Marvel’s Not-So-Marvelous LGBTQ+ Representation

Anyone who knows me knows me to be a huge Marvel fan, and knows that in the past few weeks I have not stopped talking about Avengers: Infinity War. And while I’ve been marveling at how far the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come in terms of character development and universe-building in the past ten years, I also can’t stop thinking about the one thing they’ve made very little progress on: LGBTQ+ representation. To give it some context, in May of 2008, Iron Man brought about the beginning of what we know today as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In November of the same year, California passed Proposition 8, which reinstated the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Here we are, ten years later in 2018.

Legion Season 2 Premiere Promises A Trip Worth Taking

For many shows, from thrillers to dramas, mystery is just one force keeping the audience interested. In Noah Hawley’s Legion, however, uncertainty is the foundation on which the rest of the story’s world is created. Its narrative is as unreliable as the broken mind of its protagonist, David Haller, played by Dan Stevens. Legion’s wildly inventive first season followed David, diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, as he battled for control of his mind and explored his unknown, seemingly unlimited power. Technically, Legion is a superhero show.

Black Panther Roundtable

What was the best moment in Black Panther? Jonvi Rollins: Black Panther taking Killmonger to watch the Wakandan sunset. The moment perfectly exemplifies the “good heart” of the title character while farther humanizing his adversary. The paths of the men finally converge as Panther takes steps to understand, through Killmonger, his duty to others outside of his nation. Andrea Yang: T’Challa’s second visit to the spirits of the past Black Panthers, in which he speaks to his father again and makes a decision about what kind of king he wants to be.

Black Panther: Good King, Maad Nation

“You are a good man with a good heart. But it is hard for a good man to be king.”

These are the deceased T’Chaka’s final words to his son T’Challa before the latter is crowned king of Wakanda, an African nation that poses as a third world country, when in reality it is one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world, thanks to the natural resource of vibranium. Throughout the Black Panther, T’Challa has a hard time accepting the contradiction of this statement: there is a disconnect between the man he is and the king he must be. As a whole, the film questions (and answers) its own permutation of T’Chaka’s proclamation: can a good superhero film have heart and explore themes of race, power and privilege, or will its genre conventions — namely CGI spectacle and quippy one-liners — reduce it to simply being blockbuster entertainment? Black Panther shows that the two can be harmonious; Ryan Coogler’s film is at once a celebration of blackness, a sobering analysis of the responsibilities and obligations that people of privilege and power have and a dazzling superhero film in its own right.

A Wonder to Behold

“If you choose to leave, you may never return.”

“Who will I be if I stay?”

 

This exchange occurs between Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and Diana Prince /Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in one of the major turning points of the film. Diana is eager to leave her home, the island of Themyscira, and venture back into man’s world in an effort to end World War I, while Hippolyta advises against it, encouraging her daughter to remain safe on the island. Although the heavenly comforts of her home are enticing, Diana forgoes security and comfort for a cause that’s greater than herself. By the film’s end, she is far from the naive and innocent girl that viewers first saw; instead she is a battle-hardened and mature woman, shaped by her experiences. As viewers stare at her with awe at her transformation, they realize the answer to Diana’s question: she would not have grown had she not left what was comfortable and routine.

Doctor Strange: A Psychedelic Cure to Superhero Fatigue

You’ve felt it, I’ve felt it, we’ve all felt it:

Superhero Fatigue. With the constant slew of superhero blockbusters flooding cinema screens, it’s hard to keep this genre fresh. These films all share a remarkably similar structure, as well as common tropes like love interests, wise sages and all-powerful enemies. However, beyond the similarities within the genre itself, we now have the convention of cinematic universes. The pioneering Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has inspired a trend of shared universes including the lackluster DC Comics films, an attempted Monster Movie Universe, and now I hear they’re making a spinoff of The Big Lebowski centering on Jesus (the bowler, not the messianic figure).

No Tomorrow for Legends

The concept alone is strange enough — characters from the DC Universe band together to defeat an immortal mass murderer and save the future — but the execution of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is even worse. First, it is clearly a show aimed solely at fans of the CW’s other DC programs. The characters — minor figures in Arrow and The Flash — receive virtually no background in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’s pilot episode. Thus, the only way of knowing who they are or why they are of any importance is to watch a hundred episodes of previously aired television. Perhaps viewers would be able to overcome this crippling flaw if the characters were interesting enough to spark further research. However, the “Legends” chosen for the show are truly the dullest possible contenders.