After Marvel Studios has secured another bajillion dollars from the release of their latest blockbuster superhero movie, “Avengers: Endgame,” they are apparently planning to turn their attention away from crowd-pleasing epics and towards the much more important topic of “representation” in cinema. While the people in charge of Marvel have undoubtedly heard the old axiom, “Get woke, go broke,” they obviously feel they have enough money in the bank that they can squander whatever goodwill they’ve built up with the American moviegoing audience by pursuing a new quest for Hollywood social justice. Aren’t you so excited?
According to Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, while the new Avengers movie will close the door on the major story they’ve been telling since the first “Iron Man” film rolled out in 2008, fans need not fear: There is lots of LGBTQ representation coming in the studio’s new stories. Because that’s obviously what fans have been clamoring for since the early films. Why can’t Tony Stark have a gay lover when he’s not messing around with Pepper Potts? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we could learn more about Black Widow’s lesbian predilections?
Marvel is kicking off their “bold, inclusive future” with a new Chinese-American superhero named Shang Chi.
“We only want to do movies that people seem to think are risks,” said Feige. “Doing the story of an Asian-American hero of Chinese heritage is something that is very intriguing to us. It will be really different and special.”
That’s fine to introduce characters with varying origin stories and who hail from different walks of life. Nothing wrong with a Chinese crimefighter. If these traits serve the story and are conducive to making good movies, we’re all for it. It’s when the movies are merely excuses upon which to hang a heavy, overly-preachy message of “inclusivity” and “diversity” that things get wonky. Disney has arguably trod this path with their Star Wars franchise; they would do well to discourage Marvel from ruining their other major property with these ham-handed social justice messages. Sometimes it’s okay for a movie to just be a movie.
Feige is also excited about an upcoming film which will feature a “gay Asian male lead in what will be their first openly gay character.” We suppose putting it this way – openly – allows Feige to puff out his chest about Marvel’s new path while avoiding the perils of crushing that sub-sub-set of fans who like to believe Thor and Hulk have something secret going on off-screen.
But if Chinese-American superheroes and gay Asian leads aren’t enough for you, Feige promises that we’ll see new heroes who challenge the “iconic mythic proportions” that the current crop of Avengers are known for. In other words, get ready for “Fat Hulk,” coming in 2021.
Well, the superhero movie trend had to die sooner or later. Why not kill it off in a fat, gay blaze of glory?