MOC Monday: Michael B. Jordan

Fantastic Four might be suffering at the box office, but that won’t stop me from supporting Michael B. Jordan’s turn as The Human Torch. 

In case you’re wondering; no, I haven’t seen Fantastic Four yet, but I’ve heard both good and bad about it, so I really don’t know what my own opinion would be until I see the film for myself and judge it by my merits.

However, I think Michael B. Jordan’s part in it plays on many issues that are inherent in both superhero films and films in general: 1) the lack of representation in superhero films and 2) the idea of transracial adoption (with “transracial” being used in its original iteration, not in the Rachel Dolezal way) and interracial families in general.

There’s a huge debate about whether racebending is a good or bad thing in the realm of superhero films when whitewashing isn’t supported. The reason many people do support racebending, especially when it comes to comic book movies, is that comic books were written in a time when white representation was the only thing accounted for in society. However, with comic books having a multiracial and multicultural audience, it would behoove movie makers to create superhero films that show that anyone can be a superhero.

Transracial adoption is something that’s rarely touched on in movies, and when it is, it’s usually of a white family adopting a non-white child. Also, interracial families in general, whether from adoption or from marriage, are hardly ever shown in films. I haven’t seen Fantastic Four, so I don’t know if Sue is adopted into the Storm family or if she is Johnny’s stepsister. But I do know that seeing two characters of different races embracing the titles of sister and brother is something that’s too long overdue in Hollywood movies. Once again, it shows how Hollywood represents a time and mode of thinking that’s way in the past. If Hollywood’s going to really be as forward-thinking as they claim to be, they have to catch up with the rest of America, which is steadily becoming more interwoven between races, cultures, and sexual backgrounds.

I say all of this to say that whether or not Fantastic Four is remembered for being a great movie, Michael B. Jordan (and Kate Mara) should be commended for taking on a role that engaged superhero movie fans (and movie fans in general) in thinking about just what constitutes family. One’s race doesn’t make someone less of a family member. Just ask these people. 

What do you love about Michael B. Jordan? Did you like Fantastic Four? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch. Photo credit: 21st Century Fox

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3 thoughts on “MOC Monday: Michael B. Jordan”

  1. I have a short story.

    The other day I was watching some Soap opera with my mom and she was explaining to me that two of the characters on the show were Transgender and getting married. She could barely pronounce the word and proceeded to explain to me what genders the characters were and are. She seemed perfectly okay with this and was mostly angry at the asshole dad, who kept making the other guests uncomfortable.

    My mom is 65.

    Soap operas have always been some of the most progressive television ever. They were the first to have gay characters and explore gender and race issues. TV shows featuring teenagers have been very good at this too. Exactly the types of shows that most adults turn their noses up at. I have developed a new appreciation of soap operas and teen shows, when realizing just how progressive they truly are.

    Hollywood has never been progressive. It’s always been about ten to fifteen years behind TV on just about every issue.

    I think it’s because Hollywood is too wholly owned by White men of a certain age and era and because so much of its engine moves so slowly. TV has always caught on quicker to issues that Hollywood barely even knows exists. It takes years to greenlight and make a movie. Television is more progressive because it works on a monthly, weekly, and in some cases daily scale. It’s the difference between a river and a mountain. One moves faster and by its very nature is just quicker to catch on.

    We won’t see any real societal change about race until Hollywood regularly starts churning out movies with heroes who aren’t just White straight men, I think. Not the piecemeal and rather forgetful way they’ve been doing it since the eighties, but every blockbuster, every superhero film.

    Casting Jordan is just their first move. I think we’ve got about another ten years for Hollywood to catch up. In the meantime, we have out first gay black superhero coming to Arrow this year.

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      1. Actually there is a like button for comments but it’s on your site. If you’re on your dashboard, you can’t see it.

        Oh and another element that helps television be better at this than movies is social media. Twitter and Facebook lets fandom interact directly with a show’s creators, while the show is on the air. When a movie is being made, that’s not the case.

        The only time fans have any influence over a movie is right before it gets made, but only if the writers care and right after, the movie is released, when it’s too late to affect it.

        One example is Arrow. Which started out the first season in an unimpressive manner. By the end of the season you could see its improvement. That’s becasue they paid attention to the fans critiques of the show and were able to put that into effect in a matter of weeks.

        Impossible to do that with a movie. The serial nature of television combined with the critiques of fandom, on social media, can sometimes greatly improve a show, by giving the fans some of what they want to see, within reason.

        The people of Hollywood don’t pay any attention to social media. I think a lot of the time they just guess at what the public wants.

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