Afro-Commentary - Did X-Men: First Class Kill the Wrong Guy?
(Reposting from Apr. 23, 2013) It seems that the more recent Marvel movies (and by that I mean any movie based on Marvel characters) have valued the presence of a 'Likable' Black Male Actor. In IRON MAN 2,Don Cheadlehad a major part in the story. Idris Elbaalso had a great role in Thor, though not quite as prominentCheadle. And how can we not includeSamuel Jackson, being that he was in every Marvel / Disney film to date. And even looking forward, we seeCheadlehaving another major role in the IRON-MAN 3 storyline,Anthony Makie being introduced as Falcon in CAPTAIN AMERICA 2: WINTER SOLDIER,Jamie Foxx playing Spider-Man's most electrifying villain, and not only isIdris Elbacoming back to reprise his role of Heimdail - guardian of the Bifrost, but Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has also joined the cast as Algrim / Kurse. Well, dark elves aren't exactly of African decent, but I'm talking about actors. Likable Black Male actors.
Darwin was likable. In X-MEN: FIRST CLASS he was very likable, even in his 15 minutes of fame. But before he could work his charm and heroics into our mutant loving hearts, the guy that could adapt against anything couldn't adapt to digesting a fiery red gum-ball. Actually, the jury is out on that, but that's food for another post.
When you look back at the franchise, the males in the X-Men movies have always been a little on the caucasoidian side (white dudes). Truthfully, I was okay with that considering they reflected the early comic characters. And Storm in the comics brought so much pride and elegance to the title that most people of any color could say that Marvel represented people of African decent in a good way where she was concerned, 100% African I might add.
So didMatthew Vaughnmess up on not keeping a likable brother in his story? It actually followed the comic more closely than many people realize. But film studios love to keep their audiences happy, and coming back for more. Did they say "Oh no, maybe we should have kept Edi Gathegi around a little longer and not have made him the Noble Negro." I know they didn't use the term 'Noble Negro'. How could they, Geek Soul Brother invented it. But there is a term in fictional writing called 'killing your darlings'. It means a writer has to be willing to kill even the characters they like in order to give the story some real motivation. Isn't that what happened in First Class? Everybody mourned Darwin because he died trying to save them, and they were motivated to come together and fight Big Bad Bacon. The same happened to our lovable Agent Couslin. Not exactly the brownest of male actors, but he was a 'darling' by definition. And by the way, the jury was out on that situation also, and a resounding voice voted "Bring Coulsin Back!" (Update!! This was way before Agents of Shield)
In my opinion, the right move for 20th Century Fox would be to bring Darwin back with some mutant storytelling magic. You could almost say it would be redeeming in the eyes of the audience. There have been rumors that Bishop might be in Days of Future Past. Is that the role Omar Sy, who's listed on the imdb page, will be playing? I can't say. I'm sure only the sweating executive producers can say for sure. I do know one thing. I love Hally Berry, but not as Storm. She is not the 'likable Black Actor' I was talking about, plus she's one of those lady types. I'll tell you another thing. Whether they're Black, White, Blue, Green or Purple, nobody will be more likable than Peter Dinklage as Puck. Come on, it will be Tyrion in tights! You know you'll love it.
I know there's all kinds of debates about whether a white character should be played by a black actor, or even vica-verca. But I'm just talking about the recent film fad of having a cool brother that the audience cheers for. Did X-Men: First Class kill the wrong guy? Would it have been better not to have a black male actor in the movie at all? Personally, Geek Soul Brother thinks so, considering other comic films. Here is a post I wrote a while ago about the whole Darwin dying situation -X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - OFFENSIVE OR JUST A PERIOD PIECE. Hit me back with your thoughts.
UPDATE 2014: With Omar Sy playing Bishop in the new X-Men: Days of Future Past, I'm sure Fox will not make the mistake of killing the likable leader type black character again. Though I wouldn't put any bets on Storm making it to the end of the film. Little spoiler there I know, but I don't think that upset you fans too much.