The fire has yet to be put out over criticism of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in this summer’s reboot of ‘Fantastic Four’, a role that a pre-Captain America Chris Evans played in two previous films.
Casting Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch should demonstrate that Marvel continues to show diversity over the years.
For instance, the X-Men is an allegory of discrimination, sexual orientation, and racial and terrorist profiling. Professor X is the founding leader of mutant superheroes who uses their abilities to defend a world that doesn’t understand them: a world that fears, hates, and persecutes them for being different. Professor X is the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Magneto’s Malcolm X, who leads his Brotherhood of Mutants on a mission in proving the world that mutants are ‘the better man’, while the X-Men believes being ‘the better man’ is promoting peace, harmony, tolerance, and equality between mutants and humans.
Following the X-Men came the Black Panther as the first black superhero (and future Marvel Avenger), followed by Sam Wilson/the Falcon, who will soar not only as an ‘Avenger’, but taking on Steve Rogers’ mantle in becoming the new Captain America, ‘the real SHIELD’ for freedom, liberty, and justice.
The success of ‘blaxploitation’ films Shaft (1971) and Superfly (1972) led to Luke Cage becoming a ‘Hero for Hire’ for people in trouble, and the Daywalker called Blade declaring ‘open season’ on the forces of darkness.
And speaking of the half-human, half-vampire hunter, it was Wesley Snipes who brought fresh blood to the superhero genre in the summer of 1998: succeeding DC Comics’ Batman (Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney) and Superman (Christopher Reeve) on the big screen.
Before there was even the Marvel Cinematic Universe, before Iron Man began the path of assembling the Avengers, it was Snipes who introduced movie audiences the world of Marvel Comics as ‘Blade’ in three movies, which led to ‘X-Men’ and ‘Spider-Man’ franchises.
And speaking of Spider-Man, Miles Morales knows that great power comes great responsibility in being the ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ — probably like Samuel L. Jackson knows in being the inspiration for the ‘Ultimate Nick Fury’, a role he continues to play since the beginning of the MCU with Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man in the summer of 2008. Whether as a cameo and/or a supporting role, Fury is the one who initiated the Avengers to become ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’, the ‘A-Team’ who avenge in fighting the battles and foes no one else would.
So, will Michael B. Jordan say ‘Flame On!’ in the new ‘Fantastic Four’? We’ll know when he becomes the Human Torch on August 7.