Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is weighing in on what his film does to combat superhero movie fatigue. The number of big budget films based on comic book characters has been on the rise for years now, and by and large, the genre is enjoying unprecedented success. Despite that massive success, many have wondered if (or when) superhero flicks would end up going the way of the Western, fading from popularity and into relative obscurity.
Filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg was one of the first to question the genre's longterm viability, though some even seem to be rooting for its downfall. Actor/director Jodie Foster recently stirred up controversy with her take on the superhero genre, going so far as to say that it's ruining moviegoing altogether. While that's not necessarily a stance that many would concur with, with so many comic book films coming out these days, the genre does run the risk of eventually growing stale.
Last summer, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige directly addressed the idea of superhero fatigue, saying that pretty much everything he and the other creative minds within the Marvel Cinematic Universe do is an effort to "keep things fresh" and "unexpected". Perhaps the biggest example in recent memory of this idea being put into practice will come in Black Panther, a film that will look to explore a new corner of the MCU. And in a recent interview with Fandango, director Ryan Coogler took a moment to address just how the cultural aspect of his film will play a role in setting it apart from the pack:
There have been a lot of superhero movies made. As a comic book and superhero film fan myself, I feel like we've seen a lot at this point. I think that the cultural element of [Black Panther] -- and how cultural specificity takes such a big role in the film – that’s what makes it quite unique. I'm excited to see more [superhero movies], but there hasn't really been a film about a character like T'Challa before. Hopefully we can pull it off, but it has the potential to be something that's really unique in a lot of different ways. I think that you can't ignore the idea of representation and also the excitement around Marvel Studios and the work that they've been able to pull off when telling original and unique stories. I think that folks are excited to see what the studio is able to cook up.
The MCU has gone to great lengths in recent years to ensure that its films mix things up as often as possible. Some may argue that the Marvel playbook has indeed grown a bit stale (though recent entries like Thor: Ragnarok would suggest otherwise). Black Panther, meanwhile, will look to introduce audiences to a whole new culture within the Marvel world, one that is entirely unique from the rest of the superhero genre. Given everything we've seen so far from the film, it's looking like Coogler and co. may have just pulled it off.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018