Today: April 15, 2024

Superheroes Who Break The Mould

Directed by Dean Israelite, Saban’s 2017 POWER RANGERS sees the teen-heroes fight stereotypes as well as evil. In this much-anticipated reboot, audiences will discover some important changes to the team including the introduction of the Yellow Ranger as the first gay big-screen superhero. Equally ground-breaking is the addition of autistic Blue Ranger, Billy to the team. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Israelite stated how important it was to make the film feel diverse: “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 of its genre, advocating a message that encourages audience to own who they are. Thankfully, recent superhero movies have seen a rise in their protagonists breaking the mould too…

Wonder Woman
When DC put Israeli actress Gal Gadot at the helm of a female-led super-hero they made headlines and Wonder Woman became the first 21st Century blockbuster solo female superhero film. For many, seeing a woman star in, and take control of big-scale action sequences is a new experience; one which allowed for a large majority of cinema-goers to see a fresh and invigorating representation. What’s more, Wonder Woman is a fully realised character, not solely a beautiful face squeezed into body-enhancing outfits.

Deadpool
Deadpool is the character who well and truly stuck a middle finger at the superhero clichés. The R-rated, comedic anti-hero is completely aware he is a comic-book character, and audiences loved it. In an era where superhero movies seem endless, Deadpool’s film broke the mould – breaking the fourth wall Ferris Beuller-style. His witty quips and tongue-in-cheek fight sequences provide an ideal blend of action with humour. The consistent laughs help balance out the darker points of the film, which allows for Deadpool to stand apart from the already crowded superhero market.

Daredevil
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 the use of his eyes, all his other senses become hyper alert.  Matt is a humble, independent and determined character, who, having lost his sight as a child, has accepted and altered his life accordingly. Daredevil is able to raise a huge amount of awareness to those living with sight impairment, and encourages the strengthening of abilities, rather than focusing on the limitations of disability.

Black Panther
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 is rich in both technology and culture. The film also breaks new ground by empowering femininity through Black Panther’s all-woman team of bodyguards. There are rumours, too, of an appearance by comic-book LGBT character, Ayo. If fan-feedback is anything to go by, Black Panther, (appropriately due for release during the middle of Black History Month) will finally show film studios that diversity in film isn’t just necessary – it’s profitable too.

Power Rangers
The original Power Rangers TV show from the ‘90s was one of the first multi-ethnic superhero teams and the franchise has continued to trail blaze. 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. 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.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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