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Black Panther

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kgbelliveau
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Black Panther

Postby kgbelliveau » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:04 pm

Marvel has definitely struck gold once again or should I say Vibranium once again. This movie is pure cinematic glory in its finest. An isolated origin story that delivers thrills, culture and characterization. Who did not enjoy that delightfully cooky performance from Serkis and Chadwick Boseman is definitely a lead worth rallying behind. A true film that can be used to shift the focus on how we see cinematic landscapes form on the big screen. Kudos Ryan Coogler and crew for achieving that.

Stewball
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Stewball » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:25 pm

Disney/Marvel hit the box office mother lode with this black blockbuster, and the middle was done exceptionally well, but there was little humor and much macho/femcho posturing throughout. The Lion King style music was a definite plus which it could have utilized more. And of course Disney/Marvel just couldn't resist the blatant Wakanda/America equivalence, it not being fair that they have so much, obviating their (read our) need for the "social justice" redistribution of wealth, er Vibranium. BTW, for those who like myself were otherwise ignorant, Proto-Adamantium is the adamantium-vibranium alloy used in Captain America's shield and is the strongest human-made material on Earth. And I'm ready for more Guardians. They're the ones who don't take themselves so damn seriously--well, them and Deadpool...and the Jumanji jungle. 7/10

kgbelliveau
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Re: Black Panther

Postby kgbelliveau » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:15 pm

I definitely understand where your critcisms are coming from. I definitely felt the lack of humour was a better approach to this film. Marvel tends to have random ill placed humour.

It worked for Deadpool because it was the main tone for Deadpool. Marvel needs to step away from the mashup movies and more into the isolated stories within the universe like this one. Diplomatic relations could be an interesting plot point if done well within the script moving forward for the Black Panther film franchise.

Stewball
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Stewball » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:04 pm

kgbelliveau wrote:I definitely understand where your critcisms are coming from. I definitely felt the lack of humour was a better approach to this film. Marvel tends to have random ill placed humour.

It worked for Deadpool because it was the main tone for Deadpool. Marvel needs to step away from the mashup movies and more into the isolated stories within the universe like this one. Diplomatic relations could be an interesting plot point if done well within the script moving forward for the Black Panther film franchise.


But you have to remember what we're talking about here, comic book fantasies relabeled "graphic novels". Look at Hamlet, a tragedy if there ever was one, with little asides like one grave digger saying to another, "First thing we do, kill all the lawyers." The best comedy is dark comedy and gallows humor. Like I say, we can't take ourselves too seriously because we're all gonna die. BTW, the only real joke in Black Panther was the one where the punch line was
Spoiler: show
sneakers
. And I agree about the mashups. Pretty soon they're gonna be having mega-sequels with a cast of 500 A-listers.

kgbelliveau
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Re: Black Panther

Postby kgbelliveau » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:11 pm

That is a fair point about the source material being fantasy based and to remember that when judging the content of a film based on said structure.

That being said I think that has translated into both Marvel and DC thinking Fantasy= Parody and they opt fot more humour than usually necessary in order to avoid being viewed as too dark to appeal to children. Look at Thor Ragnorok as an example of this. That is the definition of too much humour in a plot that calls for more a serious approach. I appreciate dark humour just as much as the next person but Marvel seldom does a good job placing their humour in a well timed and darkly comedic scene.

Stewball
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Stewball » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:41 pm

kgbelliveau wrote:That is a fair point about the source material being fantasy based and to remember that when judging the content of a film based on said structure.

That being said I think that has translated into both Marvel and DC thinking Fantasy= Parody and they opt fot more humour than usually necessary in order to avoid being viewed as too dark to appeal to children. Look at Thor Ragnorok as an example of this. That is the definition of too much humour in a plot that calls for more a serious approach. I appreciate dark humour just as much as the next person but Marvel seldom does a good job placing their humour in a well timed and darkly comedic scene.



Fantasy=Parody, of what? Black Panther is the only superhero employing political humor or commentary, or social satire that I can remember. They even have voter registration tables at some theater locations. Of course that doesn't show the producer's intent, only fan exploitation.
The closest I remember one coming to being political was in the Dark Knight, where Alfred says, "Some people just want to watch the world burn"--but I'd like to see other examples. I guess you could call Guardians -2 irreverent with the God character it has, but it's a stretch. Is any of it besides Deadpool even R rated, which is an indication how important maintaining the box office is. To bad, I'm ready for something else, or at least more of something else, besides horror which is just cheap and....bad.

kgbelliveau
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Re: Black Panther

Postby kgbelliveau » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:13 pm

Parody of its own dramatic source material. Most of the time the animated series' from the mid 90's handled the dramatic aspects better than the cinematic universe.

So far I feel like Black Panther is the first film to really focus on the dramatic elements before allowing the humour to naturally form around it. Perhaps that is moreso the writers and directors attached to the project than anything else. Noticed a special thanks to Donald and Stephen Glover in the credits. Apparently they consulted on certain aspects of the script focusing on characterization.

Harpy Gee
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Harpy Gee » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:17 pm

Stewball wrote:
kgbelliveau wrote:That is a fair point about the source material being fantasy based and to remember that when judging the content of a film based on said structure.

That being said I think that has translated into both Marvel and DC thinking Fantasy= Parody and they opt fot more humour than usually necessary in order to avoid being viewed as too dark to appeal to children. Look at Thor Ragnorok as an example of this. That is the definition of too much humour in a plot that calls for more a serious approach. I appreciate dark humour just as much as the next person but Marvel seldom does a good job placing their humour in a well timed and darkly comedic scene.



Fantasy=Parody, of what? Black Panther is the only superhero employing political humor or commentary, or social satire that I can remember. They even have voter registration tables at some theater locations. Of course that doesn't show the producer's intent, only fan exploitation.
The closest I remember one coming to being political was in the Dark Knight, where Alfred says, "Some people just want to watch the world burn"--but I'd like to see other examples. I guess you could call Guardians -2 irreverent with the God character it has, but it's a stretch. Is any of it besides Deadpool even R rated, which is an indication how important maintaining the box office is. To bad, I'm ready for something else, or at least more of something else, besides horror which is just cheap and....bad.


I recall Winter Soldier had some themes regarding the government's invasion of privacy and other conspiracies. There was also that notoriously stupid scene where the "MJ" in Spider-Man claimed the Washington Monument was made by slaves (total bullshit) and the film also touched on the idea that rich men like Tony Stark were screwing over the little man which fuelled Vulture's motivation.

That said, it was a lot of meaningless fluff if taken as a metaphor for the real world, but then again so is Black Panther. The most political that movie really got was implying all black people live in squalor and presenting this laughable "colonizer" connotation with whites. In essence, the movie was as schlocky and moronic as the rest of the MCU, and its intent was more towards "entertaining" and profiting off of the brand name than trying to develop some nuanced political message.

Mentaculus
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Mentaculus » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:07 am

OK so for giggles, a comic book socio-political freeform thought game:

Black Panther: cultural identity, colonialism, post-modern Africana, diaspora, aggression vs. non-violence, political succession, urban violence, weapons proliferation, globalization
Logan - exploitation of immigrants, national identity (including border crossings and illegal immigration), GMOs, substance abuse, treatment of the elderly, child soldiers
Winter Soldier - consolidation of arms under one political power, lack of government oversight, espionage, political assassinations, drone strikes, loss of identity to mechanized world, Cold War aftermath, armed forces PTSD
Civil War - checks and balances; ergo responsibilities of civil servants
Iron Man series - America's proliferation of weapons and arming poorer nation states; industrial espionage, terrorism
X-Men series - racism, sexism, queer identity, eugenics (including forced and/or coerced sterilization - X3), mandatory registration (i.e. State over individual rights), fear of minority, domestic terrorism
Ant-man - criminal recidivism, industrial espionage
Hulk (Ang Lee) - sins of the father; dangers and legacy of American atomic weaponry
Incredible Hulk - genetic modification / weaponization / bioweaponry
Homecoming - income inequality, domestic terrorism

I'm not saying any of the above do these themes/ideas exceptionally well, but they are present in the text and they do drive either the characters or the narrative forward in some capacity. I probably missed a few. (And I do know I ignored, sometimes purposefully, the recent DC Universe films.)

I would also champion that the mere presence of these ideas, within stories as uniformly popular as the superhero genre, has its own inherent merit, and should inspire study or consideration of these movies as some reflection of mainstream thought and culture. I'm not a fan of dismissing cultural artifacts that have had such a profound effect - simply because the characters are derived from lowbrow sources, or wear tights. Black Panther clearly touched something this year; Wonder Woman last. Whether the merit of this batch of superhero films is of serious long-term artistic significance, or more akin to Robert B. Ray's 'Avoidance of Choice' theory is probably more the conversation to have in this case (and I think it's pretty clear I'm not fully satisfied with Ray's A Certain Tendency..., personally).

Harpy Gee
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Harpy Gee » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:51 am

Nice list of political ideas exuded from these films, but the thing to consider is that a film can reference these ideas without really discussing them or being the basis of its plot. While Black Panther may lampshade pan-Africanism and globalization, that's ultimately not what the film is about - it's about an African dude who wears a cat suit and beats the shit out of criminals who seek to harm his homeland. I think it's a bit disingenuous to paint that film as being anything beyond a schlocky action movie, as is the case with any other superhero film. Which is what makes the real world reaction to these films come off as absurd - People are treating Black Panther as a litmus test for racism and that its existence is the equivalent of MLK's famous speech when in reality it's just a dumb superhero movie. People are giving a far grander reaction to this film than other black films that are far more nuanced and actually focus on socio-political issues, which goes to show that nuance is meaningless when it comes to public reaction. After all, how do you think people fall for the outright non-sense spewed by publications like Breitbart or Huffington Post? YMS did a pretty good review mocking the absurdity of it all:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urBtAEObqoQ

You can ultimately derive socio-political meanings from virtually anything if you try hard enough. The Room has themes of broken romance, living lies in order to improve your reputation, and drug abuse that could be tied to real-world realities. But the thing is The Room is so cheesy and nonsensical that these themes really don't matter much. Just because something can exude possibly meaningful themes doesn't mean it should be held in some high regard or even have much a statement to make regarding those themes. What does Black Panther say about urban violence, exactly? It's a concept that crops up in the film, but there wasn't really anything said about it in the grand scheme of things.

I'm not saying that superheroes CAN'T present these themes in a nuanced way. It's just that superhero films do a very poor job of it since they're usually very cookie cutter and rarely take risks in storytelling. Superhero comics have long tackled socio-political themes. The early Spider-Man comics in the 60's tackled responsibility in the face unsurmountable poverty, which is a theme ignored by later iterations of the character. Captain America's shift to becoming "The Captain" in the late 80's as a response to being disgusted by the suffering caused by American nationalism. The Ultimates assertion in the early 00's that superheroes were a military deterrent. X-Men with its numerous stories about religion and civil rights, the latter being the foundation of its creation.

With these examples, the storytelling in these stories is actually attempting to convey a socio-political message that cape movies usually don't. What makes these films so marketable is that they never say anything that could be considered polarizing, or attempt to convey a political message in the direct way many comics had in the past. It makes them easily digestible by every demographic in the public, which is why Disney is afraid of letting directors take any sort of risk when making these films. While cape comics have had some laughably dumb stories with a loaded and moronic take at sending a political message (such as Marvel's Civil War or the feminist virtue signaling in the recent female Thor comics) these comics are at least willing to try to discuss political issues in a direct, perhaps confrontational manner. In other words, they can take liberties with storytelling.

Compare the comic Civil War comic to the film based on it. You'll see that the comic was way more heavily driven by political themes and would often be written to directly discuss political ideas. The film gives implications of these themes, but it never tries to address them. Instead, it devolves into some schlocky action movie filled with quips and a resolution that's very dissonant from any sort of political theme.

This is why I'm not particularly fond of Marvel movies - they are mostly the same movie with a different brush painted over them.


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