You don’t have to look far to find a cinematic luminary showing disdain to the superhero genre.
Steven Spielberg has long insisted that these films will die out, Ridley Scott has basically called them dumb, Alejandro Inarritu believes they’re “right wing,” Terry Gilliam lambasted how predictable they are, Mel Gibson thinks they’re wasteful, while David Fincher specifically called out Marvel films for their lack of “sustenance.”
The problem for Marvel is that, even though there’s an air of sour grapes about each gripe, there’s also been some truth to them. too. Because while their Cinematic Universe has gone from strength to strength, and has easily crossed the $14 billion mark with "Black Panther" in just 18 films, none of the previous releases have ever come close to being a milestone cinematic event.
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Sure, they have grossed a lot of money, Robert Downey Jr is perfect as Tony Stark and it was cool to see Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Ant-Man, and Spider-Man come together for the likes of “The Avengers,” “Age Of Ultron,” and “Civil War,” but the nagging naysayers would always be quick to remind fans that these films were just passable action and flashy style over any actual emotional substance or cinematic merit.
It was soon deemed that Marvel didn't warrant any part in a discussion about the history of cinema. Instead, their films seemingly had more in common with the B-Movies of the 1930s to 1950s, as they were designed as escapist fun that allowed the Marvel Cinematic Universe to chug along nicely but, ultimately, they were frivolous rather than significant.
But with “Black Panther,” though, Marvel have finally released a film that is both a watershed cinematic moment and a pop culture landmark that will be talked about and referenced for years and generations to come.
The various reasons why “Black Panther” has been embraced so passionately by critics have already been discussed, but it is a relief to see that the blockbuster has caused a similar stir amongst the average moviegoer, both domestically and overseas.
So far “Black Panther” has grossed over $405 million at the box office worldwide. It is expected to easily sail pass the $400 million mark domestically, while its $170 million opening weekend haul internationally was over $50 million more than projected.
All of which means that “Black Panther’s” original box office predictions have now gone out of the window, and there’s every chance that it could rival the highest grossing films in the MCU, which are currently “Captain America: Civil War” ($1.153 billion), “Iron Man 3” ($1.215 billion), “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” ($1.408 billion), and “The Avengers” ($1.519 billion).
Even if “Black Panther” does fall short of these sums, it has already made an indelible cultural and cinematic impact, bridged the gap between highbrow and lowbrow, influenced millions of people worldwide and, as such, has finally cemented the MCU’s place in movie history.