Marvel Studios has been the top player in the superhero genre for quite some time now, and with more titles still yet to come, the studio has become the subject of some big debates among creatives. In the past, we’ve seen creatives such as Martin Scorsese, Bong Joon-ho, Ridley Scott, Francis Ford Coppola, Jodie Foster, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu speak out against Marvel movies – and often superhero films in general. They seem to feel that these projects are hurting smaller projects, are not true cinema, or are simply for children.
During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, actress Lupita Nyong’o was asked to weigh in on this debate. Especially as, not only was Black Panther nominated for Best Picture, but Nyong’o has moved between franchise films and indie films throughout the years. As it puts it, it all boils down to what one deems art and what one deems to be its purpose.
“It becomes a philosophical question about what is art and what is its purpose. I believe that art plays a role in moving the people that experience it, and a lot of people are moved by Marvel. Is you being moved by this thing less important than me being moved by Picasso?”
Using sugar as a metaphor, the actress continues to explain why she feels options are not necessarily a bad thing. And that, just because something is a small character-driven film, it doesn’t mean it lacks an emotional pull.
“I think to be culturally prosperous, to be artistically prosperous as a people, is to have options. In Kenya, sugar was sugar, it was brown or it was white. You come to the States, and a whole section in the supermarket is dedicated to sugars. So many different sugars. That is a symbol of prosperity, when you have options. So I personally love a good Marvel movie, but it doesn’t take me away from really wanting the little character-driven film. I believe in the fight for those things to be kept alive because the one thing we always want, the ultimate privilege, is choice.”
While superhero films and television shows have been a mainstay for a while now, they’re not merely just mindless titles for children. As Nyong’o explains, there’s nothing wrong with giving people a choice.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a film meant to honor the late Chadwick Boseman, will hit theaters on Nov. 11th. Tickets are on sale now.