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Old 09-15-2017, 10:51 AM
  #31
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I want to discuss something about the character Black Panther (from both the comics and the movies) and I'm posting it here rather than on the Black Panther thread because that's an appreciation thread and my view is critical. The Black Panther was the first Black superhero and as such he often seems to be seen as the best of Marvel's black superheroes, whereas I prefer characters such as Luke Cage, the X-Man Bishop (I was reading the comics before they made him an Australian Aborigine in ancestry), Storm and Monica Rambeau (the second Captain Marvel -way better than Carol Danvers).

The reason the Black Panther doesn't appeal to me so much is the same as the reason DC doesn't appeal to me that much.

I can enjoy DC characters when good films are made of them and when they're well-acted, but I have no interest in DC superhero comics and, taken by themselves (without great actors like Gal Gadot or Ben Affleck to improve them), DC characters don't interest that much. I've tried in the past -I watched multiple seasons of Smallville before giving up in disgust and now I steer clear of DC shows like they're the plague. But the problem with DC is the characters are too perfect. They have too many powers or skills or they're not mortal or flawed enough. If you look at a list of a DC character’s abilities and you think about it from a Marvel point of view you end up thinking "Well, this character is bound to get their abilities cut down soon, because they're too powerful." Superman has super everything, probably even super farts. Batman is the world's best fighter, the world's best detective and a bunch of other things as well and he can beat anybody, super-powered or not, pretty much with one hand tied behind his back and blind-folded, despite having no powers. And there's an unapproachable element to their personalities, like they’re great titanic heroic statues standing forth in the night to protect the world.

Marvel characters aren't like that. They're more flawed, more human, less perfect. Even a god like Thor. And Marvel's Hercules is a god who's always screwing up. No perfection there.

And that's my problem with the Black Panther, because he's like DC heroes rather than Marvel heroes. He's not massively powerful, but he's all around perfect, like Batman. He's one of the most skilled fighters in the world, one of the smartest men in the world, a genius scientist, a great ruler, and more recently he's been armed with claws that can cut through anything and a suit that can protect against even blows from the Hulk. He's got maximum human to superhuman physical abilities to go with his genius brain. Captain America is a great fighter and tactician, but he’s not a big genius. Thor is very powerful, but he isn't the biggest brain around. Similarly, Mr Fantastic of the Fantastic Four is a genius but not a combat expert and the same goes for Tony Stark. The Black Panther doesn't fit with those characters. He fits with people like Batman and Superman. And his personality is similarly holy, like Superman’s. When he said in the Civil War movie that vengeance was consuming the others and he wasn't going to let it consume him anymore, he was showing that holy-holy wise man thing which makes him less approachable. Sure, Cap can be holy-holy wise a bit too much as well, but at least he isn't a super-genius and king as well.

And I do have real problems with monarchy in the modern world. It's one thing for Asgardians, they're basically aliens in another dimension, but for a 20th or 21st century Earth nation to have a monarchy is offensive to me. If I was British I'd would be pushing for the British monarchy to be abolished. I don't think you can have true democracy and have a monarchy of any sort. And the British royals don't have any real power, but the royals of Wakanda do. The whole King thing makes the Black Panther more "perfect", less approachable and less relatable.

If you look at Luke Cage, there’s none of that bull. He’s tough, he’s got powers, but he’s not all-around perfect and he’s a relatable ordinary guy. There is a problem with Luke Cage and that’s the fact that he was inspired by Blaxploitation films. The Blaxploitation genre was very popular with black audiences in the ‘70s and it gave some black actors great opportunities when those were scarce, but the genre has been criticised as stereotyping black people. So Luke Cage has that problem of stereotyping in his past. In the mid ‘80s, writer Jim Owsley tried to counter that by giving him a bigger vocabulary. But whatever the faults of Luke Cage, something really WORKS about him, both in the comics and in the recent tv show. He comes across like a real guy, part of our world, approachable and genuine. He comes alive. He’s not bloody Batman or Superman.

As I said before, a good actor can make me interested in a character I’m not interested in in the comics (like DC characters played by Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck). Alas I don't expect Chadwick Boseman to be able to pull this off in the Black Panther movie.

In the Luke Cage show, Mike Colter gives a great performance in the lead role, but I don’t find Chadwick Boseman’s performance as T’Challa, the Black Panther, to be half so good. Of course, Mike has an easier job. He’s an African-American playing an African-American. Boseman is an African-American playing an African. As an Irishman I know I find it generally dissatisfying when Irish-Americans play people from Ireland. They’re ethnically Irish, but they don’t come across like people from Ireland. Similarly, it would have been a lot more authentic if they’d cast an African actor as T’Challa. There are tons of actors in Africa and Hollywood ignores them. But also, I don’t think Chadwick is that great an actor. I saw him in 42 and he was good enough, but not inspired. It’s not that he’s terrible or anything, but there’s a lot of better actors. The standard with black actors is very high. You’ve people like Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, Eamonn Walker, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Rutina Wesley, CCH Pounder and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Boseman just doesn’t measure up to that standard. Whereas Mike Colter does and deserves to be much better known. Curious factoid –Mike is Viola Davis’s second cousin.

Bishop, Storm and Monica Rambeau are also great characters, better in my opinion than the Black Panther.

This century, Marvel turned Bishop from African-America to Australian Aborigine descent. Not only does that steal a character from African-Americans, but it implies a view of black and Aborigine people as being basically the same and fairly indistinguishable. That’s the old white racist “All those dark-skinned people are the same” stereotype. In the comics I read, Bishop was black and he was a really good character. He’s barely appeared in the X-Men movies though. The director of the Black Panther movie says he got into comics because of Bishop. I bet he’s pissed off about the race-change. It’s a pity he can’t make a Bishop film (with Bishop as black) rather than a Black Panther film.

Storm is great character who’s never been done justice onscreen. Chris Claremont, who wrote the X-Men comics for years, is famous for his portrayal of female characters and he did a spectacular job developing Storm. She’s long been one of the strongest X-Men in terms of personality and proved to be a great team leader. She was heavily developed by Claremont in the ‘80s.

Monica Rambeau is a character who appeared in the ‘80s and joined the Avengers. From being a newbie, she rose to become their leader by the end of the decade. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been treated all that well since then. She was relatable and vulnerable but also strong, capable and powerful. In the ‘80s she was called Captain Marvel and I wish the Captain Marvel movie was about her rather than about Carol Danvers.

Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie have done great work in the movies bringing to life two of Marvel’s other black characters, War Machine and the Falcon. They’re both highly talented actors. I’d much rather see a film starring those actors as those characters than a Black Panther film starring Chadwick Boseman.

I will be watching the Black Panther film, but I don’t expect to love it the way I’ve loved the Netflix Luke Cage show.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:56 PM
  #32
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Yeah, I'm actually hoping that the movie will make him more flawed. Even in the cartoon versions, he is way too perfect.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:44 AM
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I haven't even seen the cartoon version, but I'm not surprised.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:54 AM
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^^I'd love a Falcon movie
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:39 AM
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The character doesn't interest me in the comics, but Anthony Mackie makes him great in the movies.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:21 PM
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And that mostly comes from Mackie's wisecracking personality.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:35 AM
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Mackie has a lot of charisma. He uses it well in his acting career.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:45 AM
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Yeah he always makes interviews fun.
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:05 PM
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I'd like to meet him in real life.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:29 AM
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He'd be the best drinking buddy
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:22 AM
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Trust you to bring up booze!
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:31 AM
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I don't drink, but I'll be still be his drinking buddy/designated driver.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:03 AM
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It's a deal then You drive.
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:24 PM
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All right!
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:51 PM
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Comic-Con 2017: Exclusive Portraits From EW's Studio
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