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The Relevance of Superheroes

Why 'Wonder Woman' and 'Black Panther' Mean so Much to Today's Audiences

The Cast of Black Panther

I am part of a mixed race family. My little brothers are half Ghanaian and when they first watched Captain America: Civil War, they became avid fans of a new superhero by the name of Black Panther. Admittedly, I hadn't heard of the character until seeing the film, but I could see that it resonated with them on a level unlike the Spidermans and Batmans who had come before.

I have tried to be an advocate for difference for my little brothers. Being gay, I understand what it can feel like to be marginalised for being something other than the norm. This is an especially unavoidable issue in rural Norfolk, as much as I appreciate that things are slowly getting better. Therefore, I have introduced them to programmes such as RuPaul's Drag Race to show them proof of how difference can be employed creatively and should be something to celebrate rather than attack.

Last year, I took them to see Wonder Woman to show them how strong and powerful women are and should always be appreciated for. Being from a single mother home, it can be easy to take everything she does for granted. But in reality, every woman in my life (including my fantastic older sister) has shown me the compassion and drive that is missing from so many men who have very quickly become absent.

This is all to say that I may be looking at things from a pretty specific perspective. But for me, the point remains the same: it is about time that a staggeringly successful genre such as the superhero movie embraces the celebration of females and black culture. Black Panther, in fact, is a film that manages to do both. For too long we have watched straight, white men take centre stage even though they are very much not the majority.

In 2018, this should not be the first time we are seeing these things portrayed, but it's a strong start and judging from the box office success of both movies, we can hope that Hollywood will stand up and pay attention. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in the media, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. 

I'm not saying that these movies are perfect but they are long overdue and, I hope, the beginning of a revolution in these kinds of films. A revolution of resolve to show people as they are in real life. Different, strong, and brilliant. 

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman 

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