Robert Townsend is an acclaimed stand-up comedian-turned-director who detailed the black Hollywood experience by Hollywood shuffle as well as in the music industry in The five heartbeats. In 1993, he made the first true black superhero movie since A bar with The Meteor Man. The story revolves around a schoolteacher whose neighborhood is invaded by gangs. After being struck by a meteor, he is endowed with great superhuman powers which he uses to fight gangs, shut down crack houses, prevent thefts, keep the peace between police and criminals, and overall improve their community.
The film had a star cast which included James Earl Jones, Sinbad, Don Cheadle and many more. Marvel Comics even produced a comic book based on the film, and although the film was neither a critical nor commercial success, it gained a cult following and Robert Townsend would end up directing episodes of the recent superhero show. black CW. Black Lightning.
5 Hancock (2008) – 41%
Originally envisioned as a much darker drama film called Tonight he is coming, Hancock went from the hands of Michael Mann to the hands of director Peter Berg and moved to a more comedic tone. Hancock tells the story of an angry, frustrated, alcoholic, and self-destructive superhero whose attempts at heroism do more harm than good.
The film stars Will Smith as the embittered superhero who gets an image upgrade from someone he saves, played by Jason Bateman. The film was a huge financial success, but critics criticized the humor, logic, and failed attempts to make the film’s clever premise come true. However, Hancock remains one of the few superhero movie hits that isn’t based on pre-existing material.
4 Blade (1998) – 56%
Based on one of Marvel Comics’ mid-level superheroes, Wesley Snipes stars as Blade, a half-human, half-vampire who hunts other vampires. Despite being rated R, the film was a box office success, while critically it was viewed as more style than substance. The producers were worried, because at the time, non-Batman superhero movies weren’t doing well and the latter two with a black lead, Steel and Spawn, had flopped, but Blade turned out to be a surprise success.
The public mistakenly thinks the 2000s are more common X Men was the start of the new wave of comic book movies, but it actually started earlier with Blade. For Blade took a comic book story and gave it a new twist, which paved the way for the rest. The film has spawned two sequels and a reboot is underway.
3 Sleight (2016) – 78%
Made on a budget of only $ 250,000, Sleight tells the story of a young street magician, Bo, who uses his magnetic tricks against the drug dealers who kidnapped his sister. The film is unique in that it takes Batman’s helpless approach, as the hero, Bo, does not gain powers from some sort of accident, but instead develops him using his intelligence and intelligence skills. engineering.
Sleight premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where Blumhouse acquired and distributed the film. Finally, Sleight recovered $ 4 million from a budget of $ 250,000. Critics praised the film for subverting expectations and defying convention by creating a unique, grounded and urban version of the genre.
2 Fast Color (2018) – 81%
Quick color takes place in a future Midwest where a young woman with supernatural powers flees home to her family while being sued for her potentially dangerous abilities. The film premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival, followed by a limited release.
Critics praised the film for the performance of Gugu Mbatha-Raw and the inspiring story. Quick color is another example of taking the superhero genre and grounding it in reality in order to tell a different story than the Marvel or DC movies. In this case, audiences appreciated the film for being a metaphor for women having to hide their strengths and to show that this strength is amplified when combined with the strengths of women working together. Currently, a sequel of TV series is in development for Amazon.
1 Black Panther (2018) – 96%
Written and directed by Fruitvale Station and Creed director Ryan Coogler, and starring the late Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther burst onto the screen in 2018 where it was a huge critical and commercial success. Ultimately, it would go down in history to be the first superhero film nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture.
Based on the Marvel comic and set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther concerns T’Challah, the new king of Wakanda whose ascension to the throne is threatened by an outsider angered by Wakanda’s absence from the world. Perhaps the most introspective Marvel film to date, commenting on the experience of black people, including their struggles, tradition and, even, their place in the world today. Besides the themes, Black Panther is visually unique, displaying aspects of Afrofuturism never before seen in mainstream films. Due to the huge success of the film, a sequel is planned, however, due to the sudden passing of Chadwick Boseman, T’Challah will not include.
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