The Avengers: A Bunch of Murderers

“No, how could you be worthy? You’re all killers.” — Ultron

Ultron was right. The Avengers are a bunch of killers, murders, and no one seems to care. If there’s a hint of conscience among them, it’s well hidden. One could make the case that Natasha (Black Widow) was remorseful about the red in her ledger. But she never developed any disregard for killing, as long as her justification was sufficient.

In Mark Gruenwald’s almost ten-year run writing Captain America in the comics, Captain America refused to kill except when absolutely necessary. The writers before and after him didn’t abide by that theory. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Cap was a killing machine, never giving it a thought. He got started on Nazi’s and never looked back.

Hawkeye and Black Widow, “a couple of master assassins,” according to Tony Stark. Black Widow first killed for her country and then for hire. She has a special skill set which she never hesitated to use. Hawkeye damn near killed Natasha at the behest of S.H.I.E.L.D., until he made a different call, recruiting a fellow killer to his team.

The late Iron Man got his start as a weapons manufacturer, creating weapons of mass destruction that killed soldiers and civilians alike. His body count is likely the second highest of all the Avengers, but only because Thor has been at it for over 1,000 years and had nine realms from which to choose victims. With the help of his hammer Mjolner, “the gates of Hel are filled with the screams of his victims.” With Thor’s new ax “Stormbreaker,” Hel may need to open up a new wing.

You could make the case that The Hulk would never contemplate taking a life except during those times when he lost control. The newest version, Professor Hulk is now a big green teddy bear that wouldn’t hurt a fly, that wasn’t already trying to kill him or his friends.

What is my point? With Avengers: Endgame closing in as the highest grossing film of all time, possibly surpassing Avatar. What lessons are being learned about the value of life? Our heroes are killers. Coming soon to a theater near you in 2019; John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Gemini Man with Will Smith playing an elite assassin, Joker, Child’s Play featuring the return of Chucky, and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile based on serial killer Ted Bundy. Are we glorifying violence and murder enough? We just saw Thanos kill half the universe in Infinity War. Someone is bound to want to top that, and audiences worldwide are eating it all up.

Eight students were shot today at a school in Colorado. Schools and businesses practice and train for active shooters. We have become so inoculated against violent death that we glorify those that are the best at administering it, we call them superheroes. Even your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man now has, “Instant Kill Mode.” This was allegedly Peter’s least favorite feature, but as we saw in Endgame, he got over it.

That there is a thirst for death and violence in entertainment is obvious. It’s hard to imagine that there’s no real-world influence resulting. Is there no reward any longer for weaving a magical tale? Or is body count and revenue the only measure. Something to think about.

Those Nagging Concerns That Kept Me From Fully Enjoying Avengers: Endgame


I liked Avengers: Endgame, a lot. It was the culmination of not only eleven years of filmmaking spanning 22 movies. It was watching the heroes of my childhood realistically come to life. I grew up reading Marvel Comics, patronizing Shinder’s Bookstore on the corner of 7th and Hennepin in Minneapolis which was fortuitously where I changed buses on my way home from school five days a week. A black youth spending much of my disposable income following the exploits of the almost all-white heroes. Then, and now, my favorite being a blonde haired Norse god who carried a hammer whose name I only realized I was mispronouncing in my head when I finally heard someone else say it aloud.


I am unashamedly a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I learned to appreciate characters I only tolerated in the comics (Iron Man and Captain America) and was highly satisfied with the characterizations of most everyone, not minding when they varied from the comics. I may have been one of the few that liked Thor: The Dark World, which coincidentally is on in the background as I write this piece. The film that preceded Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, was near perfect in the way it blended almost all the characters of the MCU. Setting us up for the biggest movie event in the history of film. By box office receipts, Endgame didn’t disappoint. It surpassed every record for opening weekends, the only question left is will it pass Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time?

Avengers: Endgame is a long movie that didn’t feel that way, logging in at three hours and 58 seconds. Most fans even forewarned there would be no after-credits scene, waited to hear the faint clanging of metal at the end. Allegedly Tony Stark constructing the original Iron Man suit. The movie was an emotional roller-coaster. We saw what happened to the heroes that survived Infinity War over five-years. Tony Stark got married and had a baby girl Morgan. Bruce Banner permanently merged with the Hulk and became Professor Hulk. Clint Barton dedicated himself to killing bad guys. Steve Rogers was conducting a group to help people cope, reminiscent of those the late Sam Wilson (Falcon) conducted for those returning from battle. Thor… he became a drunk and got fat.

fat thor

That was my first issue with Endgame, that Thor, my favorite, was reduced to a running fat joke. That was my first source of discontent but by no means the most prominent. Thor as a character has suffered from some of the same problems as Superman from the DC Universe. He’s too powerful and suspense must be created by finding ways to make things even. In the comics, they often took away half his powers, all his powers, made him spend time as the vulnerable Don Blake, needing to tap his cane to become Thor. His primary flaws were his lack of humility and patience. He would have been far more likely to succumb to “Warrior Madness” than become a sloppy drunkard. The MCU did a disservice to the character for a few punchlines, but I’ll set that aside to discuss the bigger issues.

Women have not been treated well in the MCU. One wonders were there any women in the room when decisions were being made? Sure, Captain Marvel made a heroic return from space, destroying Thanos’s ship. There was the A-Force moment when a team of female characters (with almost no speaking parts) vowed to help get the Gauntlet to the Time Machine. I read where the directors debated whether it was “too much pandering,” but ultimately left the scene in because they liked it so much. It’s revealing that the women’s scene ended up being meaningless as the Time Machine was destroyed and Thanos ended up getting the Gauntlet anyway.

a force

Worse still was the treatment of Natasha Romanoff, The Black Widow. In the MCU, she was the original Avenger, there before Iron Man, she recruited the Hulk. I’d say she was the least powerful Avenger of all except that she whipped Hawkeye’s ass every time they fought. In the first Avengers, she shut down the portal to space when the “big guns” couldn’t. In Age of Ultron, they made her a “monster” because she couldn’t have children. In Endgame, she was the one that had to die so that the deranged murderous Hawkeye could go back to his family and all the boys could get back together and do their avenging thing. When Iron Man died, he got a hero’s funeral, everyone showed up from the teenage Harley that helped him out in Iron Man 3 to Nick Fury, to Thunderbolt Ross. Captain America finally got the girl and had decades of marital bliss. We last saw Natasha lying in a pool of blood on Vormir.


When Thor’s mother dies in Darkworld, she at least got a sendoff befitting someone of her stature. Natasha got zip, zero, nada, the original Avenger ultimately not worthy of recognition. It’s worth noting that in the comics, The Wasp was one of the original Avengers, in the MCU in Endgame, she got maybe three lines.

To a lesser degree, I’m reminded of how small a role black people play in the MCU. The best thing they ever did was let a black team run with the production of the blockbuster Black Panther. If the Russo Brothers had directed that, Killmonger wouldn’t have been the unacknowledged hero of the film. Saying many things more popular with black audience members than T’Challa. It didn’t go unnoticed that the New York of the MCU was far less multi-cultural than the one I’ve visited several times. Even the much praised (by themselves) first openly gay character in the MCU wasn’t a hero, just a guy… baby steps.


Still, I have enjoyed, even loved most of the films of the MCU. I could throw out The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton as an outlier, they still brought me back to a simpler time and helped relive the glorious adventures of my childhood. I give the Russo’s great credit for their fanservice. All the references to moments of the previous films, working in hundreds of characters without too much exposition, that they could make that movie even in three hours was amazing. I was on edge the whole time. They will go down in history along with Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios as having imagined and pulled off something never done before. If they also go down in history for maintaining a boy’s club, limited by their own maleness and whiteness. That will be true as well.

The End of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is dying. While the next few movies; Captain Marvel, the Avengers: Infinity War sequel and Spiderman: Far From Home will go on to be great financial hits. We are much closer to the end of the MCU than we are to the beginning. It was a great 10-year run, starting with Iron Man in 2008 with 20 films building towards the next Avengers movie where we see how the Avengers are able to defeat Thanos and restore the half of the universe he wiped out with a snap of his fingers. The problem is… where do they go from here?

The MCU has three basic problems:

  1. Its stars are aging out of their roles. Chris Evans has already announced he’s hanging up the shield and won’t be back as Captain America. Robert Downey has been retiring as Iron Man for years now but it looks like this will be his last shot. If you look at what Tony Stark looked like in the first Iron Man and then see a recent photo. It’s hard to picture him in the role for another 20 films. Same with Mark Ruffalo when playing Bruce Banner. It was just announced that Scarlett Johansson is finally getting a Black Widow movie but the clock is ticking on her as well. Part of what made the MCU work was the credibility of the actors in their roles. Chris Hemsworth looks like he could be Thor for real, but playing an immortal requires he not visibly age. That’s gonna be hard to pull off. While an occasional role in the MCU has seen an actor replaced, Col. Rhodes (War Machine) and the Red Skull. It’s the continuity of the actors and them growing into their roles that have helped make the whole MCU work and that’s coming to an end.
  2. Some of the best stories from the comics have been used up. Marvel Comics provided over 50 years of material to harvest and they have cherry-picked the best of those stories. Even though they generally didn’t do a great job with most of the villains (Loki and Thanos excepted). We’ve seen the majority of the best villains these heroes faced over the years and they killed several of them although, in the movies like the comics, anything is possible and they just might return. After Thanos, who makes a credible foe for the world’s greatest heroes to face? We haven’t seen Kang yet although time travel will allegedly be a feature in Avengers 4. We’ve seen Ego briefly come and go. The Skrulls and Kree will be a feature in Captain Marvel. There is still Secret Wars, but a major event like Infinity War which was the focus of attention for ten years will never be seen again. There is some hope with Disney gaining the rights to X-Men and Fantastic Four which they would have incorporated long ago if they could have. That brings the possibility or a better Dr. Doom and a Galactus that isn’t a cloud but still leaving one last problem.
  3. The MCU has depended too much on multiple characters. With the exception of maybe the original Iron Man and the first Captain America. Marvel has put multiple heroes in almost every film. Iron Man 2 gave us the Black Widow and hinted at War Machine. The first Thor gave us Hawkeye. The films kept adding more and more characters. Captain America: Civil War might as well have been an Avengers movie. Some of the best stories ever in the comics were based on a battle of the hero alone against whatever he faced. Daredevil fighting way outside his class against Dr. Doom, Thor alone vs. The Celestials. We likely will never see that type movie in the MCU because the powers that be will insist on added star power. With the two Infinity War films, what will Marvel do next, unless they recreate from the comics the wedding of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four and all hell breaks loose? There is a precedent in movies of adding more and more characters until eventually, they jumped the shark, which is monster movies. What started as a few Frankenstein, Mummy, Dracula and Wolfman movies begat Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman and Frankenstein Meets Dracula. They led to House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, each featuring several monsters. The death of the age of monster movies was announced when we got Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, then they met The Mummy and finally The Invisible Man. After the next segment of Infinity War, there’s a good chance we’ll be a lot closer to Abbott and Costello than a new enemy that will captivate us as we enter the next phase of Marvel films.

The end of the MCU will not be immediate. After the next Avengers film breaks all records known to man. Spiderman: Far From Home will do well. Black Panther 2 won’t recapture the magic of the first film but may still reach a $Billion which isn’t chump change. Dr. Strange 2 will do well but not equal the first movie. There is still money to be made on superhero films, but not the kind of money to pay out $15 million to actors like some of the major stars are getting and Scarlett Johansson is alleged to be receiving for her announced Black Widow film. That doesn’t even include Robert Downey money which exceeds that amount. The MCU won’t die because they can no longer make movies the public will want to see. They won’t be able to afford to make the kind of films they’ve made the last decade when the worst they could expect was to break $600 million in sales.

I grew up reading the comics on which the MCU is based. Seeing these characters realistically portrayed in movies has been a dream come true. I’m going to enjoy the run while it lasts but despite the best-laid plans of Kevin Feige, et al. The end is near.

BlacKkKlansman: A Review (Spoilers)

There was probably a way to write a review of this movie without spoilers. I could write about Spike Lee’s craft as the director or Denzel Washington’s son (John David Washington) and his performance portraying Ron Stallworth, the black undercover detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Those are stories worth telling but not what I deemed important after seeing the film.

It’s important to note the movie is based on a real-life story and the book “Black Klansman: A Memoir.” That doesn’t mean everything happens exactly as they did in real life and there are some notable differences. None that couldn’t have happened in real life and none that take away from the credibility of the film. No one should fail to learn from the facts of the film because of the existence of the fiction to create a marketable story.

The film begins with battlefield scenes from, “Gone With the Wind” where we see Scarlett O’Hara, scouring a battlefield littered with Confederate soldiers. We then switch to Alec Baldwin as Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard filming a white supremacist PSA and then to Ron Stallworth to the Colorado Springs police force where he aimed to be their first black detective. We see his interview with the Chief of Detectives and a recruitment agent, Mr. Turrentine played by Isiah Whitlock Jr. who indeed delivers his famous phrase from “The Wire.”

After being given a desk assignment where he retrieved files, he was given the assignment to infiltrate a speech by Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) to get a feel for the reaction of the local black community and potential for revolution. Kwame was invited by the local college Black Student Union whose President was Patrice Dumas, his fictional love interest played by Laura Harrier. The speech by Kwane (Corey Hawkins) was riveting and should be required watching or reading by today’s black youth.

Back at the police station, Detective Stallworth sees a newspaper advertisement for membership in the Klan and he impulsively calls, leading to him striking up a series of telephone relationships with Klan members including the Grand Wizard David Duke. In order to facilitate in-person meetings, he recruited Jewish officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) and they were able to infiltrate the Colorado Klan and foil an attempted terrorist attack.

I won’t reveal more of the plot except to say the point of the film is to make you consider how similar the country is today to that time in 1978 when the film was set. Racist attitudes have changed little except that racists have been more accepted and often have no need to worry about hoods and robes. The “secret empire” needs to be secret no longer. We hear a younger David Duke saying, “America First,” which sounds exactly like the statements uttered by right-wing politicians today. The racists of 1978 spoke of blacks and Jews when they thought no one was listening in the same manner as people do proudly (but mostly anonymously) today on the Internet.

The film ended with video clips from 2017 in Charlottesville as we watched crowds of Klan members and affiliated groups like Neo-Nazi’s and skinheads, uniting to display their hatred for others less white. The final scenes are of the Neo-Nazi driver that sped into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer, with Donald Trump saying some of the Klan members were, “very fine people.”

There are jokes in the movie but you won’t walk away laughing. You will recognize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some of the terms are changing; people act “racially” or exhibit “nationalism.” To some, the very definition of racism has changed to the point where nothing qualifies. When you see this movie, and you should. You’ll recognize racism for what it was then and is now a clear and present danger.

One final note, the Colorado Springs police department seemed more concerned about preventing cross-burning than eradicating the Klan. They eventually disbanded the intelligence team that had infiltrated the Klan, worried about what people might think rather than continue to do good. They ordered all evidence of the operation destroyed. Fortunately, the real Ron Stallworth saved his notes which turned into his book and ultimately this movie. Highly recommended.

The New Separate But Equal Academy Award Designed for “Black Panther.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced several changes this week including a new category; “Achievement in Popular Film.” If you think that sounds rather vague? A lot of people are agreeing with you. The Academy, along with ABC which is contracted to televise the Oscars through 2028, saw the worst ratings in the Oscar’s history last year, the first of the ABC contract. ABC apparently started discussions with the Academy the day after last year’s telecast. Among the changes the Academy agrees to was limiting the broadcast to three hours and moving the ceremony up in the calendar year. It is the new category which disregards quality, the base criteria for every existing Academy Award category, in lieu of box office receipts.

This comes at a time when the Academy Awards has received great criticism for it’s failure to honor a significant number of minority Actors/Directors which led to the #OscarsSoWhite movement beginning in 2016, which had considerable evidence for its claims. Also converging on the Oscar’s is the Black Panther film that is eligible for consideration next year and may well be the most influential film in many generations, featuring an almost all-black cast, writers and director.

Under the old rules, Black Panther might well have gotten nominations in categories like cinematography for its wonderful depiction of Wakanda and costuming for the Dora Milaje (female warriors) and other Wakandans. The rub comes when discussion comes of consideration of Black Panther for Best Picture, the top award of all.

ABC has it’s conflict of interest as it is part of the Disney companies that include Marvel Studios which made Black Panther. While wanting more popular films to be in the running for Academy Awards to hopefully improve ratings for the Oscar’s. It cannot have escaped their notice that some of the films that might benefit from the “Popularity” category in the future include Avengers 4, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel and the next wave of superhero movies from their studios. But the existence of the category is all on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which is doing nothing to stave off another #OscarsStillSoWhite campaign.

The creation of a separate category based on popularity means that Academy members will decide which category a film may be nominated in with the near certainty that films will not qualify for both. Black Panther might be a shoo-in to win in the popular film category but also never have a chance to be recognized as the best film nor credited for being as good at the ultimate winner of the Best Picture Oscar. Many Academy voters were upset that, “Get Out” received a nomination last year for Best Picture though it had no chance of winning. Separate will no more mean equal now as it did for segregated schools in America’s recent history including some current Charter Schools under Betsy DeVos. While in future years the category could reward films with no racial considerations, it could just as easily become the Affirmative Action Oscar where films with minority casts and crews go to be considered, never having a shot at the real brass ring. The “Popularity Oscar” will be much like being named “Miss Congeniality” in the Miss America contest. No one will remember the winner, except the winner.

It is worth noting that Black Panther isn’t actually a “black movie” but it is one where a major studio financed a film with black themes, an almost all-black cast, and a black director, blowing up the concept that films with any of the above won’t be profitable, especially in foreign markets. For all of what it wasn’t, it did let us picture an African nation that was never colonized. We saw black leaders and a black militant who some saw as the hero of the film. It provided an opportunity for black patrons to amass in Wakandan and other African attire and was a huge source of pride. That pride should extend to the ability of seeing the film recognized as the Best Picture of 2018, not just one that sold lots of tickets. Let Black Panther compete against the best of the best, it will hold its own. Otherwise, it will become a Jeopardy question. Name the first film to win an Oscar for popularity? Should the film win in the new category, Disney will gladly accept it. I wonder what would happen if none of the black principals went to the stage to accept the back of the bus Oscar?

Equalizer 2: A Review (No Spoilers)

While in another career, I once found myself working at a Michael Bolton concert. The music wasn’t for me but the 12,000 or so people in attendance obviously loved it. They sang along with the songs and you could hear them raving about him on the concourse. I saw the reviews the next day and his concert was thoroughly trashed by the reviewer. The same I think is true of Equalizer 2 which very much pleased the audience I attended with, yet the majority of reviews were generally critical.

I don’t know what the reviewers were expecting to see? Was there gratuitous violence? Yes! That was probably the point of the whole movie. Anyone that saw the first Equalizer movie, or even the original series starring Edward Woodward probably came to see Denzel Washington as Robert McCall kick ass and take names. No doubt happy to see the action start much earlier in the sequel than the original.

The story line was somewhat predictable and there was likely little shock as to who the main villain was. So what? If your goal was to get out of the house for a little escapism, you came to the right place.

Denzel looks quite fit for a man in his sixties (63) and is believable in the action scenes. There’s no Academy Award in his future for this film (he has two Oscars already) but this will make enough money that he might follow up his first ever sequel with a third in the series? If so, I’ll be right there. Leave the kids at home because the violence is a bit graphic, if that’s what you came to see, you’ll be quite satisfied. Denzel is reunited with director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and Academy Award winning actress Melissa Leo. Check it out!

The Worst Thing About “Avengers: Infinity War” Was The Audience. Spoilers!

This is less a review of the movie, “Avengers: Infinity War,” than it is of the audience. While this may have been the most spoiled movie of all time, it’s apparent that some members of the audience should have been required to take a pre-course or something before being allowed to purchase a ticket.

First, this is not a movie for little kids, leave them at home! I know you took them to see Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and maybe even Avengers 1 and 2 and they were just fine. This is none of those movies, what’s different is that in all of those movies while the hero may seem defeated or even dead for a while. Before the lights come on, all will be restored more or less and all is right with the world. Not this movie.

The source material for Avengers: Infinity War, is over 25 years old. In the comics, the whole goal of Thanos is to wipe out half the universe. While his motivation may be changed in the film, it’s who Thanos is, it’s what he does. He succeeded in the comics and given that this movie as split up into two films. That he ends up wiping out half the universe is the one result you should have expected walking in the door. Half the universe dies, and you come back in a year to find out how they survive in Part Two. One of the reasons you don’t bring young kids, is that some of their personal favorites are among the dead, now you have to explain to them they should believe you and not their lying, crying eyes.

It shouldn’t have to be said at this point, but at the end of every Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie, there’s an after-credit scene that sets something up for the next movie or some related event affecting the MCU. When the credits started rolling, the percentage of people who jump out of their seats and head for the exits, continues to astound. Several of the movies have had two after-credit scenes and it’s maybe understandable to leave after the first one, there’s no excuse to leave before waiting for one, save those whose bladders couldn’t take any more after a 2.5 hour movie.

For those who stayed for the after-credit scene and watched Colonel Nick Fury send someone a page and a symbol appeared. I heard several people wondering, “what does that mean?” and “who was he contacting?” I passed a couple of those people and answered, “he paged Captain Marvel.” They were still confused. Hopefully, they’ll go watch the Captain Marvel movie when it comes out in March 2019, two months before the finale to Avengers: Infinity War.

I understand not wanting to be spoiled before watching the movie. There’s a huge difference between being spoiled and being totally ignorant. You have to know enough to be able to connect the dots or you won’t enjoy the movie. The motion picture was awesome by the way. Before the release of the yet to be named Avengers 4 movie, I’ll put out the basic information fans need to know before watching the film. Not knowing the difference between Asgard and Wakanda will be a problem. If you go in totally blind, at least show some pride and act like you know.

She Got Game: The Sequel That Needs To Happen

Twenty years ago, Spike Lee introduced us to Ray Allen as Jesus Shuttlesworth in the iconic film, “He Got Game.” Also starring Denzel Washington as Shuttlesworth’s estranged father and Rosario Dawson as his girl. The movie showed the recruitment of the best high school player in the nation and all the shady inducements to help him make up his mind.

Fast forward twenty years, we return to Coney Island where Jesus Shuttlesworth reigned, to find Faith Mothershed (played by rising WNBA star Jewell Lloyd) at the same high school, similarly positioned as the best female player in the country. She has to decide what’s next, including an international option not available to Shuttlesworth who was her basketball inspiration. Featured in cameo’s are Shaq, Steve Nash, Candace Parker, Young M.A., Markelle Fultz, Bobbito Garcia and Filayyy.

The subtitle; The Sequel That Needs To Happen, reflects the fact this isn’t a full-length movie… yet. Directed by Va$htie, “She Got Game” is a short film that will only whet your appetite for the full-length film.I don’t know what has to happen for the fully developed feature to get made but it truly needs to happen. The scenes I’ve watched and clips from the soundtrack require it.

Movie Review: A Wrinkle in Time

I was asked, tasked, or volunteered depending on one’s point of view, to do a review on, “A Wrinkle in Time,” the Disney film directed by Ava DuVernay. I knew that I (a middle-aged black male) wasn’t part of the target audience for the film, based on a Young Adult fiction book targeting girls written by Madeleine L’Engle, originally published in 1962. Somehow, beyond my knowledge, young girls have been reading her book and imagining themselves in fantastical worlds, awaiting this book to one day be converted to film.

Having never been a young girl, I more or less kidnapped my 5-year-old granddaughter (Jordin) and her 7-year-old cousin (Sierra) so that I could get their reactions and interview them after the film. They didn’t come cheaply, they negotiated for candy, slushee’s and popcorn, but sometimes there’s a cost to doing business.

I should say if you’re going to bring a child as young as five, be sure she’s tough because there are some scary parts that could cause a sensitive child to lose it. Jordin is my movie running buddy and knowing she handled Wonder Woman, Spider-Man Homecoming, Black Panther and the Avengers movies. I was sure she could deal.

Much of the hype about the movie is related to Ava DuVernay being the first black female director to helm a mainstream movie from a major studio with a big budget. Ava is full of firsts being the first African-American female director to win a nomination for a Golden Globe for “Selma.” The film also won nominations for Best Picture and Original Song. The question was, how would she do on this film, particularly in the aftermath of “Black Panther” and the inevitable comparisons.

Truthfully, there is almost no basis by which to make a direct comparison of the films. Black Panther was perhaps the blackest movie ever made with a black director and cast with a couple minor exceptions. There was a black protagonist and antagonist, the themes were so black that they may even have escaped the white producers that approved the film. A Wrinkle in Time is as non-black a movie as could be, even with a few major characters that happened to be black. While widely diverse, the movie is simply a story with no racial overtones. The one area where you can judge them is competence, and “Wrinkle” did not disappoint.

My guest critics (Jordin and Sierra) will let you know at any time if a movie is boring or too long. Those indications never came. Jordin has seen Wakanda, Asgard, and the darkest reaches of the universe on film yet several scenes generated audible oohs and aahs. The cinematography and acting were outstanding and in the only thing close to a spoiler I’ll mention, Oprah sure knows how to make an entrance. There are some general themes of good vs. evil, the power of love and the beauty of self. One of the highlights of the film is that a generation of black girls will have a cinematic hero that looks like them with Storm Reid portraying Meg Murry, and whose faults were a part of what made her strong.

I read about a dozen reviews on the film before attending which were all over the place. I submit to those who found flaws with the story and in one case the use of the soundtrack. I suggest you should have gone with young girls. My crew had a ball.

After we saw Wonder Woman, I witnessed Jordin break out into a dance as the credits were rolling. She did the same at Spider-Man and is reported to have done so at Black Panther. I waited to see how she’d react at the end of this film? She clapped, and then broke out into what can only be described as the Jordin dance. Her sure sign of approval.

Haters Gonna Hate! Facebook Group Tries To Drag Down “Black Panther” Reviews!

By all measures, the “Black Panther” film scheduled for release February 16th is a roaring success. It has outdistanced all previous superhero films in pre-sales by a wide margin. Early screenings have gotten fantastic reviews. Even the soundtrack featuring artists like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Vince Staples, The Weekend, and Travis Scott is highly anticipated. Yet, someone is out there trying to spread the hate.

A Facebook group has sprung up, trying to organize people to flood Rotten Tomatoes with bad reviews of the film and hurt its success. Their stated reasoning was their “frustration with Disney for its treatment of franchises and fan boys.” They used hashtags like, #DCOverMarvel, and #BringDownDisney. They never suggested publicly that it was a resistance to a black superhero and a mostly black cast with themes of race and cultural heritage. Yet the inference is clear.

Facebook removed the groups events page saying, “People often use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices.” Rotten Tomatoes said, “Such discussion can promote a diversity of perspectives and greater understanding. However, we’re opposed to hate speech and bullying, and don’t allow either on our platform.”

It will be hard to judge the success of the group’s efforts until more reviews come out. Rotten Tomatoes has posted their summary of the first 55 reviews with an average perfect score of 100, equaling the early scores of Wonder Woman and Captain America: Civil War.

There appears to be little that can derail this movie with an outstanding cast, director, soundtrack, cinematography, well… pretty much everything. It didn’t keep some people from trying. Haters gonna hate!

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