How Disney Made Me Fall In Love With Superhero Movies

I know you’re probably thinking this is going to be an article about the , but it’s not. As a Black man growing up I didn’t have many superheroes that I related to. My first introduction to a Black superhero was Blade in when I was eight years old. He was the first superhero that I ever saw on the big screen yet he was different from your normal hero. He wasn’t well-known to the public, he didn’t wear a cape, and he murdered anyone who got in his way! I thought he was pretty awesome, but not many of my friends knew who he was. Blade remains my favorite hero to this day, but Blade wasn’t the reason I fell in love with superhero movies. The blame for that lies with a little known DCOM called Up, Up and Away.

A Family Of Superheroes

Warrior Woman (left), Silver Charge (middle), Bronze Eagle (right), Warrior Eagle (front)

The 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie is a comedy/adventure about a boy from a family of superheroes who, despite not having any superpowers of his own, is called on to save the world. What was great about this film to me was that all of the main heroes were Black. Not only were they Black, but they were your typical nuclear family. Somewhat like if the Huxtables were secretly superheroes. I could connect with the main character Scott Marshall/Warrior Eagle as I also had an older brother who was better at things than I and a younger sister who was annoying. He just wanted to impress his parents, which is something every kid wants to do, no matter how old they get. Seeing this film normalized the idea for me that Black people could be great superheroes and that superheroes aren’t always out saving the world. Sometimes they just want to spend time with their family.

The Director

Robert Townsend
Robert Townsend, who plays Jim Marshall/Bronze Eagle in the film, was also the director. He showed us that superheroes can have normal problems, normal families, and yet still be loved by the public even though they’re Black. Basically letting young kids know that being Black was not abnormal. Townsend is not shy to making superhero films. In the early 1990s he wrote, directed, and starred in another Black superhero film called The Meteor Man. He brought some of the same love and fun he had with that movie into directing Up, Up and Away. It almost feels as if they could take place within the same shared universe. In actuality it makes sense that they could because on the Earth of Up, Up and Away both Superman and Spider-Man exist within the same reality. A movie of this caliber could not be made today with different studios owning the rights to different characters. The last time we heard a #DC and #Marvel character mentioned in the same film was Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie back in 2002. And I’m pretty sure in that film Superman was being described as a comic book character and not a real person.

Final Thoughts


Looking back, without seeing Up, Up and Away I would have never fallen in love with superheroes in general, let alone any movies made about them. After seeing this film is when I especially started reading comics and trying to write a few of my own. My love of putting my ideas on paper and writing stories was sparked at that moment. It has since evolved to my love of writing movie reviews and stories about the movie business. If you have not had the chance to see this film I recommend that you look it up online and try to find a copy. Its well worth a watch.

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