Pop Culture Intervention

These Actors Don’t Just Play Heroes In Marvel Films. They’re Heroes In Real Life, Too.

From hospital visits, to calls for diversity in film, and much more.

At A Plus, we're addicted to pop culture, and Pop Culture Intervention brings that obsession to the soapbox. Through this series, we'll recommend what you should be watching, reading or listening to; explore how arts and entertainment affect us; and interpret the important messages contained within various works.

It's been 10 years in the making to get to the epic crossover event that is Avengers: Infinity War — and here we are. All of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's bravest warriors have assembled for an epic onscreen fight to end all others, but it turns out the stars behind these beloved characters are superheroes in real life, too.

From founders such as Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. to newcomers like the Black Panther crew, these folks have proven time and time again that you don't have to be able to fly, have superhuman strength, or possess any other out-of-this word ability to have compassion for your fellow human and make a difference in the world.

The “Black Panther” Cast

In addition to being one of the biggest films in pretty much forever, Black Panther has proven that representation matters and that diversity can sell movie tickets. Trolls tried to sabotage the movie, starring Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa), but the response to it has been overwhelmingly positive and people have been vocal about what it means to them. People were registered to vote at screenings, many celebs — including Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) — helped people see it, and people got engaged at showings. Additionally, Danai Gurira (Okoye) opened up about how she came to accept her name, Leticia Wright (Shuri) has motivated Black women to look into STEM careers, Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia) never ceases to inspire, and Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger) paid for a fan's broken retainer while doing something to improve diversity in Hollywood.

Robert Downey Jr. (Ironman)

Downey has also shown a desire to show terminally ill children how much he cares, and has even teamed up with Evans and Iron Man love interest Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) to be there for cancer-stricken kids. Most recently, at the world premiere of Infinity War, he spoke out about how the Marvel Cinematic Universe to double down on diversity and inclusion moving forward.

Chris Evans (Captain America)

In addition to being a social advocate and outspoken about political issues on Twitter — perhaps more than anyone else on this list — Evans is full of good deeds. He's competed in a viral challenge raising awareness for combat veteran suicide, adopted a rescue dog, spoken up for bullied kids, and honored a young fan who passed away from cancer, just to name a few highlights from recent years.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor)

While Chris Hemsworth has also shown love to young fans who are sick with Thor brother Tom Hiddleston (Loki), where he really shines is with advocating for women. He played a gender-flipped character in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, said Wonder Woman could beat Thor in a fight, and suggested Charlize Theron be the next James Bond. What's not to love about a guy like this?

Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow)

Besides being the only original female member of The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson has proven there is little she can't do. For one, her range is incredible as she is one of the greatest female action heroes in Hollywood today and has tackled mansplaining in a funny way. Along with other female Marvel stars — such as Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Larson, Gurira, Karen Gillan (Nebula), Evangeline Lily (Wasp), and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) — she has proven that fans want, and deserve, to see more powerful women in superhero films.

Chris Pratt (Star-Lord)

Chris Pratt is one of the goofiest guys, but has a heart of gold. He has teamed up with Evans to bring a smile to the face of sick children, reminded us that men can be body shamed, been brave enough to own up to mistakes, and competed in a Memorial Day-themed viral challenge (in addition to doing the one Evans did, too). 

Mark Ruffalo (Hulk)

If there's anyone who can hold a candle to how engaged with social issues and politics Evans is, Ruffalo would be the one. In addition to speaking out about not bullying kids, Ruffalo has raised awareness for male breast cancer and put star power behind a film festival meant to improve the representation of those with disabilities.

Cover image: Marvel / Disney

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