From Black Panther to Blade, black superheroes have been a significant presence in the world of cinema, delivering powerful performances and inspiring audiences around the globe. These characters often overlooked and underrepresented, have become icons of hope, strength, and resilience for generations of moviegoers. In this list, we’ve compiled 16 must-watch black superhero movies that showcase the diversity, complexity, and creativity of the genre. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the world of black superheroes, these films are guaranteed to entertain, inspire, and unleash your inner hero.
Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) is gifted with the abilities of six Egyptian gods. He uses his powers to protect the people of his country, but eventually becomes corrupted by the power and becomes a villain. He is exiled by the gods and imprisoned in a tomb for 5,000 years. He is eventually freed and becomes a hero again, using his powers to protect the innocent and fight evil.
Black Panther (2018)
It’s no coincidence that the Black Panther’s character was first introduced in the third film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Civil War”. The black superhero movie highlights messages of empowerment for the African community worldwide and takes a strong stance against right-wing and racist governments in the US and other Western countries, which have acted against refugees from African nations. Continuing from the events of “Captain America: Civil War”, the movie follows T’Challa, who returns to his homeland of Wakanda after his father’s murder during a ceremony at the United Nations. Wakanda, a striking contrast to typical stereotypes about Africa, is the wealthiest nation in the world, with advanced technology, a fierce army of female warriors, and a brilliant young chief scientist. Wakanda has successfully concealed its secrets from the Western world, thereby avoiding interference in earthly affairs, including the European slave trade, countless wars, and the suffering of African-Americans subjected to slavery and discriminatory treatment by American governments for generations, despite possessing the technological prowess to stop them.
Black Adam (2022)
Dwayne Johnson plays the golden superhero Teth Adam, a slave in the Kandaki kingdom who, after gaining power from a group of magical sorcerers, strives to put an end to the king’s megalomaniac madness and save his people. As with any movie where a mortal aspires to rule and becomes power drunk, it ends badly. 5,000 years later, Kandak is enslaved and occupied by colonialist forces. A freedom fighter named Adriana (Sarah Shahi), who is trying to find the same crown, brings Adam back to life. For the Kandaki people and especially for one young boy it seems like a light at the end of the tunnel of occupation and maybe this people’s only hope for a hero, but agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis reprising her role from “Suicide Squad”) recruits a group of four superheroes to stop the god she considers a supervillain.
Steel is a movie about a man named John Henry Irons, (Shaquille O’Neal) who decides to take up the mantle of a black superhero named Steel to protect his community after a criminal named Nicodemus uses a high-tech suit to commit crimes that the police are unable to stop. With his teammates, Steel fights a criminal organization that uses his own weapons to threaten his community and loved ones. The movie is loosely based on the DC Comics character who first appeared in “The Adventures of Superman” #500.
Catwoman is a movie about a woman named Patience Philips who is transformed into the superhero Catwoman after she is bitten by a cat that has been infected with a serum that gives the cat-like abilities. The movie is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, but the character is significantly different from her comic book counterpart, with Patience Philips being more of a normal woman who gains superhuman abilities, rather than a trained thief who also has cat-like agility.
Up, Up, and Away(2000)
Scott Marshall is a boy from an extraordinary black superhero family. He doesn’t have any superpowers. He wants more than anything to be like them. But a supervillain threatens to ruin his whole family. Now the teen hero must find a unique ability to save his loved ones. Then Scott discovers he can be a hero. Powers are optional.
Cyborg is a movie about a young man named Victor Stone who is turned into a cyborg after a tragic accident leaves him fatally injured. He is transformed into a half man, half machine, and must learn to live with his new identity while dealing with the trauma of his past. The movie is an origin story for the DC Comics character of the same name, who is a member of the Justice League.
The Marvels (2023)
Carol Danvers is an unexpected hero. In her early years, she battles the Supreme Intelligence and takes revenge on the Kree. This results in the destabilization of the universe, and Carol must bear the weight of responsibility. Later, while fulfilling her duties, she finds herself in an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, Ms. Marvel. Together, Carol and her distant niece, the black superhero wearing white, Captain Monica Rambeau, must unite to save our universe as ‘The Marvels’.
This antihero was a soldier, who was brutally disfigured and became hellishly transformed. Al Simmons was murdered by his former partner and sent to Hell. He makes a deal with the demon Malebolgia and is sent back to Earth as a Hellspawn, a human-demon hybrid with powers from both worlds. Simmons was brutally disfigured and became hellishly transformed. Spawn‘s physical appearance is shocking to most, as many are not aware that he is actually black. Todd Mcfarlane didn’t want this movie to feel like it was targeting any specific audience. Nevertheless, John Leguizamo did a great job and nearly stole the show with his acting.
A young man named Darryl Walker, (Damon Wayans), goes out on patrol as the black superhero Blank Man. He is inspired by his late grandmother’s teachings and designs a high-tech suit with various gadgets to help him stop a ruthless crime lord named Michael Minelli. His older brother Kevin (David Alan Grier) helps him in his quest. Darryl uses his intelligence and creativity to stop Michael’s reign of terror over the city. The movie is a parody of other superhero movies and shows like Batman and Spider-man and is an example of “black cinema”.
Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)
The original title was “In Your Face”, but it was changed to “Abar, the First Black Superman” to capitalize on the popularity of the “Superman” franchise. The blaxploitation film follows a brilliant black scientist named Dr. Kenneth Kincade (Tobay Mayo), who becomes fed up with the racism and discrimination he experiences in his daily life. Kincade decides to use his knowledge to create a serum that gives him superhuman strength and the ability to fly. He assumes the identity of “Abar”, and uses his abilities to fight against the systematic racism and oppression that African-Americans face in their daily lives. The character of Abar was inspired by the real-life story of Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., who was the first African American astronaut selected for a space mission but died in a plane crash during training.
Meteor Man (1993)
Robert Townsend not only directed and starred in “Meteor Man,” but he also wrote the script and produced the film. He even wrote and performed the film’s theme song. The black superhero movie is about an ordinary man named Jefferson Reed (Robert Townsend), who is transformed into a superhero after he is hit by a meteorite. The movie follows his adventures as he uses his new powers to fight crime and protect his community. The movie is loosely based on the DC Comics character of the same name and was directed and co-written by Robert Townsend. Townsend not only directed and starred in “Meteor Man,” but he also wrote the script and produced the film. He even wrote and performed the film’s theme song.
A young man named Bo (Jacob Latimore) is forced to turn to a life of crime in order to support his sister and mother. Bo is talented with magic, and he uses his skills to pull off a series of heists. His life is turned upside down when a violent crime takes place, and Bo must use his skills to survive and protect his family. The movie is a thriller that takes place in Los Angeles. Jacob Latimore had to learn actual magic tricks and sleight-of-hand techniques for the film. He trained for weeks with a professional magician to make his on-screen performances look authentic.
Blade Trinity (2004)
Blade is a dark and gritty superhero movie that takes place in the world of the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in a world where vampires and other supernatural beings exist and follow Blade as he hunts down a group of vampires who are responsible for killing his mother. The blade is a loner who has been betrayed by those he trusted, and he uses his skills to take revenge against the vampires. The film is dark and gritty and captures the tone of the comics very well. Blade is a loner because he has been betrayed by those he once trusted. This reflects Snipes’ reported isolation on set and adds a sense of tension to the character’s interactions with the Nightstalkers.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
The first animated Marvel movie to win an Academy award for best film, and the first movie to introduce a black Spider-Man! Living in New York City, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is a teenager who is transforming into a masked superhero. He is bitten by a spider in the subway system, which gives him the powers of Spider-Man. With this new power, he must defeat Kingpin, a villain who is attempting to destroy the city. As the title indicates, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a movie about numerous Spider-People from different dimensions.
Fast Color (2009)
Fast Color is a unique black superhero film about a young woman named Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who is the last of her kind after a global environmental catastrophe caused most of her kin to perish. She tries to protect her daughters, Lulu (Saniyya Sidney) and Lila (Lyriq Bent), who also possess the same abilities that she does. The story is about family and how these three women come together to protect each other against the government which wants to exploit their abilities. The film is an emotional and heart-wrenching drama about the power of family.
This black superhero movie is about a superpowered man named Hancock (Will Smith), who is an anti-hero. Hancock is a drunk, irresponsible, and reckless super being that the public loves to hate. He is a nuisance and annoyance to everyone and everything. He often causes more damage than good in his misguided efforts to protect people and property. Ultimately, Hancock learns that he can be a true hero and use his gifts to positively impact the community around him.