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.
Not many younger comic book fans know this today, but back in the eighties and nineties, Spider-Man was basically Marvel’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. He was their mascot who often showed up just about everywhere and had a wider appeal with younger fans than most of the Marvel gallery. He was in “The Electric Company,” had his own TV crime thriller, and even adorned the logo for Marvel Productions in the 1980’s. With all the issues of trademarks and rights that kept him in limbo for a long time, Spider-Man is as popular as ever once again. He’s even winning Oscars! While I’m not a hardcore fan, I respect the character a great deal.
In honor of Spider Man Day, I list five of my favorite alternate costumes for the character. And that was no small feat, as Spider-Man has donned almost a hundred different costumes.
Spider-Man entrance in to the MCU has been a god send as Marvel had managed to touch on areas of the character that we haven’t seen before, while also fleshing out much if his universe and world. After the epics of “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Jon Watts’ “Far from Home” is a nice detour in to the MCU where the studio is able to book end their biggest event thus far. Closing out phase three of the MCU, “Far From Home” is a vastly superior film to “Homecoming” that benefits from the lack of Iron Man, believe it or not.
Before 1994 our only real animated Spider-Man fix was the 1981 series “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.” Intent on rethinking the Spider-Man mold for the nineties, FOX forked over a ton of money to New World Corporation (and then Saban) to create Spider-Man: The Animated Series. With a completely different animation style, and small uses of computer animation, “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” premiered in 1994 with the episode “Night of the Lizard” and managed to take off as a ratings boom for FOX in the wake of similar successes like “X-Men” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
“Endgame” accomplishes a grand feat. It’s not only a sequel that resolves just about every question we had with “Infinity War,” but it also acts as a wonderful book end to the first ten years of Marvel movies. This movie is a kind of “What If?” if you will, and I loved how the Russo Brothers don’t just make good on closing the epic saga of the infinity stones, but also have some fun tinkering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe established by folks like Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau prior. It’s a marvelous and brilliant compilation of everything we love about this cinematic universe, plus a dramatic pay off for folks that have come to fall in love with these heroes and villains for of all these years.
Miles Morales was introduced to the Marvel universe in 2011, established in the alternate label the “Ultimate” universe. When that universe’s Peter Parker died, Miles stepped up to become Spider-Man. Since then Morales has become one of the banner Spider-Man iterations that have taken on the mantle of the hero. Morales wasn’t just welcomed in to the primary Marvel universe, but he’s managed to become just as popular as Peter Parker and the original Spider-Man. Some fans will even argue he’s better than Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. It’s general sentiment that’s been accepted by many because Spider-Man is not a person, it’s a movement. It’s a movement where literally anyone can wear the mask and strive for the same goals Peter Parker did.
Having seen mostly independent films and foreign releases, making a top 10 of mainstream, theatrically released films is practically impossible. However, some of these films deserve to be recognized and seen. Here are my 5 favorites of the mainstream American films I’ve seen this year.
Director Jon Watts handles the element of Peter Parker’s life that the previous “Spider-Man” iterations didn’t, offering a compelling coming of age high school drama, whose main character is a super powered being trying to live up to impossible standards. When we meet Peter Parker, he’s a typical teenager vlogging his experience in “Civil War” where he brushed up against a slew of heavy hitting superheroes in an effort to help Tony Stark. When the movie begins Peter is returned to Queens to go back to being just a teenager who happens to be Spider-Man. Peter is a young man always trying to do what’s right and noble, he’s the true underdog of the Marvel Universe.