Saban’s 2017 Power Rangers re-boot proudly has the teen-heroes fight representation as well as evil. A fresh take on the original as important changes are made to the team. Director Dean Israelite in an interview with Teen Vogue stated how important it was to make the film feel diverse with it’s new characters: “Not just diverse in terms of ethnicity, but diverse in terms of representing voices. We wanted to take a character like Billy and celebrate those abilities.”
Power Rangers has successfully pushed the boundaries. Encouraging audiencees to own who they are and stand up as individuals and be counted. Thankfully other superhero movies have broken a mould with their own characters. Let’s take a look at a few now.
When DC put Israeli actress, Gal Gadot, at the helm of a female-led super-hero flick as Wonder Woman, they made headlines. The first solo female led superhero film and it was a box-office success. Seeing women star in and taking control of a big scale action sequence is a new experience. A new fresh, invigorating change of pace not usually seen on the big screen. Wonder Woman wasn’t solely advertising a good looking woman fighting crime. The movie showed an independent lead character who was saving others whilst taking care of herself.
Deadpool is the character who said fuck you to superhero clichés. The R-rated Deadpool was so refreshing in it’s approach that it deserved every inch of success. Deadpool not only tells a story, but he breaks the 4th wall to bring us into his world just that little bit more. His witty quips, tongue in cheek crude humour and awesome action scenes make Deadpool a fan favourite. The laughs distract us from the darker moments of the film and the references to other movies warm the heart to this new character. Deadpool stands apart and maybe head and shoulders above the very crowded superhero market.
Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) pushes the boundaries of superhero ability in an extraordinary way. Lawyer by day, but a hero by night, he turns his disability into his power, adapting his blindness into a weapon. Without his ability to see his other senses become alert. He accepted his disability and altered his life accordingly. Daredevil raises awareness to those living with sight impairments and encourages stengthening those abilities rather than focusing on their limitations.
Introduced to the MCU off the back of Captain America: Civil War, the upcoming Black Panther movie is arguably the most important Marvel Studios film yet. The plot sends T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, back home to take his father’s place as King of Wakanda. Breaking away from the common Western stereotypes of Africa, the fictional nation, rich in technology and culture, is a welcomed and refreshing setting for a Hollywood blockbuster. The film will continue to break ground by empowering femininity through Black Panther’s all-female team of bodyguards. Whilst an additional layer of representation within these characters could see comic-book LGBT character, Ayo, become Marvel’s first explicitly gay big-screen character. The success of Black Panther, which is aptly due for release during the middle of Black History Month, could advocate the need for more minority-led films, and help crush the stigma that actors of colour aren’t bankable. The hype for this superhero film is already at large, creating a huge opportunity for Marvel to break down barriers.
The original Power Rangers TV show from the 90s was one of the first multi-ethnic superhero teams and has continued to trail blaze in its diversity over 20 years later. Introducing cinemagoers to the first big-screen LGBT superhero in yellow Ranger Trini (Becky G), fans and critics admired the way that the reveal was smoothly woven into dialogue rather than made into a big deal. Similarly, blue Ranger Billy is on the autistic spectrum but is accepted into the group no questions asked. Actor RJ Cyler worked closely with director Dean Israelite on creating the character, stating “I knew that it was my job to show that people that are on the spectrum are just regular people.”
Go Go POWER RANGERS when 2017’s mightiest superheroes arrive on Steelbook, 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD July 31 & Digital Download July 24