Finally, A Superhero Film That Matters

A new Black Panther trailer is out, but what’s the verdict?


It’s taken almost ten years, but we finally have it – a Marvel superhero of colour leading his own film. The current Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) began with Iron Man back in 2008. He’s had another two films since then, Captain America has had three and the third Thor film is released in the UK today. Notice any similarities? All three are white cis men.

Of course, we can’t say that every current MCU film has been completely white-washed, as characters such as War Machine (Iron Man’s right-hand man), Falcon (Captain America’s right-hand man) and Heimdall (the guardian sentry of Asgard). As awesome as these characters are – and they are bloody awesome – the films were still led by white cis men.

Marvel fans everywhere saw their first glimpse of Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War last year, and he was an instant hit. The news that he’d be getting his own film was met with both excitement and anxiety. Will the film be as good as the others? What will his world, Wakanda look like? But most importantly, how many cast members will actually be black?

The trailer was released on Monday 16th October, and began trending on Twitter within the first hour. The verdict was in, and thankfully the trailer delivered exactly what superhero fans were after.

 

 

Twitter was rife with trailer shares, excitable gifs and fans that were already counting down the days until the film release in February 2018:

“Is It Me Or Does #BlackPanther Get Better With Every Trailer, DAMN SON!!!”

“To be graced with such badassery so early…ON A MONDAY MORNING?!”

But more importantly than how entertaining the trailer was, was how ground-breaking the trailer showed the film to be.

“I love this trailer and the idea of Wakanda. An African nation where tradition and modernity exists side by side…”

“A mostly black cast is definitely groundbreaking. There’s no such things as black movies….EVER.”

In 2014, 73% of film actors were white – that works out at only a quarter of film actors being people of colour. In a study by BFI between 2006 and 2016, out of 1172 films, 59% of them did not feature any black actors in named roles.

All people who aren’t white are discriminated against in Hollywood by simply not being represented. Last year, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was trending throughout the Academy Awards build up, the ceremony itself, and it even carried on after. The lack of actors of colour for a second year running proved just how discriminative and white-washed Hollywood truly was.

Hollywood has by no means rectified this yet, but we are beginning to see attempts. The Marvel Netflix series, Luke Cage (2016) boasted a predominantly black cast, The Mountain Between Us (2017) cast a black man and a white woman to play an inter-racial couple in a film that wasn’t about being in an inter-racial relationship, and now we have Black Panther (2018).

It’s the most diverse Marvel film to date, it boasts a majority black cast (and that includes black women – quite a few of them at that!) However, as modern and forward-thinking as this film is, we as a world must keep moving forward. Not only do we need to keep the momentum going for inclusion of the black culture in Hollywood, but other cultures and races need to be acknowledged.

The Asian community for example is still not being represented. The Hispanic community is again not being represented. While we’re making waves with representation of one race, we mustn’t stand still and assume that’s enough. It’s not enough. It will never be enough while white-washing and lack of representation exists.

To end on a happier note, The Black Panther trailer really is amazing, so if you haven’t watched it yet, make sure you do!

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