Before I begin accusing any massively successful film of anything, let me first start off by saying, without any doubt, The Avengers has so far been my favorite film of the year. Maybe critically it wasn’t the best, but for sheer awesomeness and fun factor, it is the film I will probably remember most from 2012, though there are many exciting films still to come (Django Unchained anyone?).
But, and here’s the thing, was it just me or was The Avengers arguably a little racist? Now the character’s dialogue wasn’t racist or anything, and this is a criticism that can be made of most superhero films, TV programs and comics, but out of the six main, key characters in that film (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye), not one of them was black. In fact, all of them were so very very white. OK, OK, so Nick Fury is kind of The Avengers’ leader, but Samuel L. Jackson was seriously lacking from this film and didn’t do much kick-ass stuff.
Baring in mind that the first Captain America comic was in 1941, not a black (or any race other than white) friendly time to live in America, or the Western world, it isn’t difficult to see why comics are mostly centered on white characters. Considering the outcry when Idris Elba was cast as the normally white Heimdall in the movie version of Thor, it also isn’t difficult to see why, even in this day and age, movie directors are frightened about including non-white characters.
But come on guys, I hate saying this next phrase, but this is the 21st century. Isn’t it time we all grew out of this? This isn’t the 1940’s anymore, and let’s be at least thankful for that.
Black superheroes have already proven they can be successful on the big screen, for example the Blade films, so I don’t know why movie producers should be that frightened of adding more racially diverse movie characters.
Joss Whedon (who is my favorite person ever), the director and writer of The Avengers, doesn’t have the BEST history of including diverse characters in his television shows, but at least, post-Season 6 of Buffy, at least one black character has appeared as a central character in all of his television shows (Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse). Let’s just put it this way, he isn’t the person with the worst history of excluding characters based on their race.
The Avengers 2 and 3 NEED more racially diverse characters in these films, or people will start accusing them of racism, and there are plenty of awesome characters out there for them to pick from.
Here are my top five racially diverse characters I’d most like to see in any Avengers sequel. And don’t worry, for any of you that read and enjoyed my previous post (5 Female Avengers We Don’t Want To See), women do feature in this list, and also none of these choices are characters already confirmed for any Marvel film.
Rage (Elvin Daryl Haliday) is an African American member of The Avengers.
At the age of 13, he was exposed to toxic waste (that old trick, don’t try this at home) during basketball practice , causing his strength to grow, becoming invulnerable. In his 30’s, he used his powers for good and became the superhero, Rage.
One of, but certainly not the first black Avenger, his inclusion in any upcoming Avengers sequel would be particularly fitting for the current roster considering he originally got into the team after confronting Captain America for The Avengers’ lack of any black characters at the current time. He is later accepted into the team and trained by Captain America himself. This would certainly be an easy way to introduce him into the current films and will give Captain America something to do as he adjusts to living in a new time period.
However, the downsides to this character are the fact that his powers are fairly boring and don’t add really anything new to the current line-up. He is also a lot less well-known than a lot of the other characters on this list.
Also arguably he could be considered a little like a stereotypical African American (his love of basketball for example), however I don’t see this as being a problem, though maybe the name, Rage may add to the unfair and incorrect media representation of African Americans to be violent and menaces to society (a stereotype not based in fact, mostly just prejudice).
This article was first posted on September 20, 2012