In a scene in Hidden Figures that is all too familiar for Black women viewers, or really anyone from a historically marginalized group, Taraji P. Henson’s character Katherine Johnson rushes to enter the NASA control room where she has just handed off crucial calculations for astronaut John Glenn’s safe return from orbit, and has the door summarily slammed in her face. The camera lingers on Henson’s profile, as she grapples yet again with the devastating knowledge that although she may be a useful “computer” for spitting out numbers that may make missions successful and even save lives, she is still not seen as fully human in the eyes of her peers and superiors. Indeed, in Henson’s capable hands, viewers ourselves experience the physical and emotional pain of being barred from entering the halls of power for absurd reasons beyond one’s control — in this case, race and gender.
Alanis Morissette’s hit track, “All I Really Want,” features one of my all-time favorite lyrics:
And I am fascinated by the spiritual man. I am humbled by his humble nature.
So this weekend I rewatched Man of Steel which still remains one of the most polarizing comic book films to date. The film is essentially a reboot of Superman’s origins much in the spirit of Batman Begins. As Kal-El learns of his origins and his purpose, he soon becomes tasked with protecting the planet from Zod and his invading army.