Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Black Panther (2018)

While other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have dealt with issues of treaties and succession, I would never consider them to be political films. Though the Guardians of the Galaxy films make it more apparent than some of the others, in the end they’re all about family dynamics. Even Captain America and Iron Man’s conflict is little more than a heightened version of most dinner tables at The Holidays.

When MCU movies are topical it is either in a vague sense (ie: platitudes about sticking up for the little guy) or simply by refuting the carnage of DC’s cinematic output. Black Panther, on the other hand, is very specifically topical and political. It talks specifically about refugees and barriers that keep people out. It also talks about disadvantaged communities and how helping them is more involved than just saving the planet from annihilation every other week. And of course there is the fact that this cast is predominantly black and overwhelmingly female in the era of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo.

The fact that there was a concerted effort to diminish this film by lowering its rating or claiming that white attendees were subjected to physical violence at screenings let’s you know that the “other side” was aware of this film’s power. And the fact that this film smashed so many records let’s you know that audiences the world over are thirsty for what it is selling.

This is not a one-off. This is a repeatable model. Hire non-white actors and crews. Hire and cast women. People are sick of having to identify with a token either in front of or behind the camera. May the one-two punch of Wonder Woman and Black Panther be the blast that finally opens the floodgates!

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