By all accounts, Marvel's "Black Panther" is a masterpiece of a superhero movie. The reviews have been epic. The ticket sales are through the roof. Comic book fans are ready for what is supposed to be a faithful film adaptation of a beloved minor Marvel universe character.
And social justice warriors were satisfied that a superhero film could finally be both enjoyable and totally woke.
Were. Were satisfied. Until Tuesday. When "geek blog" io9 discovered that the Dora Milaje, the team of warrior women who serve as Black Panther's personal guards, are not depicted as having fluid sexuality, even though one of the main characters, who belongs to the Dora Milaje, is depicted in some Black Panther story arcs as being in a lesbian relationship.
As if that weren't horrifying enough, a scene in an earlier version of the movie which reportedly depicted this particular character, Ayo, "swaying rhythmically back in formation" with another female member of her team, was eventually cut from the movie — clearly an effort to wipe LGBTQ representation from the movie entirely.
In an interview with Screen Crush, "Black Panther's" co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole addressed the cut scene and seemed to imply that while, yes, the scene was cut, interpreting it as a nod to a possible relationship between the characters was a little . . . out there.
"[T]here wasn’t some major theme through that we were looking to explore with that in terms of the story. We didn’t like, pull out a full thread of some theme," Cole said. "But your friend quite possibly could be right."
As a result, io9 says, Marvel has completely missed the boat on what it means to create a progressive movie, and "Black Panther" is simply yet another example of the entertainment industry failing to achieve full woke-ness by refusing to check off every required social justice box.
This isn’t the first time that Marvel Studios have missed a readily-available opportunity to finally bring some queer representation to the big screen, but it’s particularly odd given how right there and on the page this particular story is when you look to the comics.
It is, of course, entirely possible that the characters — and their relationship — simply aren't that important to the overall story Marvel's directors and producers are trying to tell. Although leftists may believe it's in Marvel's best interest to sacrifice content and continuity for the sake of progressive inclusion, a movie house has concerns other than woke-ness on its mind.
Of course, "Black Panther" is likely one of the most woke movies of all time, so perhaps this all just goes to show that no matter how woke you truly get, you're never going to be woke enough.