Gore over horror. Violence over humor. Money over principles. Failure over success.
A very smart script–particularly if you are familiar with the decades of source material–that was clear on its intent: to force into being the sweetest, most Harry-Potterish, most inclusive superhero movie ever. Succeeded.
The official media material says:
Black Panther earns three Oscars. Since its inception Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has provoked and stoked a wide range of interest, and now that the blockbuster film is the recipient of three Oscars the film’s acclaim extends beyond the box office.
No, it didn’t get the top prize, but it was a barrier breaker as Ruth Carter was the first black woman to ever win in the Costume Design category; and another first for a black artist when Hannah Beachler took the trophy, which she shared with Set Decorator Jay Hart, in Production Design. Additional spice arrived when Ludwig Goransson earned an Oscar for the Best Score in a Motion Picture.
These awards and other nominations for Black Panther augurs well for populist cinema that is traditionally scorned when it comes to taking home the coveted awards, particularly an Oscar, which is Marvel’s first.
It’s a good bet the honors to Black Panther will not only boost the appreciation for populist cinema, it should also enhance the appeal of a number of products and projects such as Black Panther: A Paradigm Shift or Not? the forthcoming anthology at Third World Press, edited by Haki Madhubuti and Herb Boyd. “All of the celebration and awards for the film is nothing to thumb your nose at and we at Third World Press extend all our good wishes and hope we can do as well with our publication,” said Madhubuti, the press’s publisher and founder.
The anthology, which includes more than forty writers, film critics, scholars, and activists, has a timely appearance and should be able to reap some of the renewed media attention the film has sparked. Among the contributors are Nicole Mitchell Gantt, Jelani Cobb, Brent Staples, Abdul Alkalimat, Bobby Seale, Robyn Spencer, Diane Turner, Greg Tate, Maulana Karenga, Marita Golden, and Molefi Keta Asante, et al.
As may be discerned from the contributors the anthology is a compilation of mixed views and opinions―with both praise and a critique of the film. “The film has aroused a variety of conclusions, a wellspring of differences that we felt compelled to give them a forum,” said Boyd. “Like the film, the views expressed in the book are often very provocative.”
This is the movie that “Green Lantern” should have been. Very serviceable, and a good origin story–more for NICK FURY and SHIELD than the lead. All involved struggle against the worn out superhero-origin-story format, and succeed perhaps to the limit they can. Only for the most Marvel hardcore–and/or for cat and Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg lovers. 😉
I had some free time at my theater, waiting for “Captain Marvel” to be screened last night. So I bought a ticket for–and saw–“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” (It was OK, but the thrill was clearly gone.) I, um, somehow got lost getting back to the lobby, so I watched the climax of “Fighting With My Family” (amazing how the U.K.’s working-class whites are portrayed in films as being just like Black people in the ‘Hood!), and then, continuing my lost journey, watched “What” from the beginning.
Um….why did, for the entire time, Henson remind me of Luther’s almost-but-not-quite crossover songs? She wants white people to like her REAL BAD. She tries to keep her “edge,” but she also wants their comfort level kept. A movie that could–and maybe should–have had serious edges copped out. And it’s clearly hard to write rom-coms: not because of the rigid format, but the fact that you have to be funny enough to make the audience forget it. This failed.
To be alive is the most extraordinary thing there is. To be Black and alive is to be stalked by danger. To be Black, alive and daring to love is to court that danger. To be Black, alive, in love and fighting for freedom is the most powerful danger to be in. This is what Barry Jenkins understands from James Baldwin, and he delivers, in picture, word and tone. A melancholy masterpiece.