Black superheroes are making big leaps onto the big screen.
After enjoying a black comic book renaissance in the past years through Marvel, DC and a plethora of indie creators, modern comic book fans are being blessed with black characters coming to life on film and TV.
Black Lightning premiered earlier this week to rave reviews and record-breaking ratings, and Black Panther mania is still in full effect as the film is squashing advanced ticket sales records ahead of its release date next month. She’s Gotta Have It star DeWanda Wise is also set to co-star opposite of Brie Larson, who’ll play the titular character in Captain Marvel. Fans speculate that Wise will take on the role of Monica Rambeau, who was the second iteration of Captain Marvel in the comics before becoming the superhero Spectrum. If that happens, she’ll be the most anticipated black woman superhero to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (pending Avengers: Infinity Wars’ final roster.)
Black superheroes have been putting in work on the small screen too. Marvel’s Luke Cage crashed Netflix when it dropped on the streaming platform in 2016. And the company is poised to do it again with an order of Raising Dion, a comic book adaptation that follows a black mom who’s raising a son with superpowers. Vixen and Blade also have shows on the streaming network CW Seed, while a Spawn reboot is reportedly in the works.
But we’re not here to talk about the small screen stars just yet. We’re focusing on the ones who’ve made it to the film world. (And no, there’s no Nick Fury because he’s more of a superspy than a superhero.) After years of living on the comic book pages, black superheroes are now consistently making cinematic debuts. But let’s not forget about the heroes that paved the way for these newcomers to shine either. Here are the 22 Best Black Superheroes in Movies.
22. Will.I.Am as John Wraith in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' (2009)
21. Shaquille O'Neal as Steel in 'Steel' (1997)
20. Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery In 'Chronicle' (2012)
19. Tobar Mayo as Abar in 'Abar, The First Black Superman' (1977)
18. Edi Gathegi as Darwin in 'X-Men: First Class' (2011)
17. Omar Sy as Bishop in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' (2014)
16. Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 'Fantastic Four' (2015)
15. Damon Wayans as Blankman in 'Blankman' (1994)
14. Robert Townsend as Meteor Man in 'Meteor Man' (1993)
13. Jacob Latimore as Bo in 'Sleight' (2016)
Although it’s more of a superhero origin story, Sleight has all the makings to move forward with an epic superhero storyline in a sequel. In the film, the recently orphaned Bo learns how to control metal when he’s not selling drugs and performing magic tricks on the streets to support his little sister (Storm Reid). When he has to save his sister from a drug lord named Angelo, who is awesomely played by Dule Hill, he isn’t afraid to knock some bad guys out of the picture. And by the end of the film, it seems that he’s got a glorious new trick up his sleeve. Although Lattimore is starring in in Lena Waithe’s stellar series The CHI and Reid is starring in Ava Duvernay’s upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, we hope they can make enough time to come back for a Sleight sequel. We wouldn’t mind if Hill reprised his role as well!