The Marvel cinematic universe has become a gold standard in cinematic world building. However, it isn’t perfect. For fans who waited years to see their favorite super heroes on the big screen, the MCU is perfect and can do no wrong, but for others, it is a pool of mediocrity. With all of the good there is also bad. Here are some problems that need to be addressed.
People of Color
Watching Marvel movies can be a painful experience for people of color. Actors like Idris Elba, who is a Golden Globe winner, has been relegated to a divine doorman. He may get five minutes of screen time per Thor film, even though he is a dynamic actor who starred in his own TV show.
Oscar winner Don Cheadle plays the sidekick to Robert Downey, Jr., a man who was nominated for an Oscar portraying a Black man in Black face. There has to be a reason Terence Howard jumped ship. These talented Black actors have climbed the mountain top of their craft and they get no real respect or significance in these films.
Honestly, Anthony Mackie has a decent role and some actual importance in the Captain America films. Also, Nick Fury is vital to the universe but what will happen after Infinity War? People are banking for Black Panther, but will he be relegated to a bit player in the team up films? It is possible. Marvel has a lot of diverse characters. It would be nice to see more Hispanic and Asian heroes as well.
During the 2015 Blogher Conference held in New York from July 16-18, filmmaker Ava DuVernay talked the ins and outs of the film industry. The director also dished on why she passed up Black Panther.
“For me, it was a process of trying to figure out, are these people I want to go to bed with? Because it’s really a marriage. It’d be three years of not doing other things that are important to me,” she explained. “So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do?”
In Blerds‘ continuing coverage of DuVernay’s journey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there had been news about the director possibly directing the Black Panther film since the last week of June. The blogosphere went bonkers with anticipation and some websites were reporting that she took the job.
However, in the first week of July it was revealed in an interview with the Huffington Post that DuVernay turned down the job over creative differences.
“This is my art,” DuVernay told the crowd of bloggers. “This is what will live on after I’m gone. So it’s important to me [to] be true to who I was in this moment. And if there’s too much compromise, it really wasn’t going to be an Ava DuVernay film.”
DuVernay is obviously one of the first directors to come to mind, and it’s not just because of her recent sweep of award season nominations. DuVernay’s Selma proved that she has the ability to navigate the complexities of the ever-present humanity that still lies behind a great hero, and that’s going to be key when it comes to Marvel’s Black Panther film. “Selma showed her ability to deconstruct the myth of a heroic figure like Martin Luther King and reveal his humanity,” The Mary Sue wrote of the director. “And not only does she reveal the man behind the legend, she shows how much the man who helped shape a movement could leave such a powerful legacy that would be elevated to mythical status. The tension between the man and the mythos is at the heart of most successful superhero stories, and is particularly crucial for the Black Panther, who is not simply a costumed crusader but a leader of a nation.”
Coogler has actually emerged as a crowd favorite on many online forums and in some social media circles. Coogler is the man responsible for capturing the emotionally charged, politically compelling social commentary that was present throughout Fruitvale Station. The film captured the tragic and heartbreaking story of Oscar Grant, the unarmed Black father who was fatally shot by a BART police officer in Oakland, California. “Coogler’s exploration of police violence avoids being simply a preachy drama focusing on a tragic moment in recent history,” The Mary Sue explains. “Instead, it is a deeply moving character study whose protagonist is far more than just a tragic victim, depicted as a deeply sympathetic and fallible human being who is instantly relatable.” That ability to leave the “preachy” approach behind while still pulling key social commentary and controversial discussions to light is exactly what Black Panther’s director would need to possess.