The breakthrough superheroes of 2017

Every year, Hollywood brings us the superheroes — and supervillains — whose fantastic exploits hold up a mirror to our times. And 2017, with its complicated and unprecedentedly diverse cast of larger-than-life characters, was no exception. From Gal Gadot's fiercely hopeful “Wonder Woman” to Tessa Thompson's hard-drinking, butt-kicking Valkyrie in "Thor: Ragnarok" to Chris Pratt's Star-Lord ("Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2") with a galaxy's worth of father issues, big budget characters who are not quite human told some of the year's most relatable, human stories.

"The demographic is leveling itself out, where it’s becoming more of everyone, not just white, straight, cis males," film writer and self-proclaimed nerd Valerie Complex told Mary Elizabeth Williams during a recent "Salon Talks."

Complex also noted the continuing evolution of characters we've grown to know over the years — like Tony Stark/Iron Man and Logan/Wolverine — as well as the promising successes of films with other kinds of heroes.

"Seeing the same story a thousand times about a white male hero who saves people from the burning building is cool if it's well done," she said. "But it's a tired narrative that we can move on from, and get other people and other creative stories out there."

Looking ahead to 2018, Complex is excited to see "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp." "I think Evangeline Lilly is going to bring the heat," she said.

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