Author Topic: Superhero Movies  (Read 2843 times)

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Offline kimmy

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2018, 10:56:12 pm »
I can relate to being happy at seeing a black man elected President. 

You can relate to it, but if you were a young black person, you wouldn't just relate to it, you'd *feel* it.

When I was young, Japanese-Canadian hockey star Paul Kariya was a big deal for my Chinese-Canadian friends. They didn't know or care much about hockey, but it was tremendously exciting for them to know that someone who looked like them was a real star in the white-man's game.  That a white guy could become a big star in the NHL is probably not very exciting for white guys at large, because pretty much every big star in the NHL is a white guy, but there's probably still lots of boys out there playing street hockey imagining that they're Conor McDavid or Austin Matthews.  And for a while, at least, there were Asian kids playing street hockey imagining they were Paul Kariya.   And playing basketball imagining they were Yao Ming.   And I'm sure that a lot of short white Canadian kids were playing basketball imagining they were Steve Nash too.

Through that, I can relate to being proud of seeing certain roles portrayed, but it's a separate experience from enjoying the art.

Perhaps it's a "separate experience" because you relate to it but don't actually *feel* it.  Perhaps these films are exciting for people who aren't you because they give people who aren't you an experience that you've taken for granted your whole life.

Perhaps you never found discarded fluorescent light tubes in the alley and grabbed one and held it like a sword and said "I'M A BEN KENOBI!!!" and had a a sword fight with your friends.  Or similar.  My little brother did. I got to be Count Dooku or Darth Maul, of course, because the hero of the story was always the white male.  I was always the villainous foil, first of all because mostly I was just indulging my little brother, and secondly because the hero is always the white male.  And even though I knew better than to have sword-fights with breakable glass "light-sabers", I played along because it made my little brother feel good to imagine himself as Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi.  There was never a Kim Kenobi in Star Wars when I was a kid. I never got to be the hero in our imaginary Star Wars adventure.

Why would they ?

Why indeed.  And yet it seems like when Hollywood sets out to entertain black people we get two extremes.  It's either historical epics-- 12 Years A Slave, Selma, Malcolm X,  etc etc etc, or low-brow Tyler Perry comedies.   There's a substantially large void in between.

And into this void steps Black Panther, a movie that's unapologetically aimed towards a black audience while standing on its own as a solid piece of entertainment to audiences of any race.  And, to the surprise of perhaps some-- made a ****-ton of money.  This is a smash success even by Disney/Marvel standards-- it will very shortly surpass every other Marvel movie to date, and when all is said and done it will rank among the biggest commercial successes of all time, regardless of genre.

The villain of the story-- Erik "Killmonger" Stevens-- is a compelling figure, and his anger and angst speak to the audience just as clearly as some historical civil rights drama might.  There is, I gather, a lively ongoing debate as to whether Erik is even a villain... some feel like he has a pretty good point and maybe T'Challa is actually the villain in the story.  I read an interesting column arguing that both Killmonger and T'Challa symbolize competing factions within the actual historical Black Panther Party movement.  There's a lot of discussion about the way this movie has portrayed black anger and black resentment.  It's possible that this movie has created more discussion about racial issues in America than any "serious" historical drama ever has.

And, when it comes to the issue of diversity and representation in Hollywood, you can be dead certain that Black Panther and Wonder Woman have done far more to advance that front than any number of Harriet Tubman biopics ever could.

The real diversity comes now, after the "first" one... when nobody gives a ****.

There will be more. Some will be good. Some will suck. Some will succeed. Some will fail.  Just as with movies with white male protagonists.

David Mamet writes a lot of movies for people like me, but also people like you.  You would like his politics, maybe.  I'll put a link to an interview he did last week with WTF.


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