This Movie Trailer Shows LGBTQ Superheroes Kicking Ass Like You Never See In Actual Films
Last week, the internet acted as one big giant Tinder account campaigning for Captain America to get a boyfriend, begging the larger questions: Why is there an overarching lack of identity representation in the comic book industry as a whole? Why are certain characters portrayed as LGBTQ in books, but switch once on screen? I’m not asking these questions necessarily because it’s Pride Month (though Happy Pride Month anyways!!!), but because everyone, regardless of preference, deserves to feel they’re fairly, accurately, and widely represented in the pop culture they consume. One director is hoping to change that and made a trailer for an LGBTQ superhero movie to show Hollywood that people are interested.
Mike Buonaiuto grew up watching (and/or idolizing) comic book superheroes in films like X-Men. Like most young lads, his passion followed him well into adulthood because of the fighting, justice, crimes, loud noises, etc. Trust me, I get the appeal. But something changed when a friend told him that Iceman from X-Men had come out in the comic books, but made no such grand gesture in the film adaptation. “I started thinking, ‘Why hasn’t this, or anything like it, been translated on screen accurately?’ And moreover, why haven’t any LGBT superheroes made it to film?” Buonaiuto told The Frisky. “The next thing I thought was, ‘Let’s do something about it. Let’s prove there is an audience for this kind of material. Let’s make a fake trailer.'”
And that’s exactly what he did. Buonaiuto and volunteers directed and launched a new trailer portraying LGBTQ superheroes accurately in an unprecedented way, and it pre-screened at Comic Con in London last weekend. The project highlights the lack of LGBTQ superheroes in film and the fact that characters who appear LGBTQ in comics often become de-sexualized or turn straight once the movie hits the big screen (think Iceman, Mystique, and Catwoman, among others).
Buonaiuto’s trailer is set in a time when mutants are hunted as outcasts. A young man’s powers reveal themselves during a fight after work and almost destroy him. Luckily, a watcher and retired superhero named Jake uses his powers to save the young man’s life. But, when the hunters in the trailer capture Jake as revenge, the young superhero must take on the role of hero and reuse the old superhero costume to save the day. Spoiler alert: you’ll feel the final scene in yer loins.
The trailer calls for studios like Marvel and DC to include diverse characters in their films and give LGBTQ kids a hero they can look up to and relate to. Like, if you think you can’t be powerful, buff, and heroic and have a crush on another equally powerful, buff, and heroic dude, check your cis-privilege, because you sound like a treat!
Chances are, the first time you picked up a comic book you had learned to walk maybe four days before and just started chewing solid food. Those were your formative years, and you may not have had a clue what the word “identity” meant (or if you had one at all, you had this tangible frame of reference that in many subliminal ways dictated your life going forward). Messages of boys hugging, whether on paper or on screen, are now more necessary than ever — more necessary than the ad nauseam amount of heteronormative messages we’re fed, often against our will.
Take a peep at the ~steamy~ trailer, since Buonaiuto will be sending major production companies all the analytics and audience data from this campaign and others like it as proof that there is an audience for inclusive material.
“This is why people need to share the trailer,” Buonaiuto told The Frisky. “We would encourage all production companies to then create their own progressive films until the studios trust that the bravery they have shown on the page can be translated to the screen without any edits of sexuality or gender.”