It’s Black History Month and we’re hoping to kick off a month of great articles and reviews celebrating Black culture in film, and pop culture. To help usher in the month, here is yet another installment of the “Minority Movie Heroes” series. As I’ve explained in the past, it’s hard to find actual heroes in film that are people of color whether African American, Latinx, Asian, et al. So, as with all the previous entries I scoured film as much as I could to feature five more minority movie heroes that deserve celebrating.
Miles Morales – In to the Spiderverse
This was only inevitable since Miles Morales has managed to rise in the ranks as one of the most popular Spider-Men in the comics, and now the movies. There’s just no resisting Morales, the Afro-Latino young superhero who manages to become Spider-Man alongside the OG Peter Parker. Morales is humble, likeable, charming, sympathetic, heroic, interesting and manages to build a wonderful dynamic with the people in his life. He’s the Spider-Man of the modern generation and I’m happy he’s been embraced by most (arguably all) of the Spider-Man fans.
Ethan Bishop – Assault on Precinct 13
Ethan Bishop is a hero of circumstance, but deep down he has to become a hero partially because he’s bound by duty, but also because he has help the people stuck in Anderson precinct with him,. The hordes of murderous gangsters lurking outside the precinct don’t care who Ethan Bishop is, or that he’s teamed with Napoleon Wilson. They just want vengeance at all cost, and they’re going to burn the whole precinct down with everyone inside. Bishop is a man who has to think quickly and make tough decisions that could mean life or death, and in the end he makes the tough choices that ultimately allow him to walk out of the precinct a hero and in one piece.
Spider – Return of the Living Dead
It might seem like Spider doesn’t do a lot here to warrant being a hero, but he does a lot hell of a lot more than a lot of the other survivors. When the shit hits the fan and the dead come clawing for brains, he’s very proactive in barricading rooms, attempting (and sadly failing) to flee the graveyard for help, and helping to fight off undead intruders. He even helps bring down Tarman, allowing the few survivors to go underground. There’s never an indication if Spider and the trio of survivors lived through the massive blast in the climax, but he was smart, and fought the good fight, either way.
“Reckless” Reggie – Friday the 13th, Part V: A New Beginning
Reggie gets lost in the list of Friday the 13th protagonists and is often ignored in favor of Tommy Jarvis. Sure he hasn’t had a large story line like Jarvis, but he did experience his own traumatic event that ended in the deaths of all his friends and his remaining family. In either case, while Reggie isn’t a hero in the conventional sense, he does a great job evading pseudo-Jason, and even aides in helping his guardian Pam in bringing him down and finishing his reign of terror. It’s a shame we never got to see Reggie in future sequels.
Michelle “MJ” Jones – Spider-Man: Homecoming/Spider-Man: Far from Home
Leave it to Zendaya to be apart of one of the more surprising, controversial twists of the newest Spider-Man movies. While many fans were expecting to meet classic MJ, the ginger haired bombshell, we instead got Michelle Jones. Technically she’s still an MJ, but she’s now a beautiful, brainy, African American who can keep up with anyone she meets, and manages to aide in the heroism of Spider-Man, whether she realizes it or not. It feels like MJ is shaping up to be the MCU’s version of Gwen Stacey, marking another tragedy for Peter Parker, but right now, she’s a great addition to the Spider-Man canon who I hope is added to the comics very soon. I’d take Michelle Jones over Mary Jane any day of the week.