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Marvel Cinematic Universe, Phase Three and BEYOOOOONND

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

That's because they announced in advance they'd punish and purge any attempts to sabotage the film (i.e. any negative reviews).  My guess is that its no more fun and great than any other Marvel release previously, but its getting SUPER HYPED WONDER REVIEWS because of political correctness.  Its not good enough for it just to be a fun, great entertaining film, it has to be THE MOST MAGNIFICENT FILM UNDERTAKING OF HUMAN HISTORY!!!!!!1!!!!11!!

 

The number - 51 - relates to critics, not the audience score. 

 

Edit: now 55, and still 100%

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By this point I think we can all rely comfortably on it being an entertaining, visually amazing film, and I liked the actor that played Black Panther in Civil War.  In fact, his story and character arc was more interesting to me than the main story.  I'm looking forward to it, but I think like all the previous films it probably will have some flaws too.

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2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Yeah exactly.  There's no reason to get all Emperor's New Clothes about the film, if its a great fun movie, then that's enough.  No reason to pretend its Citizen Kane plus Casablanca.

 

Phhh.  Winter Soldier is far better than those films.

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There are, arguably, better-made superhero films than Wonder Woman. But that movie wasn't just an entertainment, it was an event. It was a cultural touchstone that connected with much of its audience, particularly women, in ways no movie in its genre ever had before. Just from the responses I'm seeing from the people who have viewed Black Panther so far, I expect that to do the same for black audiences.

 

You're right that a movie only needs to be entertaining. But if it has a deeper impact than that, then it becomes an important movie. And not having that impact for everyone won't make it less important.

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13 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

There are, arguably, better-made superhero films than Wonder Woman. But that movie wasn't just an entertainment, it was an event. It was a cultural touchstone that connected with much of its audience, particularly women, in ways no movie in its genre ever had before. Just from the responses I'm seeing from the people who have viewed Black Panther so far, I expect that to do the same for black audiences.

 

You're right that a movie only needs to be entertaining. But if it has a deeper impact than that, then it becomes an important movie. And not having that impact for everyone won't make it less important.

If I may, I'd like to add to this with my own personal anecdote...

 

I've been a comic book fan for nearly fifty years. I've been collecting reading, trying to write them, and certainly playing out superhero fantasies for close to 40 of those. This current wave of superhero pop-culture dominance is something I couldn't have imagined even ten years ago, especially having been a kid who had his comics torn up by a "friend" who thought they were silly, and was punched in the mouth for liking Star Wars in 1977. To have us comic nerds having "won the culture war" in this way still baffles me... but I can say that when I sat through Winter Soldier for the first time, I felt an inkling of what others might say about representation. I finally saw on the screen everything I'd seen and felt in comics since I was a kid. Here was a couple of serious movie makers, taking classic characters, and doing them right on nearly every level, while telling a serious spy-movie, with serious actors taking everything I'd ever enjoyed... seriously.


I certainly didn't need to see more white guys on film to feel represented, but I did feel a touch of "Yes... they get it. They understand why this can be so damn cool" type of validation. It felt good.

 

My wife, her own type of nerd, enjoyed it, but didn't really get why I was so enthused.

 

Then she saw Wonder Woman.

 

Both of us went in a little leery... me because DC movies suck (usually)... and her because she understood the stakes of WW being good or not. At the end, I was happily, very pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable WW was.

 

Beside me, my wife was weeping openly. So were many women in the theater. She looked at me and said, "We have to see that again. Right away."  The movie was a religious experience for her. I'd bought her GNs of the classic Perez' run (she hates reading floppies) and she'd begun enjoying them... now she devoured them. We've seen the movie several times, and she and her friends have watched it. We don't buy movies, but I bought her WW for Christmas. She devoured the Perez' issues, read the current YA Wonder Woman novel (loved it) and is in the middle of Rucka's first run on WW, and can't get enough. She has read and shared every article about the movie. It moved her. It inspired her. It meant something to her sense of self, far beyond being an enjoyable superhero flick.

 

Obviously it did the same for many others, and that is why Wonder Woman is important.

 

It has been fascinating to be so close, and get to experience (second hand at least) what "representation" means and looks like, and how it really affects someone.


To Lord Liaden's point... it doesn't have to effect me the same way to be a great movie... and certainly the impact on me is not the judge of its importance. I can at least understand now, on a more visceral level, not just intellectually... how Black Panther "means" something way beyond what I can personally experience, and that my opinion of the "meaning" of that movie is correctly and deservedly "less" than other people's. I have a feeling I will love Black Panther in my own way... Coogler's "Fruitville Station" and "Creed" are both tremendous films, and I've been reading Black Panther since Jungle Action and the Avengers in the '70s. (Sadly, do not have a FF #52 in my collection.) I also understand that this movie means WAY less for me than for a lot of other people, and that's ok... good in fact. Important things have meaning on many different levels.

 

My wife and I bought tickets within twenty minutes of pre-sale, and we'll see it on the 15th, and hopefully enjoy it. We'll discuss it, pick it apart, and debate it, like we always do.


Then we'll go home and watch Wonder Woman again... most likely. :) 

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I see another parallel between the "representation" in Wonder Woman and Black Panther. Sure, there have been plenty of strong women in movies, even leads in recent decades. But almost always those women have shown strength the way men have traditionally shown it: by being tough, hard, shutting down the "weakness" of their emotions. WW portrayed women as strong as any man, whose strength came from their emotions. Diana didn't sacrifice any of the qualities that women have always valued -- kindness, compassion, love -- to be heroic. Those qualities are what make her a hero.

 

For a very long time, black protagonists in movies have defined themselves in relation to white society. Either they act in opposition to oppressive features of it, or they co-opt its conventions for themselves, and excel at them, to become "as good as" white people. For the Wakandans the expectations of European-descended culture are irrelevant. They built their unique civilization entirely on their own terms, and in doing so have achieved greatness, in some ways even exceeding the accomplishments of white-dominated Western society.

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1 minute ago, Lord Liaden said:

For a very long time, black protagonists in movies have defined themselves in relation to white society. Either they act in opposition to oppressive features of it, or they co-opt its conventions for themselves, and excel at them, to become "as good as" white people. For the Wakandans the expectations of European-descended culture are irrelevant. They built their unique civilization entirely on their own terms, and in doing so have achieved greatness, in some ways even exceeding the accomplishments of white-dominated Western society.

 

And it is the fact that this idea, perhaps summed up in the concept of Afrofuturism... that this idea is so RADICAL as even just a premise for a fantasy movie... so disturbing to the built in assumptions of the dominant white culture... that makes it powerful... and important.

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Well, I (and others) have repeatedly stated reasons why Black Panther is quite different from those movies.  Not sure how else to say it at this point.  If you really see a close comparison between Men in Black and Black Panther,  oh well.

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25 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

This isn't exactly like Wonder Woman, I mean:

Meteor Man

Steel

Spawn

Blankman

Blade Trilogy

Men In Black

Hancock

 

Blade was the first really successful Marvel Comics movie to come out, in fact.

 

Supergirl

Eon Flux

Ultraviolet

Resident Evil

Catwoman

Elektra

Atomic Blonde

Ghost in the Shell

 

Just the fact that a person from a particular category is the lead in a movie, isn't a counter to the other points already raised about what kind of movie it is. Plus, much of what both you and I cited were predominantly comical or campy. And no few were, objectively speaking, crap.

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Honestly, that sounds unnecessarily dismissive of the many people who have genuinely been moved and motivated by these and many other movies.

 

Have you not heard WW director Patty Jenkins remark that one of the biggest reasons she wanted to become a film maker, was seeing Christopher Reeve as Superman when she was a girl?

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8 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

This isn't exactly like Wonder Woman, I mean:

Meteor Man

Steel

Spawn

Blankman

Blade Trilogy

Men In Black

Hancock

 

Blade was the first really successful Marvel Comics movie to come out, in fact.

 

With respect, none of those movies were actually serious examinations of Black culture. Meteor Man and Blankman were both comedies and the others were more vehicles for their stars/action comedies than serious superhero movies. Black Panther is  important to not only Black culture but also to the history of diversity in the comics industry itself. He was the first and was never an Angry Black Man(John Stewart) or a Blaxploitation  character(Luke Cage) but an African prince with a scientific background. He adventured alongside the FF and Avengers as an equal from the beginning. If this movie lives up to even half the hype it will affect the Black community(my community) as profoundly as Wonder Woman did women. 

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6 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

The truth is, these movies are not in any sense some kind of barrier-shattering world breaking new experience that redefines culture.  But with the right hype and advertising, people who don't know any better can think it is, and that's good business.

 

I don't think you're part of the culture this movie is aimed at.

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You know, when I saw Wargames back in 1983 I loved it and, at the time, thought, Finally a movie that gets being a computer nerd right! It was an important personal touchstone in cinema for me. Of course, for 99% of the movie-going audience, that movie was just another light thriller with some dorky kids in it. Just because that movie was important to me in some intensely personal way (and maybe even for a whole lot of other computer nerds like me), that doesn't mean I accord it some wider significance to our society or our culture. It was a just a movie, and only a fairly decent one (from a purely objective point of view) irrespective of how much I loved it, or how important it was to me, or how many tears of representational joy I shed over it.

 

Yet with movies like Wonder Woman (which I absolutely adored) and Black Panther (which I expect to like very much), we are all expected to celebrate its "cultural importance" and disregard its objective merits as a piece of cinematic storytelling. Impartial criticism is simply not allowed in the highly-charged atmosphere of BLM and Me Too that is shaping the acceptable groupthink today. Nobody is trying to marginalize the importance of these movies to their respective target demos, but we ought to be allowed to assess them from a more objective perspective without being called out as insensitive or dismissive.

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19 minutes ago, zslane said:

You know, when I saw Wargames back in 1983 I loved it and, at the time, thought, Finally a movie that gets being a computer nerd right! It was an important personal touchstone in cinema for me. Of course, for 99% of the movie-going audience, that movie was just another light thriller with some dorky kids in it. Just because that movie was important to me in some intensely personal way (and maybe even for a whole lot of other computer nerds like me), that doesn't mean I accord it some wider significance to our society or our culture. It was a just a movie, and only a fairly decent one (from a purely objective point of view) irrespective of how much I loved it, or how important it was to me, or how many tears of representational joy I shed over it.

 

Yet with movies like Wonder Woman (which I absolutely adored) and Black Panther (which I expect to like very much), we are all expected to celebrate its "cultural importance" and disregard its objective merits as a piece of cinematic storytelling. Impartial criticism is simply not allowed in the highly-charged atmosphere of BLM and Me Too that is shaping the acceptable groupthink today. Nobody is trying to marginalize the importance of these movies to their respective target demos, but we ought to be allowed to assess them from a more objective perspective without being called out as insensitive or dismissive.

 

For me, the cultural significance of an attempted blockbuster revolving around a heroic all-black cast set in the greatest, most advanced country on earth will have no impact on whether or not the movie will be enjoyable/good or not.

 

However, yes, there will likely be a much greater impact if the movie is good.

 

If Black Panther is good, I would ask people to try to imagine if Star Wars had been made with all black people.

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21 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

No, Im not the part of the culture that the hype and advertising is aimed at.  But in time this will make more sense.

 

You're not part of the superhero movie audience? I'm so confused.

 

The cultural significance may be lost on you but that doesn't mean it's not there for others.

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10 minutes ago, Starlord said:

 

For me, the cultural significance of an attempted blockbuster revolving around a heroic all-black cast set in an afrofuturistic setting will have no impact on whether or not the movie will be enjoyable/good or not.

 

 

Not for me either. But I'm encouraged that so far, everyone I've heard who has actually seen the movie, regardless of background, says that it's really good.

 

I guarantee that if it isn't, it won't matter what the subject matter is or what audience it was aimed at. It will scarcely be remembered, like most of the other movies cited a few posts ago.

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Interesting thing about media hype: if the object of it isn't something an audience wants, they don't really buy into it, no matter how much PR fanfare it gets. Remember Blade Runner 2049? Small but devoted cult following, most critics loved it, studio pushed it heavily; but the public stayed away in droves. OTOH the big-screen version of Stephen King's It was a relatively low-budget horror film, mostly unknown child cast, not a lot spent on marketing; but unexpected public interest in it, and response to its few trailers, built a groundswell of spontaneous hype that turned into unprecedented box-office.

 

Real excitement for a movie can't be bought. Doesn't stop many studios from trying, of course. I don't think Marvel/Disney is hyping BP more than any of their other movies. It's just that the excitement around it is real, and everything we're learning from outside the studio is feeding it.

 

I don't believe it will be a perfect movie, but it doesn't have to be. It may still turn out to be a disappointment, although I doubt it. At this point I'm quite willing to get excited. :bounce:

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