5 Better Versions Of Superheroes We'll Hopefully Get Soon
With Avengers: Endgame marking the finale to many of the MCU's long-running plotlines and the DCEU bleeding cast members, this era of superhero movies looks to be riding off into the sunset (the sunset is a CG background, but still). However, there are rumors that movie studios will not simply walk away from the billions and billions of dollars they stand to make by cranking out several dozen more films.
There's an opportunity here. Instead of just rebooting and recasting the same old heroes, I think this is a chance to give us something new ...
Goodbye Iron Man, Hello Ironheart
If the trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Avengers: Endgame are any indication, Tony Stark is about to have a severe case of Being Dead As Fuck. Or at best, retired. Either way, this would be a fantastic opportunity for the MCU to introduce his comic book successor: the Invincible Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. In the comics, Riri takes over for Tony after the Civil War II story line, in which Captain Marvel beats his ass so hard that she puts him in a coma. (I truly would love to see that on film, by the way, but I feel like Endgame might go in a slightly different direction.)
Riri is a 15-year-old super genius who creates her own Iron Man suit using items that around the school she attends. Riri shuns Tony's style of snarky cynicism, which actually would make her stand out in the MCU (and seeing how Wonder Woman was received, it does seem like earnest heroism is making a comeback).
I'd love to see her played by someone like Marsai Martin (Diane from the TV series Black-ish). Maybe have her, Shuri from Black Panther, and Peter Parker create their own Gen-Z superhero group and save the world from dangerous baby boomers. Perhaps this could be the start of the Young Avengers? Or just a new sect of the existing Avengers. Either way, this is better than simply rebooting the whole thing a few years from now with some other "lovable asshole" type with a Tony Stark goatee.
Let Jane Foster Take Over As Thor (For At Least One Film)
Alright, hear me out, ladies. Yes Chris Hemsworth's Thor is a surprising delight, and I've enjoyed every topless second of him, but the MCU has put him through a LOT. His brother and his dad are gone (for now), so maybe let him retire when this phase of the MCU ends. He and Valkyrie can settle down in the wilds of Norway and take solace in each other's arms. They deserve it, goddammit!
Then they can reintroduce the audience to Natalie Portman's Jane Foster. Only this time she'll be Thor, and arguably a better Thor than Thor is.
In the comics, Jane is one of the only people besides Thor who can wield Mjolnir and become God(dess) of Thunder. But with her, it comes at a price: She's dying of cancer, and the magic of the hammer seems to counteract chemotherapy. This means that every time she transforms into Thor, she gets sicker when she transforms back. Jane is well aware of this, but because Thor is out of commission and the world needs a hero, she keeps doing it, even as it leads to her death.
That's about as far from the standard power fantasy template as you can get, but if you want to keep breaking the mold, these are the kind of risks you have to take.
It's a heartbreaking tale, but it also works with Thor's motto in Ragnarok: "Why? Because that's what heroes do." Also, if Portman feels iffy about signing a contract for ten more Thor movies, she could just do one and have the ultimate serious actor's superhero role under her belt.
There's A Good Batman Comedy Out There (Without Bruce Wayne)
In the history of Batman movies and TV shows, we've only gotten one that deviated from the formula of "Here's Bruce Wayne drop-kicking clowns." And even that one, the fantastic Batman Beyond, featured Bruce Wayne in a mentor role, yelling tactics at a goddamn teenager. And with Ben Affleck leaving, there's a real chance that we could take a character that needs a refresher and ... well, not give him that.
Instead, Warner Bros. could go the way of the comics and introduce Bruce Wayne's son Damian. See, Bruce's relationship with Talia al Ghul (Ra's al Ghul's heavily cleavaged daughter) results in a boy that she keeps secret from Bruce. Then, when Damian is a teen, she drops him into Bruce's lap, which is kinda hilariously villainous. As can be expected, Damian's pissed and violent, and he hates all of Batman's Robins, presumably because Bruce Wayne actually went to their baseball games.
In the comics after Batman "dies" at the hands of Darkseid, former Robin Dick Grayson dons the cape and cowl, and Damian becomes his Robin. Their dynamic is ridiculous and hilarious, which is much more interesting than the usual self-serious "You're not ready to be, um, in crime stuff" routine that Bruce has with his Robins. Does it bring a "wacky sitcom" atmosphere to the franchise? Maybe, but we haven't had a live-action Batman film with a proper joke in it since the Clinton administration.
Imagine someone like Max Minghella (who is currently killing it in The Handmaid's Tale) becoming Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne (a ripped Timothee Chalamet?) engaging in a weird, violent buddy comedy. It could be DC's answer to Ragnarok, and for a franchise that's always had a problem with taking itself too seriously, this Bat Family film might be the antidote.
When Chris Evans Is Done, Bring In Miss America
Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man may be the soul of the MCU, but Chris Evans is the beautiful bearded heart. However, he's got a foot out the Disney door, along with RDJ. Well, if we're following my earlier suggestion to pass the baton to the next generation (as opposed to starting over), let's talk about the Young Avengers' Miss America.
A Latina lesbian from another dimension (which is about the farthest you can get from being a blue-eyed WWII-era American man's man), she becomes a superhero after watching her mothers (she has two mothers, it's not a big deal) die to save their world from destruction. Inspired by their actions, she decides to go into the biz of helping others, and eventually winds up on Earth. Here she is giving Kid Loki a much-needed backhand:
In a Hawkeye solo series, we see that she's taken the helm of Captain America herself, and frankly, if we're really going to have a superhero become the physical embodiment of America, we should move past it being a white guy who remembers what having segregated water fountains was like. Let Glee's Naya Rivera bulk up, put her in that star-spangled shirt and hoodie, and let her punch evil in the nuts.
Give Us An Empowering She-Hulk
Recently on Twitter, someone brought up a question that got a lot of attention: "What would you do if there were no men around for 24 hours?" Women said things like "I'd go to bars and order drinks I didn't have to finish before heading to the bathroom," "Wear whatever I wanted without worrying about it attracting unwanted attention," and the sadly common "Be able to take a walk alone after dark."
And it's these responses that made me remember why I love She-Hulk so much, and why I think Jennifer Walters would be the perfect replacement for Bruce Banner.
Unlike Bruce, Jennifer embraces being a Hulk from the beginning. Sure, she's a big green monster, but being that monster has its perks. It makes her feel untouchable and powerful -- something that would seemingly resonate with women around the world. As a small meek woman without a lot of control in her life, being She-Hulk lets Jennifer do whatever the fuck she wanted. This might be the most relatable origin story I've ever seen.
She-Hulk is fearless, confident, and ]promiscuous, with all of that translating back into Jennifer's life and making her a more assertive person even when she isn't the color of sour apple Jolly Rancher. Cast a likable actress who would really sell that character arc, like Kristen Bell.
Don't get me wrong, I love ya, Bruce. But I don't need another monologue about how much you hate being the Hulk but can't live without the Hulk. We get it. You can throw a tank over a mountain, and that makes you sad.
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