Responding to this BEAT-thread:
Heidi and I will certainly never be on the same page re: the quality of the MCU movies, since for me RAGNAROK is the "self-indulgent mess" and GOTG2 at least has a coherent story and better than average set design. In fact, the design of Ego's world, with all its faux-Hindu imagery, proves Heidi's point about the benefits of loosening the purse strings far more than any of the visuals in TR.
I don't think that even with continued success MCU movies are ever going to permit a wide number of "individual directorial visions" or whatever one calls it. There's just too much damn money at stake. You want individual visions of Ant-Man; keep watching his latest comic-book outings. Maybe Edgar Wright will guest-author an Ant Man comic and we'll all finally see just what he might've done with a movie.
Moving to BLACK PANTHER, i'm going to play prophet and predict that, no matter how good or bad the film is, it will be one of the ten films nominated for "Best Picture" next year at the Oscars. I'm hypothesizing that the Academy will look upon the film as an opportunity to disprove the brain-dead accusations of the #OscarSoWhite crowd, and that the voters will see PANTHER as a superhero flick they can nominate, in the sure and certain knowledge that it, like DJANGO UNCHAINED, will have no chance to win.
While I don't really want to devote a lot of space to justifying my comment on the #OscarSoWhite mess, I'll toss out a few extra bon mots.
I'm constitutionally against the idea of using art primarily for the purpose of political issues, and that's why I deem #OscarSoWhite to be "brain dead."
Here's the tweet that started the Net-meme in 2015:
they asked to touch my hair.
OK, the author says that this was meant as a "cheeky" putdown of a mostly white nomination list. I suppose that this is an aspect of Afro-American humor that communicates best to other Afro-Americans. Maybe it's meant to imply that persons of The Unnameable Phenotype are always going to be nothing but curiosities to white people, that white people just want to touch the hair of black people, maybe in line with the old superstition-- that IMO no one is keeping alive by people like Reign-- that touching kinky hair brings good luck.
But I've read nothing in any of Reign's online interviews that suggests that she cares about the quality of films or any other artistic medium. She cares, first and foremost, about representation of racial and sexual coteries, as if this representation is a good in itself. Clearly it would never occur to her that maybe the 2015 list of nominated films might have omitted POC nominees simply because the year had been bereft of outstanding POC works. No, in any such situation, the only solution must be a racist conspiracy.
And that, in my considered opinion, is brain-dead hyper-politicized thinking.