Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister), tells the story of Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a gifted neurosurgeon who is wrapped up in his own vanity. After karma executes Stephen’s fate he suffers irreversible damage to his hands, destroying his valued medical career. His desperate search for physical healing takes him to the Far East to a place called Kamar-Taj. There he meets the “Ancient One,” (Tilda Swinton) a mystical witch with undisputed power, and Baron Mordor (Chewitel Ejiofor) one of the chief masters of the Kamar-Taj temple. Strange believes the Ancient One is the key to healing his hands and returning back to the medical field. Little does he know he is smack in the middle of a war between good and evil. His visit to Kamar-Taj will be a turning point for Stephen Strange. He chooses to learn the ways of the arts but isn’t sure if this magical war is a good fit for him.
Six months and change after the release of its first trailer — and therefore about the same amount of time since co-writer C. Robert Cargill’s infamous “[t]he social justice warriors were going to get mad at us for something this week” rebuttal to Asian American critics of the film’s whitewashing — the initial reviews are in for Doctor Strange, and they’re not encouraging.
Oh, the movie? Actually, the critics seem to like it just fine. Being The Nerds of Color, however, we’re interested in looking at a different metric. Doctor Strange’s whitewashing of primary character The Ancient One was, after all, one of the driving forces behind the hashtag and rallying cry #whitewashedOUT in May.
So no, this isn’t a review of Doctor Strange the film, but a review of the reviews of the film, using a simple standard: how accurately and humanely did each review portray Asian American dissent over the whitewashing of The Ancient One?
I tweeted this over a month ago from The Nerds of Color handle, when I was excited about the Zendaya news and wanted to quickly hop on the celebrations. Suffice to say the tweet raised some eyebrows. The tweet fails to mention other recent castings or acknowledge the other women of color who came before them, in both film and TV. And from a feminist point of view, the inclusion of romance in a film is often considered a disservice to the female character (coughBruce/Natcough). The complex ways in which women of color are portrayed on screen is worth exploring, so let’s take a closer look at that now. How far have we come in terms of representation? And what does it mean to show a woman of color being loved?
Okay my fellow NOCs, there are just a few truths we need to acknowledge when it comes to Spider-Man on the big screen. Out of five films, only one of them, Spider-Man 2, was any good. The rest were bloated messes that robbed Spidey of any and all joy. Tobey Maguire was a decent Peter Parker but not the best Spidey. Andrew Garfield was just the opposite. Spider-Man was done an injustice.
For the second year in a row, The Nerds of Color found our way to San Diego Comic-Con. This time out, we were joined by multiple crews repping in sunny Southern California! To look back on all that went down last weekend, we’re joined by returning champ Constance (@ConStar24) who was covering the Con as Black Girl Nerds’ TV editor, as well as Robyn (@robyn_ravenclaw) from Black Girls Nerd Out and Laura (@lsirikul) whose writing can be found on Nerd Reactor, Legion of Leia, and other sites.
Originally posted at Just Add Color
With the culmination of the San Diego Comic-Con, we’ve been getting a lot of DC Comics movie franchise news. Some of which includes the new footage of the Justice League movie, featuring Batman (Ben Affleck), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Superman (Henry Cavill).
With the introduction of DC’s superhero team, I started wondering — which movie franchise represents its diverse audience more?
On a recent episode of Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada revealed that Marvel Studios has retained the rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Of course, this isn’t the first time Quesada has assumed the rights to Namor had returned to Marvel — and Namor’s movie rights are some of the most confusing in comic book movie world. Still, it’s long overdue for a movie featuring one of the high-profile members of Marvel’s Illuminati, not to mention the fact that Namor is a perfect opportunity to cast an Asian American male as a lead in the MCU!
The following events are true. The following events are not a joke. I really wish the following events were a punchline and not a sad reflection of our culture. You’ll see what I mean.
So in honor of tonight’s season finale of the Coulson/May Power Hour (known to some of you as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), I thought I’d do a special edition Throwback Tuesday.
The Doctor Strange controversy — combined with the push to cast an Asian American actor as the title character Danny Rand aka Iron Fist — has been buzzing for the last couple months. With the release of the first official trailer for Doctor Strange, Marvel’s next would-be blockbuster movie after Captain America: Civil War, the controversy has reached an all time high. So much so that a Marvel spokesperson gave this statement to Mashable regarding the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange:
Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.
Is this statement true though? Has Marvel Studios really pushed diversity in their movies? Have they increased the visibility of marginalized peoples in their film franchise or television properties? Has Marvel Studios subverted stereotypes? Enough to supposedly excuse recent controversies surrounding Doctor Strange and Iron Fist?
If the first two Captain America films are any indication, I’ve learned not to watch them with any expectations good or bad. Like most of the Marvel Phase One films, I found First Avenger to be a yawn and filler for the payoff that was the first Avengers movie. Winter Soldier blindsided me and years later I’m still trying to process how amazing that film is.
As much as I love Winter Soldier (it along with Avengers and Age of Ultron rank as my favorite Marvel flicks), and even though I knew I would finally get the Black Panther in this film, I still watched with no expectation.