Marvel Comics on Film

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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jindianajonz
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#76 Post by jindianajonz » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:20 pm

Big Ben wrote:Wolverine is essentially the mutant equivalent of a Berserker in the comics and there has most certainly been graphic violence in Wolverine comics for over thirty years.
At first Wolverine was a berserker with no qualms about killing people, but this was toned down early on in his history after the Dark Phoenix Saga. Claremont and Byrne originally intended Jean Grey to survive that event, but after putting out an issue where Jean (in her Dark Phoenix guise) destroys an inhabited planet, Editor in Chief Jim Shooter made the famous declaration "Superheroes don't kill". Of course, this ignores the fact that Wolverine was happily slicing up Hellfire Club goons mere issues before, so soon after a story appeared where Storm, as leader at the time, told Wolverine to reign in his homicidal tendencies. This largely stuck for the next few decades, and some of the best Wolverine stories, including his first limited series, revolve him overcoming his nature and taming the beast within.

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Big Ben
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#77 Post by Big Ben » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:35 pm

The restrictions on violence were not in Universe and were very much mandated by Fox Studios. Violence, war and decapitation (See the rather awful Origins film which has all three.) were all there beforehand they simply had to be obscured for ratings purposes. If anything Logan is simply more honest about that reality (As real as a comic book film can be.). Logan is still a genre film through and through and just because it happens to be significantly more self aware than its' predecessors doesn't strip away those underpinnings. Just because the film is significantly more violent doesn't really mark a tonal shift in my personal opinion but rather an acceptance of what it always should have been. If Fox Studios could have made beaucoup bucks on R rated fair way back when they most certainly would have. A reminder that a far more violent version of The Wolverine exists. The studio simply decided to market the PG-13 version. The site is NSFW due to shot comparisons.

If you want to be really depressed though try debating if Logan takes place in the same timeline as the other films or if it takes place in an entirely different Universe and is a stand alone film as Hugh Jackman has suggested. People are still arguing about this right now.

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tenia
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#78 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:38 pm

I dont know how the Wolverine TC compares to the EC cut, but the additions certainly didnt transfigure the movie at all. I was told the movie was at least quite OK and relatively fun, but oh god what a boring drag it was.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#79 Post by Big Ben » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:02 pm

I'll readily confess to my belief that the only X-Men film worth any meter of critical discussion is Logan. I was ten when the original film came out and I was wowed with it only because I was ten. Going through all the films in preparation for Logan really cemented in my mind that these were baseline okay to awful films with cast members that absolutely correct for the part but were woefully underused (Patrick Stewart for instance.) with scripts that were occasionally defecated out.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#80 Post by Ribs » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:51 pm

They are really, really comic book movies in a way that's very satisfying and won't be replicated, probably. The Wolverine is the truth, for one, but I've also really enjoyed the entire semi-reboot trilogy; I just find Logan's relationship to the other films to actually be the most engaging part of it, how it's simultaneously trying to be this grand send-off to this theoretical icon but it seems to deeply shun every single last thing about the character before that point. The X-Men films, somewhat amusingly, were never really built as anything more than single films; to almost comic effect, the "tag" at the end of every film seemed to set up something that was not followed upon whatsoever, and important characters just disappeared without mention. To see Logan try to be an endpoint to that styling is kind of commendable, but it didn't work for me, other than the very ending, which only works due to the fact there were 6 previous Wolverine-centered films that everyone more-or-less admired Jackman in.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#81 Post by tenia » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:41 am

I vastly prefer First Class, and then X2.

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Luke M
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#82 Post by Luke M » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:51 pm

If you saw Black Panther this weekend, I think this criticism is worth your time.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#83 Post by Ribs » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:53 pm

His point was undermined with his initial tweet saying Coogler has made Do the Right Thing as a major successful studio film... seemingly forgetting Spike Lee did just that in 1989.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#84 Post by jbeall » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:26 pm

Luke M wrote:If you saw Black Panther this weekend, I think this criticism is worth your time.
Thanks for posting that. Here's a rather more criticial take, though it's a little hot take-y for me. I saw Black Panther this morning and enjoyed it a great deal, so I'm decidedly more receptive to the link you posted, but figured it'd be interesting to add a competing viewpoint.

This film arrives at a particularly fraught moment, and so we're going to see more reviews than usual freighted with their particular authors' cultural politics. And it's not like the film itself doesn't invite those kinds of reviews.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#85 Post by MongooseCmr » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:25 pm

Luke M wrote:If you saw Black Panther this weekend, I think this criticism is worth your time.
I briefly talked to a young someone who was sympathetic, but didn’t understand the lavish praise that was being heaped on Black Panther. Why? Because it just didn’t work for him! It just wasn’t that good! Sure, he could connect to all the logistical reasons people might connect to it. Sure, he could see how it’s “good” to see black heroes in action. But the effect just wasn’t up on screen for him! Meaning people must just be liking the movie for ulterior X or Y reasons!

.....Not next to the incalculable value of the aforementioned representation, like the fact that the smartest tech whiz in the world is a young African princess who quotes vines and could probably run laps around Tony Stark. Not next to the range of characters and motives and perspectives rarely seen in any films, let alone within a cast of ten (TEN!) amazing black actors who are getting to headline a major studio superhero film.
How is this not liking something for “ulterior X or Y reasons?” And that comment about white teens is a massive can of worms I don’t really want to touch but offers the same kind of oblivious hypocrisy.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#86 Post by McCrutchy » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:11 am

I saw Black Panther in IMAX 2D DMR today. I was surprised by how good it was, in fact, better than I thought it would be, thanks, no doubt, to my being blinded by the politics swirling around the film. I think it's probably one of Marvel's top-tier "origin" films--I really enjoyed the world-building regarding Wakanda and all the characters there. In fact, for me, the Wakanda sequences were the best part of the film, especially early on.

It does have to be said that while the plot is interesting, it's rather plain and redundant. We've seen this kind of "Royal main character's throne is threatened" type of film many times before, and even at least one set in Africa (The Lion King), and we also know that Black Panther isn't going to die in his own origin film, either. Maybe that's why Coogler spent so much time setting up the plot, because he knew that this would be the best part of the film.

One thing I found rather odd and sort of disappointing, was
SpoilerShow
the film's use of black American characters. For an American movie, with a largely black cast, and written/directed by black Americans, I was pretty surprised that all of the positive black characters are Wakandans, while the only black American character of note is the villain Erik/Killmonger, and he's portrayed as a half-Wakandan who was born in America, and basically "lost his way" (after T'Challa's father, as Black Panther, killed Erik's father) and went nuts. There is even a sidebar in the film where T'Challa chastises his father for essentially not "saving" the child Erik by taking him back to Wakanda. Additionally, most of Erik's backstory is compressed into a few expository sentences, where we learn that he got into M.I.T., but then went into the military and became a killing machine. The film never really explores Erik's anger (or his reasons for wanting to arm all kinds of oppressed peoples worldwide) in a satisfying way, and the film failed to have any sort of black American character in a positive role to counterbalance the villain. While there isn't necessarily anything wrong with this, it nevertheless gave the film a weird colonialist vibe for me, as though it was saying that only with the superior Wakandans help, blacks in America (and elsewhere) could lead better, more equal lives.
Having said that, though, there was still much to enjoy in the film. The supporting cast is wonderful, particularly Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright, and the film is well-supported by the likes of (the ever-radiant) Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, and, in smaller roles, John Kani and Sterling K. Brown. I do think that most of the time, both leads, Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman, were upstaged by the supporting players. The three young women around T'Challa's life are much more interesting than T'Challa himself, and as for Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan's performance was effective at times--particularly in one scene with Sterling K. Brown--but most of the time, he seemed sort of aloof and unimpressed, and as happens so often in Marvel films, he simply seemed like a weak and ineffective villain. As I mentioned in the spoiler above, I really think Erik deserved to be fleshed out much more, because I really wanted to know how such an obviously intelligent and capable person got to where he was. I think if the villain had been as convincing as Wakanda and its people, Black Panther could have been one of the best films Marvel has ever produced.

Technically, the film was sound, and the IMAX 2D DMR version I saw has several sequences opened up to 1.90:1, which was nice. Some of the CGI, particularly during a couple of "outdoor" tribal ceremonies in Wakanda, looked a bit cheesy, and I agree with others who've said that the action sequences are fine, but not amazing. This is definitely a film which is more about characters and the world they inhabit, and that is where its good qualities tend to come out. As a superhero film, I think it leaves a bit to be desired, and I'm not exactly sure what Marvel is going to do for the sequel, either. A good solution might be to emulate Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok and bring in some additional MCU heroes.

One thing I found depressing, was that despite a relatively diverse and packed theater, nobody clapped at the end. Literally one or two people made half-hearted attempts to applaud, and then nothing. It makes me wonder if people enjoyed the film as much as some of the trade papers are reporting they did. I know someone I saw it with made a comment that they found the first part of the film in Wakanda boring, and certainly people go into Marvel films with certain expectations for action and fun, often of the fast and furious kind. This film was a bit talkier than the average Marvel film, so I wonder if that might have put some people off a bit?

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who is bobby dylan
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#87 Post by who is bobby dylan » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:29 am

I'm pretty sure that no movie, however beloved by some, generates universal clapping, but there was widespread clapping at the end of the movie in the screening I went to. That said, I have never personally felt like clapping after a movie, no matter how much I enjoyed it.

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Comic Books on Film

#88 Post by Luke M » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:32 am

McCrutchy wrote:
One thing I found rather odd and sort of disappointing, was
SpoilerShow
the film's use of black American characters. For an American movie, with a largely black cast, and written/directed by black Americans, I was pretty surprised that all of the positive black characters are Wakandans, while the only black American character of note is the villain Erik/Killmonger, and he's portrayed as a half-Wakandan who was born in America, and basically "lost his way" (after T'Challa's father, as Black Panther, killed Erik's father) and went nuts. There is even a sidebar in the film where T'Challa chastises his father for essentially not "saving" the child Erik by taking him back to Wakanda. Additionally, most of Erik's backstory is compressed into a few expository sentences, where we learn that he got into M.I.T., but then went into the military and became a killing machine. The film never really explores Erik's anger (or his reasons for wanting to arm all kinds of oppressed peoples worldwide) in a satisfying way, and the film failed to have any sort of black American character in a positive role to counterbalance the villain. While there isn't necessarily anything wrong with this, it nevertheless gave the film a weird colonialist vibe for me, as though it was saying that only with the superior Wakandans help, blacks in America (and elsewhere) could lead better, more equal lives.
SpoilerShow
I’ve been thinking about how African-Americans are portrayed in the film. It reminded me a lot of Ta-Nehsi Coates’s hopelessness. In the BP universe, Black Americans are incarcerated, murdered by the state, and the thought of ever seeing Wakanda is a distant dream. (Note this all from Killmonger’s point of view but we don’t see any counter to this view) The filmmakers are suggesting, like what you mentioned, Black Americans’ only shot at true equality would have to come from the assistance of an entirely invented country with a fantastical backstory and a hero with superhuman strength. I didn’t see it as colonialist. Though I can see that view. It was to me a desperate plea for help, a political statement.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#89 Post by jbeall » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:08 pm

I saw it in an almost-full theater on a Sunday morning, and there was quite a bit of clapping at the end.

I thought it was excellent, one of my top three favorite comic-superhero movies. I really have to get back to grading, so I'll try to post more detailed thoughts once I have some free time, but I second the accolades for the supporting cast.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#90 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:49 pm

So Black Panther is a standard MCU movie, about on the level of Winter Soldier, Spiderman: Homecoming, Ant-Man, or Thor. It is generally exciting, with a fine cast, and a script that hits the expected and appropriate beats. That it is being so massively praised as the apotheosis of the Marvel style is sort of confusing. It is below Doctor Strange and Thor Ragnarok, to take two recent examples, or going farther back, Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. Doctor Strange, my own favourite of these MCU films, received considerably less praise or box office attention despite having more novelty and imagination, not just in its visuals and world, but in its resolution, which--and it cannot be overstated how unusual this is--did not end with a big fight scene. Now that was a comic book movie with a modicum of imagination. Black Panther, on the other hand, felt very familiar.
SpoilerShow
Wakanda's world is baffling. It's an impossibly advanced society whose entire system of government rests on a primitive warrior cult in which combatants challenge each other for the right to hold absolute rule. It defines itself by its opposition to war, oppression, and violent reprisal, and yet the foundation of its society is a warrior cult. That its society has managed to be so safe and peaceful all these years is apparently down to the improbable good fortune of all its leaders happening to be wise and benevolent dictators, a series of Marcus Aureliuses without a Nero or Commodus in sight. That's some good luck, because apparently there are no checks or balances on royal power in this government. Killmonger, an outsider with no connection to Wakandan culture, can physically assault his subordinates and threaten them with execution, radically defy tradition and precedent, and declare his intention to carry out proscriptions on political rivals, all with impunity. The council he heads seem to be mainly advisors with no real power.

Observing this situation, T'Challa's family and followers (and frankly the movie) decides that the real problem here is not that this is an totalitarian government founded on a warrior cult, it's that the wrong person is king. And yet Killmonger isn't some travesty or perversion; he's the inevitable result of any system constructed like this. Any very strong fighter with a claim to the throne can snatch it and remake Wakanda however he sees fit, no matter the cost in human life and happiness. Hell, if that mountain ruler had won the fight, as by any right he should have, would he have been any better? The problem isn't Killmonger, it's the system that would allow him to gain and keep unchecked power. And he isn't even a false king; he won his crown fairly. That T'Challa survived to renew the contest is the result of unlawful interference in T'Challa's favour, without which he would've gone over the falls in two pieces. You have to feel bad for Killmonger: he won the crown fairly, but was undermined by illegal insurgent action on behalf of the previous royal family who valued tribalism and clan ties over the traditions that are the bedrock of their society, as far as I can gather (it is as conservative a society as you can imagine, with tradition having formed the basis of daily life for centuries).

The deep problems in Wakandan politics could've been tackled in an interesting way, but the movie would rather posit Wakanda's isolationist tradition as the problem and have T'Challa solve that, fixing everything (I guess). Because, after all, the problem is not that a man like Killmonger can become absolute ruler simply by being better at violence, the problem is that he wasn't allowed to be part of the in-group in the first place. Indeed.
Not that any of the above affected my enjoyment of the film one way or the other--it's an MCU movie, its values are going to be simplistic when they aren't merely incoherent, that's more or less the given. But you're going to have some very troubling issues to deal with if you're going to hold that Black Panther represents the comic book film's first step towards political maturity.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#91 Post by who is bobby dylan » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:06 am

Thanks for posting that. Here's a rather more criticial take, though it's a little hot take-y for me. I saw Black Panther this morning and enjoyed it a great deal, so I'm decidedly more receptive to the link you posted, but figured it'd be interesting to add a competing viewpoint.
A riposte to that hot take: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... source=twb

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#92 Post by tenia » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:40 am

Mr Sausage wrote:That it is being so massively praised as the apotheosis of the Marvel style is sort of confusing.
As I often wrote, the overall praise over the majority of Marvel movies is confusing to me.
This being written, the praise for Black Panther reminds me of the praise for Wonder Woman, and honestly, this doesn't look to me like a good thing, since WW was praised for many things I felt vastly over-rated, including its supposed feminism that actually is extremely clumsy.
Mr Sausage wrote:It's an MCU movie, its values are going to be simplistic when they aren't merely incoherent, that's more or less the given. But you're going to have some very troubling issues to deal with if you're going to hold that Black Panther represents the comic book film's first step towards political maturity.
That's the main vibe I'm reading here in France, which makes the current US praise even more confusing but also kind of inconsistent with the actual content of the movie (hence also why it reminds me of WW, which definitely suffered this positive unfair bias).

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#93 Post by McCrutchy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:40 pm

who is bobby dylan wrote:
Thanks for posting that. Here's a rather more criticial take, though it's a little hot take-y for me. I saw Black Panther this morning and enjoyed it a great deal, so I'm decidedly more receptive to the link you posted, but figured it'd be interesting to add a competing viewpoint.
A riposte to that hot take: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... source=twb
Interesting that the author of that response, Adam Serwer (who has (changed?) his name on Twitter to "T'Challa"), appears to be either extremely light-skinned or actually Caucasian, while Christopher Lebron, who authored the critical take, is considerably darker in appearance.

I agree more with Lebron, although I think Serwer is correct to point out that
SpoilerShow
Killmonger's ultimate goal is world domination. To take that a bit further, though (and as Serwer alludes to in pointing out Killmonger's mention of Hong Kong), I never really felt that Killmonger wanted to liberate black people all over the world, so much as oppressed people all over the world, and I think he even says things like "all the oppressed peoples will rise up", which, in this day and age, could hardly mean only blacks. In the 21at century, oppressed people aren't just in African countries, but Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and even South America, to name just a few places. And it's worth pointing out that Killmonger would have been to at least some of these places as a member of the US military, too. In this sense, I don't think Killmonger is as colorblind (to those not black) as some people might interpret, or possibly prefer.
I do think, however, that Lebron nails the idea that the film has problems with its representation of black Americans. Although there is still massive inequality for blacks--and virtually all minorities--in America, the vision of black America in Black Panther felt much more like 1968 than 2018, and that invalidation of fifty years of progress is one of the reasons why I find the mainstream American media's fawning over the film to be somewhat troubling. In fact, I think certain kinds of American racists could come away from the film pleasantly surprised to see black Americans "put in their place", by an advanced African nation that is, after all, decidedly fantastical, and (something I've not really seen mentioned) the brainchild of two white men (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) in the first place.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#94 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:13 pm

I mostly agree with those expressing mixed feelings on Black Panther. For every compelling actor (especially Michael B. Jordan's villain and Danai Gurira's general) or inspired bit of world-building, there is an equally uninteresting/incoherent action sequence - especially the almost shockingly boring final one-on-one combat scene - or under-investigated/simplistic socio-political idea. There are so many elements that distinguish this from every other Marvel/superhero movie (the investment in emotional relationships; the near-absence of constant, increasingly desperate-feeling connections to the larger franchise universe) that the areas where it fails to separate itself are perhaps even more disappointing.

On those action elements: it was deeply disappointing that Coogler, who made the fight sequences in Creed so thrilling and visceral, seems entirely disengaged from the often incomprehensible and/or downright ugly editing and staging of many of the fights and chases. I appreciated the investment Coogler makes in establishing meaningful characters and establishing this new society and its culture, but this is fundamentally an action film, and neglecting that element undermines the investment he makes in infusing meaning into the outcomes of these battles.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#95 Post by All the Best People » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:51 am

Black Panther is ... fine. It’s a finely cromulent piece of business, with some good aspects and some flawed aspects. The performances are good (aside from Andy Serkis, but even then he’s clearly doing what was asked of him, so I don’t blame him), I liked the aesthetics of the world-building, there are several contrivances in the plot designed just to set up certain fights, the conflicts seem like they’re trying to imply nuance but in fact fail to and come across as thoroughly straightforward and uncomplicated, there are some okay action scenes, there are some bad action scenes. Of the six MCU films I've seen, it's tied for second along with Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. II, all of which are ... fine, and some distance behind Guardians of the Galaxy [Volume I?].

The highlight is a young actress named Letitia Wright, who plays the sister of the Black Panther.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#96 Post by McCrutchy » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:10 am

All the Best People wrote:The highlight is a young actress named Letitia Wright, who plays the sister of the Black Panther.
Letitia Wright seems to be the only member of the cast who remembered to make a comic book movie, as virtually everyone else is deadly serious 99% of the time. Andy Serkis is having fun in his role, but he's so over-the-top that he could be forgiven for thinking he was in some kind of parody film. His role is almost like an MTV Movie Awards skit extended to feature length.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#97 Post by All the Best People » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:45 pm

I didn't like Serkis' performance hardly at all, but I don't blame him, as he was clearly doing what was asked of him.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#98 Post by Mungo » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:11 pm

With Avengers: Infinity War's release date moved to April 27, there will now be a 3-week (as opposed to 2 week) break between it and Deadpool 2, the following Marvel movie, which releases on May 18.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#99 Post by McCrutchy » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:18 pm

Here we go again with this fawning nonsense:

Avengers: Infinity War Already The Best-Selling Superhero Movie In Advance Ticket Sales, Beating Black Panther

Now, weeks of foaming at the mouth over Black Panther, will turn, like the seasons, to weeks (if not months) of foaming at the mouth over Infinity Pool.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#100 Post by bearcuborg » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:00 pm

I saw Black Panther and had mixed feelings. This is only my 4th Marvel movie-and of that group-I was treated by friends to 3 of them. So super heroes aren’t my thing.

So having spent time in Africa, and going with my ex and her husband (both born in Africa), I have to say the accents annoyed them more than me. But yeah, they’re all over the place. It seems with all the talk of appropriation in Isle of Dogs-this film seems more like what someone’s idea of Africa is like in terms of its fashion/environment/politics. I was pretty disheartened there was little to no African musicians used for this film either.

So I’ve seen both Avengers-I like the first one a lot, but can’t stand the 2nd one. This one reminded me of Thor (having seen and enjoyed Ragnorak).

Killmonger was the most interesting to me. My friends spotlighted that he was a commentary on hyper masculinity in black American men. I wasn’t as sensitive to that-but I did find his final decision at the end to be particularly heartbreaking.

Selfishly I had hoped for a joke/reference to Zamunda...

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