Before I can suggest anything I want to make something clear first, because I’ve seen this misconception a lot here.
Hannibal Lecter isn’t a psychopath. At best he’s a sadistic high-functioning sociopath. In fact Thomas Harris specified it several times that Hannibal wasn’t a psychopath and that he wanted to write a book about a perfect sociopath. The producers of the movies thought it’d be better calling the guy a psychopath without knowing what a psychopath is.
Hannibal was an asocial toddler and grew up to care only for his sister. He enjoyed seclusion and the trauma that shaped him was eating his own sister after some Nazi soldiers killed his parents in a conflict with the Russians. Later USSR took over his family’s mansion and used it as an orphanage. He stayed silent for years. This also became his trigger later. Anyone who knows that difference between a psychopath and a sociopath would never call Hannibal a psychopath.
Unfortunately every Hollywood movie or an American series portray psychopaths in a horrendous manner so I can suggest some anime, light novels, and mangaka that do them justice.
Johan Liebert, the titular monster of the anime and manga Monster. This boy had an operation as a kid because he was shot in the head. When they scanned his brains, they were shocked to find a peculiar brain formation that they didn’t understand at that time (Nazi Germany). The boy had no remorse, sadness, and failed to register the humane emotions others were able to. He cared for no one but his twin sister and the doctor who saved his life, but that didn’t stop him from screwing them. He possessed superficial charm and all the traits of a psychopath and cared for no one except himself. The time frame of the anime was before they came to terms of naming us so they just called him a Monster when they found zero change in his pulse throughout his actions.
Makishima Shogo from Psycho-Pass. In a utopic Japan where a system called Sybil judged people as a god and saw through their souls to see who’s prone to depravity and who’s not, Shogo was able to lie, kill, and manipulate the entirety of Japan without being spotted. Sybil was unable to judge him because he exerted no kind of emotions when he was slitting a throat, seeing his friend blown to bits, or seeing his enemy shred to pieces by cyborg hounds. He was neutral to everything and anything. He didn’t understand himself as a kid because he was always bored and rarely felt joy. He started entertaining himself by reading and seeking art, and soon he disliked the current Japan and became an anarchist. His aim is to destroy Sybil. In the anime his type was called A Priori Acquit (Criminally Asymptomatic), those who are free from any reaction to criminal activities.
Tanya Degurechaff from Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya The Evil). This one what I’d personally call a perfect depiction of paths. The story goes around an atheist who was thrown before a train by a petty employee for getting fired. The MC then stands before Yahweh. The MC refutes the possibility of a god and tells him that if he’s a god then he’s not doing his job properly. Yahweh banishes the impious human to an alternate universe in the body of young girl. This world resembles the world of WWI and the MC finds himself on the side of Germany. The MC’s top priority is to survive. The anime shows how he’d save his comrades to keep up his good name, how he’d manipulate his way to a promotion, how he’d do his best to have human shields, how he’d strife to being away from the war and make sure he’s not in danger. He’s self-preservative to a vast level and he’s devoid from empathy, regret, shame, and guilt. He manipulates everything around him just to live and survive the war, and he doesn’t care about anyone. This made him/her the perfect soldier in the army. That’s what a psycho/sociopath would do in these situations. We wouldn’t kill for fun, but if it’s us or them we’ll make sure we walk out of it.
Ryan Coogler’s highly anticipated superhero movie is even better and richer than could have been imagined, thanks to a fantastical world that evokes real questions about history
Let’s talk about hunger. As wonderful as Black Panther is—and it’s as good as we’d hoped, maybe even better—nothing in it is a match for the carefree, infectious joy displayed last week by a group of middle school students from Atlanta’s Ron Clark Academy. Maybe you’ve seen them. They went viral after videos of their celebratory dancing on school cafeteria tables hit Instagram, then Twitter, then the news. The students had just found out that they—like middle and high school students across the country, boosted by fundraisingcampaigns and the wise support of their principals, teachers, parents, and local community leaders—were taking a school trip to see Black Panther for free. Fundraisers to send students like these to see the movie have become a nationwide trend: the #BlackPantherChallenge. Over $300,000 has been raised to date.
That’s not the sole reason Black Panther seems poised to trounce box office records this weekend, to say nothing of its other benchmarks, like exceeding the Fandango presales of every other Marvel movie to date, or being one of Twitter’s most talked-about movies of 2017—despite not coming out until 2018. But it helps. If we’re going to have a conversation about what makes Black Panther feel so essential, we may as well start there. We can do the whole song and dance of spelling out the basic reasons for the movie’s importance: what it means for Hollywood that a project of this size, with this budget, and with a nearly all-black cast, can finally seem like a worthwhile risk for a major studio and the timely impact of a movie about a mythical African kingdom, a so-called “shithole country,” to be released at this moment in our political history. The movie is a symbolic solution to issues that, when Black Panther was just a rumor, a dream getting tossed to and fro in a Marvel Studios boardroom, we didn’t think could grow so much more dire.
All of that matters. All of it is true and worth reckoning with. Does any of it justify the goofiness of Michael B. Jordan, one of the movie’s stars, cosplaying as a member of the actual Black Panther Party on the cover of British GQ? Complicated. Maybe a radical political organization like the Panthers would have preferred to have been left out of your corporate franchise narrative, pun or no pun. And would any of the movie’s representational power still matter if Black Panther weren’t any good? Again: complicated. The social politics of it all are eerie and dense; those politics, twined with history, aesthetics, the New York Times push alerts I keep ignoring, the open-all-hours despondent chaos of my Twitter feed, and on and on, is even more fraught. It’s possible to love Black Panther but be conflicted, but still love it, but still be conflicted, all the while sharing in the unmitigated joy of its existence. “The film arrives as a corporate product,” writes Carvell Wallace, beautifully, for TheNew York Times, “but we are using it for our own purposes.” I like thinking of Black Panther in those terms: not just as a movie you watch, nor as a challenge to the woke box-checking of the political minefield we call the internet, but as something we can use.
Black Panther is a feat in its own right. It is very much the Black Panther tale dreamed up by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s, a retelling of the origin story in which Wakanda becomes the sole possessor of vibranium, an indestructible alien element from a fallen meteorite, and over time becomes the most technologically advanced society in the world, in part by cutting itself off from said world, hiding under the cloak of unassuming third-world poverty.
The story of the movie, taking its cue from the comics over the years, involves precisely this question of isolation, and whether Wakanda is better off alone. The trouble starts when T’Chaka, the king of Wakanda, and the current Black Panther, is killed in an attack on the U.N. in Vienna, a plot point familiar from 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. When he dies, his son, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), rises to power. The robot-armed villain Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), meanwhile, is trying to break into Wakanda and steal its resources with a small team of bad guys, among them Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), by his side. Who Killmonger is to Wakanda I’ll leave it to the movie to reveal. Suffice it to say this gnarly, muscled Annapolis grad from America has been trained in bringing down royal dynasties, and he’s got his eye on T’Challa’s throne—and the smarts, as well as the thirst for vengeance, needed to get there.
It’s a complicated plot centered on the question of what Wakanda is and—most urgently—what it means, not only to the Wakandans themselves nor even to Africans broadly, but to blacks everywhere. Imagine knowing there was a black utopia, a place at the root of all blackness, self-sufficient and untouched by slavery or colonialism. It’s a fantasy: a reversal of history. “Wakanda itself is a dream state,” says director Ava DuVernay to The New York Times, “a place that’s been in the hearts and minds and spirits of black people since we were brought here in chains.” The question that envelops Black Panther, in other words, is a question baked, poignantly and also fraughtly, into its script. What Wakanda—a booming black metropolis that mixes technological Afro-futurity with the spiritual and ancestral past—means to the black people within the movie is analogous to what it means to us outside of it.
Incidentally, I’ve noticed in comment sections and the occasional dumb tweet that this idea can be misread to suggest that the premise of Black Panther is one in which black greatness can exist only in fantasy. I see it differently. The power of Wakanda, to me, is in the idea that within destitution and historical violence can lurk great power. Wakanda puts up a literal front that effaces its true beauty; what appears impoverished is, in fact, the seat of technological advancement. This is different from the usual Third World discourse, and it’s certainly different from the history of colonization, in which the primacy of Africa as a hub of civilization, rather than as merely a victim of it, is often erased.
“I’m from a place that I’d never been to and that nobody who I loved had been to because they couldn’t afford to go,” says Coogler, who grew up hearing about Africa but went for the first time only late in the process of making his previous film, Creed. “So I would hear stories from them about this place that they didn’t even know anything about, and those stories were a counterbalance to the awful things that we did hear about them.” Coogler spent about three weeks traveling Africa as he did research for the film. “I truly felt that seeing it for myself was necessary for my growth as a human being.”
The story of black American spiritual renewal and voyages to Africa isn’t a new one; entire movements and styles, from Black Zionism in the 19th century to the kente cloth durags I grew up seeing in Irvington, New Jersey, were born of this idea. It’s not even new to movies, really—Coming to America being a prominent, humorous riff on black Americans’ imaginative curiosity about Africa and Africans, and Hype Williams’s Belly, which features a character played by Nas expresses a desire to leave behind a life of violence to go to Africa and find his roots. But that’s not the same as seeing it in a Marvel movie. And Coogler, smartly, revels in the astonishing, symbolic beauty of it. Coogler’s Wakanda is rife with powerful women, including the army of speared warrior women known as the Dora Milaje, who serve the king in name but, based on their fierceness alone, would seem to serve no master. Has Grace Jones hailed from Wakanda this whole time and none of us knew? The gangbusters quartet of Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and Letitia Wright play T’Challa’s love interest, war general, mother, and sister, respectively, but each woman stands on her own, separate from her ties to T’Challa. Each woman is as modern as the gleaming, sky-high buildings or the hyperadvanced rail system devised by Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, who is in charge of the country’s vibranium-based technologies.
For all that’s new, there’s old again: The act of becoming king is still rooted in old rituals, down to a fight on the rocky cliffs of a waterfall in which the incumbent Black Panther, stripped of his legendary powers and reduced to being a mere man, must defend the seat from a challenger. T’Challa wins that battle, but he risks losing the war. What makes Black Panther feel different from other Marvel movies is that the world it imagines, the fights it insists must be fought, are grounded in real questions with immediate analogues that harken back to an entire discourse of black activism and thought. Other superhero movies could take a page from Black Panther’s book. How much better would most superhero movies be if, rather than fall back on the plain anonymity of World War I and II villains, they rooted themselves in a live, urgent sense of culture? What if Christopher Nolan’s Batman films had anchored themselves in a genuine sense of economic disparity, rather than continually paying lip service to that idea through a vaguely conceived millionaire and his abuses of power? What if the Avengers’ Ultron had more of a palpable fear of public surveillance? Seeing Bruce Wayne or even 007 get a tour of their new toys, meanwhile, is always fun, as tropes go, but imagine that those toys, and the monied, technologically advanced societies they imply, had become possible only through an element that had the power to reverse the course of colonial history. Wouldn’t those tools seem more powerful, the stakes in their design that much higher?
That’s what it feels like to watch Black Panther. Coogler’s unique skill, visible from his first feature, Fruitvale Station (2013), about the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III in Oakland, is his ability to instill a movie with a sense of history and, even more remarkably, a sense of place. Fruitvale is very much an Oakland story. The director’s tremendous follow-up, Creed (2015), a sequel to the Rocky franchise (again starring Michael B. Jordan), is a Philly story.
Black Panther is, obviously, a Wakanda story, meaning that its images ripple with Wakanda’s specific rhythms and textures; characters’ in-jokes and senses of humor seem to open up untold bits of history among them; rituals feel genuinely ritualistic, lived in and specific to the people and the place. It’s convincing in the way that the struggles between young Creed and old man Rocky became the foundation of one of the most moving and unlikely screen relationships in recent memory. Their shared history, evoked in the pictures on the walls, the scratches in the furniture, and the gestures and looks that divvy up the emotional beats of the story, is what creates that bond. Coogler takes history—geographic, interpersonal, textbook—seriously. But that’s merely a personality trait. What makes his films a cut above is his ability to give that history an afterlife in images, to weld those images into a story, to fashion that story into something larger than life—larger, even, than movies.
Black Panther may be Coogler’s first superhero movie, but in truth, the heroes at the center of his films, including Oscar Grant, have always felt bigger than their real-life counterparts, if only because of Coogler’s willingness to lean into treating them like the heroes of a movie. It’s not that simple, but maybe it is. Even Fruitvale, which lacks the muscled opera of Creed and the big-budget wizardry of Black Panther, is a movie whose contrived sense of last rites seems to contradict the realistic look of its images. But the movie isn’t totally interested in outright realism. It’s a precisely structured, unsubtle, larger-than-life tragedy, the kind of tribute you give to a man whose fate stood for more than one man’s fate. That comes off in large part because of Jordan, who is again the standout actor in Panther, and who has found, in Coogler, the perfect collaborator. In Panther, Jordan’s pain is the movie’s pain, his rage the movie’s rage. He’s the villain, but not really. The movie takes the grand risk of seeing him with sympathy, not merely because he’s human, but because he, too, is a black man in search of a home, and a history—like so many of us. He has strayed, but the movie goes out of its way to give his feelings legitimacy. The ideas that sustain him—about what Wakanda owes to the world—are the opposite of villainy.
I admittedly have less at stake in whether Black Panther is a good superhero movie. I just wanted it to be a good movie. And I wanted us to be a good audience: thoughtful, fair, fervent, excited. I think we’re all winning, on all fronts. The most radical thing a Black Panther movie could have done is ask what Wakanda means—and what it owes—to the race. And that’s what Coogler’s passionate, funny, dexterous movie asks, over and over again, both to its characters and to its audience. It’s a mighty question, and it feels like it’s coming alive in almost every one of Coogler’s images: in their sense of the elements, in their dramatic and physical grandeur, in their beauty. Black Panther crouching in trees to pounce on a team of sex traffickers is an image with force; so are the images of T’Challa fighting for the throne in water so viscous and alive it seems fit to swallow him back up into the earth. Wakanda is sequestered for a reason. Its ability to resist being colonized, like its neighbors, isn’t arbitrary or accidental. How do you make a multimillion-dollar Marvel movie out of that moral complexity? There’s no need to wonder any longer. Coogler has made that movie. And it’s Marvel’s first genuine masterpiece.
The first movie I remember seeing in a theater had a black hero. Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams, didn’t have any superpowers, but he ran his own city. That movie, the 1980 Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back, introduced Calrissian as a complicated human being who still did the right thing. That’s one reason I grew up knowing I could be the same.
If you are reading this and you are white, seeing people who look like you in mass media probably isn’t something you think about often. Every day, the culture reflects not only you but nearly infinite versions of you—executives, poets, garbage collectors, soldiers, nurses and so on. The world shows you that your possibilities are boundless. Now, after a brief respite, you again have a President.
Those of us who are not white have considerably more trouble not only finding representation of ourselves in mass media and other arenas of public life, but also finding representation that indicates that our humanity is multifaceted. Relating to characters onscreen is necessary not merely for us to feel seen and understood, but also for others who need to see and understand us. When it doesn’t happen, we are all the poorer for it.
This is one of the many reasons Black Panther is significant. What seems like just another entry in an endless parade of superhero movies is actually something much bigger. It hasn’t even hit theaters yet and its cultural footprint is already enormous. It’s a movie about what it means to be black in both America and Africa—and, more broadly, in the world. Rather than dodge complicated themes about race and identity, the film grapples head-on with the issues affecting modern-day black life. It is also incredibly entertaining, filled with timely comedy, sharply choreographed action and gorgeously lit people of all colors. “You have superhero films that are gritty dramas or action comedies,” director Ryan Coogler tells TIME. But this movie, he says, tackles another important genre: “Superhero films that deal with issues of being of African descent.”
Black Panther is the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise that has made $13.5 billion at the global box office over the past 10 years. (Marvel is owned by Disney.) It may be the first megabudget movie—not just about superheroes, but about anyone—to have an African-American director and a predominantly black cast. Hollywood has never produced a blockbuster this splendidly black.
The movie, out Feb. 16, comes as the entertainment industry is wrestling with its toxic treatment of women and persons of color. This rapidly expanding reckoning—one that reflects the importance of representation in our culture—is long overdue. Black Panther is poised to prove to Hollywood that African-American narratives have the power to generate profits from all audiences. And, more important, that making movies about black lives is part of showing that they matter.
The invitation to the Black Panther premiere read “Royal attire requested.” Yet no one showed up to the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard on Jan. 29 looking like an extra from a British costume drama. On display instead were crowns of a different sort—ascending head wraps made of various African fabrics. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o wore her natural hair tightly wrapped above a resplendent bejeweled purple gown. Men, including star Chadwick Boseman and Coogler, wore Afrocentric patterns and clothing, dashikis and boubous. Co-star Daniel Kaluuya, an Oscar nominee for his star turn in Get Out, arrived wearing a kanzu, the formal tunic of his Ugandan ancestry.
After the Obama era, perhaps none of this should feel groundbreaking. But it does. In the midst of a regressive cultural and political moment fueled in part by the white-nativist movement, the very existence of Black Panther feels like resistance. Its themes challenge institutional bias, its characters take unsubtle digs at oppressors, and its narrative includes prismatic perspectives on black life and tradition. The fact that Black Panther is excellent only helps.
Back when the film was announced, in 2014, nobody knew that it would be released into the fraught climate of President Trump’s America—where a thriving black future seems more difficult to see. Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville chaos last summer equated those protesting racism with violent neo-Nazis defending a statue honoring a Confederate general. Immigrants from Mexico, Central America and predominantly Muslim countries are some of the President’s most frequent scapegoats. So what does it mean to see this film, a vision of unmitigated black excellence, in a moment when the Commander in Chief reportedly, in a recent meeting, dismissed the 54 nations of Africa as “sh-thole countries”?
As is typical of the climate we’re in, Black Panther is already running into its share of trolls—including a Facebook group that sought, unsuccessfully, to flood the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with negative ratings of the film. That Black Panther signifies a threat to some is unsurprising. A fictional African King with the technological war power to destroy you—or, worse, the wealth to buy your land—may not please someone who just wants to consume the latest Marvel chapter without deeper political consideration. Black Panther is emblematic of the most productive responses to bigotry: rather than going for hearts and minds of racists, it celebrates what those who choose to prohibit equal representation and rights are ignoring, willfully or not. They are missing out on the full possibility of the world and the very America they seek to make “great.” They cannot stop this representation of it. When considering the folks who preemptively hate Black Panther and seek to stop it from influencing American culture, I echo the response that the movie’s hero T’Challa is known to give when warned of those who seek to invade his home country: Let them try.
The history of black power and the movement that bore its name can be traced back to the summer of 1966. The activist Stokely Carmichael was searching for something more than mere liberty. To him, integration in a white-dominated America meant assimilation by default. About one year after the assassination of Malcolm X and the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Carmichael took over the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from John Lewis. Carmichael decided to move the organization away from a philosophy of pacifism and escalate the group’s militancy to emphasize armed self-defense, black business ownership and community control.
In June of that year, James Meredith, an activist who four years earlier had become the first black person admitted to Ole Miss, started the March Against Fear, a long walk of protest from Memphis to Mississippi, alone. On the second day of the march, he was wounded by a gunman. Carmichael and tens of thousands of others continued in Meredith’s absence. Carmichael, who was arrested halfway through the march, was incensed upon his release. “The only way we gonna stop them white men from whuppin’ us is to take over,” he declared before a passionate crowd on June 16. “We been saying freedom for six years and we ain’t got nothin’. What we gonna start sayin’ now is Black Power!”
Black Panther was born in the civil rights era, and he reflected the politics of that time. The month after Carmichael’s Black Power declaration, the character debuted in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four No. 52. Supernatural strength and agility were his main features, but a genius intellect was his best attribute. “Black Panther” wasn’t an alter ego; it was the formal title for T’Challa, King of Wakanda, a fictional African nation that, thanks to its exclusive hold on the sound-absorbent metal vibranium, had become the most technologically advanced nation in the world.
It was a vision of black grandeur and, indeed, power in a trying time, when more than 41% of African Americans were at or below the poverty line and comprised nearly a third of the nation’s poor. Much like the iconic Lieutenant Uhura character, played by Nichelle Nichols, that debuted in Star Trek in September 1966, Black Panther was an expression of Afrofuturism—an ethos that fuses African mythologies, technology and science fiction and serves to rebuke conventional depictions of (or, worse, efforts to bring about) a future bereft of black people. His white creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, did not consciously conjure a fantasy-world response to Carmichael’s call, but the image still held power. T’Challa was not only strong and educated; he was also royalty. He didn’t have to take over. He was already in charge.
“You might say that this African nation is fantasy,” says Boseman, who portrays T’Challa in the movie. “But to have the opportunity to pull from real ideas, real places and real African concepts, and put it inside of this idea of Wakanda—that’s a great opportunity to develop a sense of what that identity is, especially when you’re disconnected from it.”
The character emerged at a time when the civil rights movement rightfully began to increase its demands of an America that had promised so much and delivered so little to its black population. Fifty-two years after the introduction of T’Challa, those demands have yet to be fully answered. According to the Federal Reserve, the typical African-American family had a median net worth of $17,600 in 2016. In contrast, white households had a median net worth of $171,000. The revolutionary thing about Black Panther is that it envisions a world not devoid of racism but one in which black people have the wealth, technology and military might to level the playing field—a scenario applicable not only to the predominantly white landscape of Hollywood but, more important, to the world at large.
The Black Panther Party, the revolutionary organization founded in Oakland, Calif., a few months after T’Challa’s debut, was depicted in the media as a threatening and radical group with goals that differed dramatically from the more pacifist vision of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Lewis. Marvel even briefly changed the character’s name to Black Leopard because of the inevitable association with the Panthers, but soon reverted. For some viewers, “Black Panther” may have undeservedly sinister connotations, but the 2018 film reclaims the symbol to be celebrated by all as an avatar for change.
The urgency for change is partly what Carmichael was trying to express in the summer of ’66, and the powers that be needed to listen. It’s still true in 2018.
Moviegoers first encountered Boseman’s T’Challa in Marvel’s 2016 ensemble hit Captain America: Civil War, and he instantly cut a striking figure in his sleek vibranium suit. As Black Panther opens, with T’Challa grieving the death of his father and coming to grips with his sudden ascension to the Wakandan throne, it’s clear that our hero’s royal upbringing has kept him sheltered from the realities of how systemic racism has touched just about every black life across the globe.
The comic, especially in its most recent incarnations as rendered by the writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, has worked to expunge Eurocentric misconceptions of Africa—and the film’s imagery and thematic material follow suit. “People often ask, ‘What is Black Panther? What is his power?’ And they have a misconception that he only has power through his suit,” says Boseman. “The character is existing with power inside power.”
Coogler says that Black Panther, like his previous films—including the police-brutality drama Fruitvale Station and his innovative Rocky sequel Creed—explores issues of identity. “That’s something I’ve always struggled with as a person,” says the director. “Like the first time that I found out I was black.” He’s talking less about an epidermal self-awareness than about learning how white society views his black skin. “Not just identity, but names. ‘Who are you?’ is a question that comes up a lot in this film. T’Challa knows exactly who he is. The antagonist in this film has many names.”
That villain comes in the form of Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, a former black-ops soldier with Wakandan ties who seeks to both outwit and beat down T’Challa for the crown. As played by a scene-stealing Michael B. Jordan, Killmonger’s motivations illuminate thorny questions about how black people worldwide should best use their power.
In the movie, Killmonger is, like Coogler, a native of Oakland. By exploring the disparate experiences of Africans and African Americans, Coogler shines a bright light on the psychic scars of slavery’s legacy and how black Americans endure the real-life consequences of it in the present day. Killmonger’s perspective is rendered in full; his rage over how he and other black people across the world have been disenfranchised and disempowered is justifiable.
Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, also includes another important antagonist from the comics: the dastardly and bigoted Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). “What I love about this experience is that it could have been the idea of black exploitation: he’s gonna fight Klaue, he’s gonna go after the white man and that’s it—that’s the enemy,” Boseman says. He recognizes that some fans will take issue with a black male villain fighting black protagonists. Killmonger fights not only T’Challa, but also warrior women like the spy Nakia (Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the rest of the Dora Milaje, T’Challa’s all-female royal guards. Killmonger and Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s quippy tech-genius sister, also face off.
T’Challa and Killmonger are mirror images, separated only by the accident of where they were born. “What they don’t realize,” Boseman says, “is that the greatest conflict you will ever face will be the conflict with yourself.”
Both T’Challa and Killmonger had to be compelling in order for the movie to succeed. “Obviously, the superhero is who puts you in the seat,” Coogler says.
“That’s who you want to see come out on top. But I’ll be damned if the villains ain’t cool too. They have to be able to stand up to the hero, and have you saying, ‘Man, I don’t know if the hero’s going to make it out of this.’”
“If you don’t have that,” Boseman says, “you don’t have a movie.”
This is not just a movie about a black superhero; it’s very much a black movie. It carries a weight that neither Thor nor Captain America could lift: serving a black audience that has long gone underrepresented. For so long, films that depict a reality where whiteness isn’t the default have been ghettoized, marketed largely to audiences of color as niche entertainment, instead of as part of the mainstream. Think of Tyler Perry’s Madea movies, Malcolm D. Lee’s surprise 1999 hit The Best Man or the Barbershop franchise that launched in 2002. But over the past year, the success of films including Get Out and Girls Trip have done even bigger business at the box office, led to commercial acclaim and minted new stars like Kaluuya and Tiffany Haddish. Those two hits have only bolstered an argument that has persisted since well before Spike Lee made his debut: black films with black themes and black stars can and should be marketed like any other. No one talks about Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies as “white movies” to be marketed only to that audience.
Black Panther marks the biggest move yet in this wave: it’s both a black film and the newest entrant in the most bankable movie franchise in history. For a wary and risk-averse film business, led largely by white film executives who have been historically predisposed to greenlight projects featuring characters who look like them, Black Panther will offer proof that a depiction of a reality of something other than whiteness can make a ton of money.
The film’s positive reception—as of Feb. 6, the day initial reviews surfaced, it had a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes—bodes well for its commercial prospects. Variety predicted that it could threaten the Presidents’ Day weekend record of $152 million, set in 2016 by Deadpool.
Some of the film’s early success can be credited to Nate Moore, an African-American executive producer in Marvel’s film division who has been vocal about the importance of including black characters in the Marvel universe. But beyond Wakanda, the questions of power and responsibility, it seems, are not only applicable to the characters in Black Panther. Once this film blows the doors off, as expected, Hollywood must do more to reckon with that issue than merely greenlight more black stories. It also needs more Nate Moores.
“I know people [in the entertainment industry] are going to see this and aspire to it,” Boseman says. “But this is also having people inside spaces—gatekeeper positions, people who can open doors and take that idea. How can this be done? How can we be represented in a way that is aspirational?”
Because Black Panther marks such an unprecedented moment that excitement for the film feels almost kinetic. Black Panther parties are being organized, pre- and post-film soirées for fans new and old. A video of young Atlanta students dancing in their classroom once they learned they were going to see the film together went viral in early February. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer announced on her Instagram account that she’ll be in Mississippi when Black Panther opens and that she plans to buy out a theater “in an underserved community there to ensure that all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero.”
Many civil rights pioneers and other trailblazing forebears have received lavish cinematic treatments, in films including Malcolm X, Selma and Hidden Figures. Jackie Robinson even portrayed himself onscreen. Fictional celluloid champions have included Virgil Tibbs, John Shaft and Foxy Brown. Lando, too. But Black Panther matters more, because he is our best chance for people of every color to see a black hero. That is its own kind of power.
Even if you’re not a particle physics buff, you may have noticed that the plot of Netflix’s surprise Superbowl Sunday release, The Cloverfield Paradox, relies heavily on a huge physics discovery that was in the news a few years ago: the Higgs Boson particle.
Also known as the “God particle” — which happened to be the working title of the new J.J. Abrams film — the Higgs Boson was first observed directly by scientists in 2012.
Gratuitous spoilers for The Cloverfield Paradox ahead.
In the midst of an energy crisis in the year 2028, scientists are struggling to use a massive space-based particle accelerator to help efficiently produce energy. When they finally get it to accelerate particles, they suddenly find themselves on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth. Chaos ensues: Worms explode out of a guy. Someone’s arm rematerializes on the other side of the ship with a mind of its own. Standard body horror nonsense.
Long story short, we’re led to believe that this botched experiment is what brought monsters to Earth in the first Cloverfield film — which, given the crazy science that goes on at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), is not totally absurd.
Any good science fiction story has some basis in reality, and it’s clear that The Cloverfield Paradox drew heavily on conspiracy theories that sprung up around CERN and its efforts to find direct evidence of the Higgs-Boson particle using a 27-kilometer circumference accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider.
The particle’s discovery was a big deal because it was the only one out of 17 particles predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics that had never been observed. The Higgs Boson is partly responsible for the forces between objects, giving them mass.
But it wasn’t the particle itself that conspiracy theorists and skeptics worried about. It’s the way physicists had to observe it.
Doing so involved building the LHC, an extraordinarily large real-life physics experiment that housed two side-by-side high-energy particle beams traveling in opposite directions at close to the speed of light. The hope was that accelerated protons or lead ions in the beam would collide, throwing off a bunch of extremely rare, short-lived particles, one of which might be the Higgs Boson. In 2012, scientists finally observed it, calling it the “God particle” because “Goddamn particle” — as in “so Goddamn hard to find” — was considered too rude to print.
Critics and skeptics argued that colliding particles at close to the speed of light increased the potential to accidentally create micro black holes and possibly even larger black holes, leading to wild speculation like that in Cloverfield Paradox.
This has never happened in real life, of course, and there’s also strong evidence that it couldn’t happen. Check out this excerpt from an interaction between astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and science skeptic Anthony Liversidge that Gizmodo reported on in 2011:
NDT: To catch everybody up on this, there’s a concern that if you make a pocket of energy that high, it might create a black hole that would then consume the Earth. So I don’t know what papers your fellow read, but there’s a simple calculation you can do. Earth is actually bombarded by high energy particles that we call cosmic rays, from the depths of space moving at a fraction of the speed of light, energies that far exceed those in the particle accelerator. So it seems to me that if making a pocket of high energy would put Earth at risk of black holes, then we and every other physical object in the universe would have become a black hole eons ago because these cosmic rays are scattered across the universe are hitting every object that’s out there. Whatever your friend’s concerns are were unfounded.
Liversidge may be on the fringe with his argument, but he isn’t alone. As Inverse previously reported, Vanderbilt University physicist Tom Weiler, Ph.D., has hypothesized that a particle created alongside the Higgs Boson, called the Higgs singlet, could travel through time through an as-yet-undiscovered fifth dimension. If Weiler’s hypothesis is correct, then it seems possible that interdimensional travel, as depicted in Cloverfield Paradox, could be possible, though his model really only accounts for the Higgs singlet particle’s ability to time travel.
The reason the Cloverfield Paradox scientists were trying to fire up a particle accelerator in space is just as speculative. While particle accelerators take a massive amount of energy to accelerate their beams to near light speed, some physicists argue that under certain conditions, a particle accelerator could actually produce energy. Using superconductors, they argued, it would be possible for a particle accelerator to actually produce plutonium that could be used in nuclear reactors. So in a sense, the science of the movie is kind of based on maybe possibly real science.
That being said, this space horror film takes extreme liberties, even where it’s based on real science. Even on the extreme off-chance that any of the hypotheses outlined in this article turned out to be true, the tiny potential side effects of particle accelerators are nothing like what we see in The Cloverfield Paradox.
There are quite a few highly anticipated films/movies coming in 2018, so I will limit my list for now, to the top ten (not necessarily in order):
10. Tomb Raider
It’s another movie adaptation of a game and they never turn out well, but I still have hope.
9. Ready Player One
Basically a film all about pop culture, directed by Steven Spielberg, I’m excited for this one.
The book is actually about virtual reality gaming. So expect the movie to follow suit.
No, in all honesty I don’t care about Black Panther all that much, but I may still see it at some point, due to it having an awesome cast including Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman amongst others.
7. Deadpool 2
Not too bothered about this one either, but I’ll still see it because of the previous one being quite funny and entertaining.
6. Han Solo – A Star Wars Story
Yeah this is the biggest fucking mistake since 1999, I honestly don’t give a shit about this film and it’s a terrible choice by Disney to give a character such as this a fleshed out backstory, plus apparently Alden can’t even act so he needed an acting coach, to quote Han Solo himself from TFA, “I got a bad feeling about this”.
5. Pacific Rim uprising
Looks like fun and I enjoyed the last one a fair amount.
4. Fantastic Beasts 2 (not official title)
I love the Harry Potter franchise and I really enjoyed the first Fantastic Beasts.
3. The Incredibles 2
Don’t know why it took so long, but I’m glad a sequel is coming; the first one is a great film.
2. Avengers Infinity War part 1.
I’m really excited about this, 10 years of the MCU which all led up to this film.
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.
I love the Jurassic Park franchise and to hear that they are going back to the style of the first film gets me very excited for june next year.
Michael B. Jordan has hailed new movie Black Panther as “extremely important” in changing the landscape of cinema for black actors.
The new Marvel movie features a mainly black cast, with a host of big names starring alongside Creed star Michael, including Chadwick Boseman, Sterling K. Brown and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.
Talking to British GQ about the significance of Ryan Coogler’s new flick, Michael highlighted why it is such a landmark film.
“I think it’s extremely important,” he stated. “I feel like I never had that many actors to look at and inspire me growing up. Black actors that I could identify with, that look like me on screen… And I’m just thinking about what this movie is going to do to the kids growing up… Black kids, white kids, all kids because they can imagine just as much as we can, but specifically black kids who don’t have that many positive examples to look at on TV and film.
“We’re giving black people power, royalty – we don’t gotta be crackheads or gangbangers, selling drugs or robbing people. We don’t have to be comic relief. We can be superheroes. Imagine what that’s going to do to the imagination and ambition of kids watching these movies. That’s the real impact of this film.”
The highly anticipated movie hits cinemas from 13 February (18). Chadwick takes on the lead role of T’Challa/ Black Panther, with Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis among the supporting cast.
Oprah Winfrey received a standing ovation at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards on Sunday (07Jan18) as she delivered an empowering speech about taking a stand against sexual misconduct and inequality.
The TV mogul and actress was presented with the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is given to someone who has made a positive impact on the entertainment world, and showed fans why she was the perfect choice for the accolade as she stepped up to the podium at the Los Angeles ceremony.
Oprah began her speech by recalling how she had been given hope for her own future in media after witnessing history as a little girl back in 1964, when Sidney Poitier became the first African–Americanto win an Oscar, and the significance of her special Globes honor, as the first African–Americanwoman to receive the award, was not lost on her.
She then made reference to President Donald Trump, without naming him outright, as she addressed the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of the press – especially when it comes to reporting the stories of sexual misconduct victims.
“I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times,” Oprah said, “which brings me to this: what I know for sure, is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have, and I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories…
“I want to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay, and dreams to pursue.”
Oprah, who also shared the story of 1944 kidnap and gang-rape survivor Recy Taylor, concluded her speech by highlighting the Time’s Up campaign to end inappropriate behavior and inequality in the workplace, which stars supported by wearing black to the Globes.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men; but their time is up. Their time is up!,” she exclaimed, as celebrities across the board stood and applauded her call to action.
Following the speech, hordes of celebrities took to Twitter to praise her for her courageous words, while others suggested the speech indicated she might be planning to run for U.S. president in 2020.
Oprah was just one of the many honorees to publicly speak out in support of the Time’s Up movement – Big Little Lies co-stars Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon also used their acceptance speeches to hammer home the same message.
Dern, who claimed the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, urged people to end the “culture of silencing” which many of them were taught as kids, while Witherspoon encouraged other producers and filmmakers in Hollywood to tell more stories about victims of sexual abuse or harassment – as she did with Big Little Lies, which was named Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
The VVitch is a more psychological horror that deals with life in new England during the 1600’s. The movie draws you in with a unsettling feeling of violation, like you are intruding on a story that was never supposed to be brought to light. It has some slight gore but it is used carefully and sparsely.
With a 91% on rotten tomatoes and as one of my favorites i highly recommend the movie, especially if your just beginning the great journey into the horror genre.
The Women In Black
The women in black is a good place to start in the supernatural/jumpscare side of horror. The movie is about a lawyer that has to put a recently deceased persons affairs in order. When he arrives in the town where the person died it is obvious that the village is hiding something. Its has a good take on the thriller/mystery side of horror which we sometimes rarely see.
It sadly only has a 67% rating by rotten tomatoes
Lets make something clear, absolutely hate dolls and creepy/weird kids. Lucky for me this movie has both combined into one entity. The boy follows a nanny that was called to babysit a child while his parents are out of town. To her surprise the kid is a doll with a rather strict set of rules she must follow in order to avoid his consequences. Sounds heartwarming right?
It has a 60% rating by rotten tomatoes but its all about personal preference really.
Now time to get to the good stuff
The Conjuring Series is based off of the real life investigations of Lorraine and Ed warren who (if you’re like me and waste too much time on the internet you know who I’m talkin’ about) are world famous paranormal investigators. I prefer the second conjuring but to understand a little bit more about the characters i recommend watching the first one as well.
The conjuring has an 86% rating on rotten tomatoes
(finally a horror movie that doesn’t begin with ‘the’)
Lets talk about Sinister
Where to begin with this movie? The plot focuses on a true crime writer who hasn’t written a book in years. So he does the obvious thing, solve the murder tapes he found in his houses attic. With a combination of gore, the supernatural, and mystery a fan favorite was born.
The critics aren’t fond of this movie though, giving it a rating of 67%
The Silence of The Lambs
The Silence of The Lambs is a classic for a reason. With enough violence to go around and then some, this movie has stolen the hearts of many horror fans. An FBI agent named Clarice Starling is granted the unfortunate privilege of a interview with everyone’s favorite cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Her job is to try and get any information he may have about an on going case.
Sadly, memes have kinda ruined the movie for me
The movie has a 95% rating. If you have a faint heart i dont suggest eating while watching this movie.
Again with people moving into a new house poltergeist takes place in California. As kids communicate with spirits in their house through the TV. Eventually the at first playful and friendly communications turn more sinister. When the youngest (depicted above) goes missing the family reaches out to parapsychologist and eventually an exorcist for help.
The movie was rated at 88% and is admired by most horror fans
Hello paranormal activity my old friend. Ive come to talk about you again. As one of my first horror movies it is near and dear to my heart. Though its not very scary it is well done and was a original concept when it was released.
The first movies were rated around 80% but as the series continues the ratings have dropped significantly dropping to 14%
Gore…. Its just Gore…. All of it….
Gore aside the saw franchise has a very loyal fanbase and continues to rake in those ever treasured green dollar bills. If you dont mind alot of blood and gut wrenching decisions this movies for you. If you’ve already seen it I suggest being brave and attempting to eat something while watching.
so…. im too lazy to write a hundred more reviews so here’s a list of some favorites
The big sick was probably the funniest movie I saw this year. It managed to bring a smile on my face throughout the movie. I loved Kumail Nanjiani’s performance in this movie, I think he did a very good job. Also Ray Romano, who plays the girl’s father was terrific and incredibly funny in his role. This is a kind of movie which I think anyone can watch and enjoy a lot. I highly recommend this one.
9. BABY DRIVER
I am not a fan of action movies involving big car chase sequences. But I really loved this movie a lot and the reason is probably Edgar Wright’s Direction. He directed the shit out of this movie. It is so fast paced, not a single moment in this movie seems to drag and I was invested in the characters throughout. The music of this movie is incredible. The first thing I did after seeing this film was to download the soundtrack, it’s so amazing.
I was really confused whether to put this at 8 or 7. I think it was one of the first movies of 2017 that I saw and its memories are now a bit fuzzy for me. This movie was amazing. I loved every second of this film. It was so satisfying to see a good M. Night Shyamalan movie after a long time. It was a brilliant psychological thriller plus its ending was just mind blowing. But I think the best part of this film was James Mcavoy, his performance in this movie was probably my favourite of the year. I think he is a very underrated actor and deserves a lot of recognition for his work in this movie.
Well when it comes to movies with kids in the lead roles, I think I become a little biased. IT was probably one of the most fun experiences I had watching a movie this year. The kids in this movie did a very great job and I loved the Losers club. Bill Skarsgård who played the role of Pennywise the clown was scary as hell and did a fantastic job. The thing that I love the most about this film was how it presents that real life horrors can be as much terrifying as the supernatural ones. I loved IT
6. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
After Batman, Spider Man is my favourite superhero of all time. I loved this movie much more than I thought would. I wasn’t very excited to watch this film, I am a big fan of Sam Rami’s first two spider man films and thought marvel would ruin my childhood superhero. But I was wrong, this movie blew me away. I was smiling throughout the film, it really captured the essence of spider man beautifully, being the superhero we all relate to. This movie wasn’t just a good superhero movie but also a great coming of age story. Also this movie finally gave us a good villain in a Marvel film after a long time. Michael Keaton as Venom was freaking awesome.
5. THE WIND RIVER
Wind River was the most surprisingly good film of this year. I loved every minute of this film. It was not just a very good murder mystery but more than that a great drama. The movie’s theme about loss and how to deal with it by accepting it was brilliant and was executed very well. Jeremy Renner’s performance in this movie was probably the his best performance I have ever seen, he was so amazing. The dialogues in this film were phenomenal, the cinematography was brilliant and also the score was just amazing. I think this film is one of the most overlooked films of the year. I strongly recommend this film.
4. BLADE RUNNER 2049
Ever since I heard Denis Villeneuve was gonna direct the sequel to the original blade runner, I was damn excited for this movie. It was my most awaited films of the year and man this movie was amazing. Denis Villeneuve is one of my favourite directors working today. This movie was a visual treat from start to finish, you can literally take any shot of this film and can set it as your wallpaper. Roger Deakins Cinematography is probably the strongest aspect of this film. Also the themes of humanity presented in this film are phenomenal. Ryan Gosling again gave a very rich performance and his portrayal of his character was brilliant. Harrison Ford also gave a brilliant performance and watching him reprise his old role was amazing. In technical sense I think this movie is probably the best one of this year. This movie will inspire a generation of filmmakers to come.
3. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Episode 8 of Star Wars was probably the most divisive movie of 2017. There are people who absolutely hate this film and people who think this is the best star wars film since the Empire Strikes Back. I belong to the latter part of the spectrum. The Last jedi was the most fun experience I had watching a film in theatre this year. I literally clapped when the movie ended. Now see I have never been a huge star wars fan, since I didn’t grew up watching star wars films. I watched the original trilogy in a day or two and then watched Force Awakens and Rogue one, never saw the prequels. This movie made me fall in love with the franchise. This movie did nothing that I was expecting to happen in this movie, and it was so amazing to see a film taking a lot of risks to tell a fresh story, probably the reason it pissed off the fans. The underlying message that the film tries to tell that there will never be a last jedi, that the heroic stories will continue to inspire a generations to come was I think very beautiful.
I think I am one of the very few people who enjoy X Men movies more than the MCU movies. I think the success of the first X Men movie was the reason we see so many superhero movies today. Wolverine played by Hugh Jackman has always been my favourite superhero character of all time. His last portrayal of this character in this film was one of the best portrayal of a comic book character (after heath ledger’s joker) I have ever seen. This movie I think is easily the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight. Hugh Jackman’s performance in this movie was so amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. Patrick Stewart also gave a mesmerizing performance in this film. It was great to see such a different look in the superhero genre, since most of the superhero movies we see today are action comedies. I think logan was one of the most emotional films of the year. I literally teared up in the end. There isn’t single flaw I could find in this movie and I have watched this movie now 2 times. I wish Hugh Jackman gets nominated for an Academy Award for this film but that probably won’t happen
1. LADY BIRD
Greta Gerwig directorial debut, Lady Bird is my favourite movie of 2017. I think it is the best coming of age film I have ever seen, and trust me I have seen a lot of such films. This movie was so beautiful. It occupied my full attention from start to finish and for a person like me its quite rare. I think everyone who sees this film can relate to its characters. The relationship between the mother and daughter portrayed in this film is incredible. Saoirse Ronan really killed it with her performance, she was just amazing. Also Laurie Metcalf who plays her mother was as good as her in this movie. Really the worst part of this film was that it ended, I wanted to see more of this movie as I was so much invested in the characters. I hope it wins the oscar for best film this year.
OVER THE COURSE of the Star Wars franchise, we’ve been treated to some epic battles: dogfights between X-Wings and TIE fighters at Yavin-4, AT-ATs on the frozen wastes of Hoth, jungle warfare on Endor, and Rogue One’s epic battles on the beaches of Scarif. The Last Jedi offers no shortage of skirmishes, either. Except this time, the Resistance’s consistently bad military tactics finally catch up with it.
From a military perspective, one thing has always stood out: The Empire, and now the First Order, have nearly limitless ships, equipment, and manpower, while the Rebels/Resistance have scant resources. With every engagement, this band of rebel fighters grows ever smaller, while there seems to be no lack of available Stormtroopers. At least previously, though, those engagements ended with the destruction of Death Stars and a Starkiller Base, even if unsound Rebel strategic thinking got them there. Now those bad choices are playing out more realistically—and tragically—than ever.
Win It All
While The Last Jedi mainly focuses on the Jedi order and its fate, perhaps the most striking feature of the film is that the Resistance has finally played its last card. The Resistance—and the Rebels before them—sought the decisive battle, that one moment that would destroy the enemy’s will to fight and bring about peace in the Galaxy. That seemed to be the case after Return of the Jedi, and yet somehow in the intervening 30 years the Republic squandered away all that they had won.
But history shows that decisive battles do little to further a rebel cause. During the American Civil War, Confederate General Robert E. Lee spent years pursuing a decisive battle versus the United States Army. Yet, even after one-sided Confederate successes such as Fredericksburg in 1862 and Chancellorsville in 1863, the US Army of the Potomac remained in the field, inflicting losses that the Confederates could not afford. Lee’s search for decisive battle led to his force being winnowed away to nearly nothing. The truly great generals throughout history have realized that seeking a decisive battle only puts one’s force in more peril than the risk is worth.
In The Last Jedi, the Resistance lacks truly great generals. Commander Poe Dameron is a skilled fighter pilot but hardly a strategic thinker; he’s a hammer who sees a world full of nails. He gambles the Resistance bomber fleet on a shot to take out a First Order dreadnought-class star destroyer. Not only that, but he does so in violation of a direct order from General Leia Organa. The mission succeeds in knocking out the enemy ship, but at the cost of the entire Resistance bomber fleet, for which Poe is reduced in rank.
Seeking that decisive battle with the First Order only resulted in dead pilots and lost resources. It solved nothing in the long term. And as the rest of The Last Jedi makes clear, for every enemy star destroyer or frigate the Resistance accounts for, the First Order can replace it without blinking an eye.
Rather than making massive sacrifices to blow up one big ship, the real strength of the Resistance rests in its ability to survive. The presumed heroics of individuals like Poe and Finn make it hard for them to do even that.
In many ways, the Resistance shares that trait with real-world rebellions throughout history. Most are worn down through the sheer lack of resources and through attrition; a decisive battle becomes their best way to make a grand statement.
In The Last Jedi, the Resistance lacks truly great generals.
The successful counterexample, and a model the Resistance would have been better served following, is the American Revolution. George Washington’s genius lay less in his ability to take the fight to the British—although he excelled at that—and more in the way that he prioritized preservation of troops over seeking out a singular moment of triumph. His ability to exfiltrate units from near-disaster mattered just as much as his offensive strategies.
But just as General Organa finally recognizes the importance of preserving her force—too late, one could argue—she enters a coma after the First Order begins its bombardment of the last Resistance Frigate. (RIP Admiral Ackbar.) Command devolves to Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, who recognizes the strategic need to protect their force, but has what proves to be a fatal flaw: She fails to communicate well.
Holdo knows that she can jettison the escape transports and they will be cloaked from the First Order, but doesn’t share the plan with Poe. She instead belittles him, and leaves him eager to take action. Left out of the loop, Poe and Finn concoct a hare-brained scheme to save the last three Resistance ships from First Order bombardment, another all-or-nothing gambit that not only fails, but gets the majority of transports destroyed in the process.
Some Like It Hoth
When what remains of the Resistance lands on Crait, a planet that houses an musty old Rebel Alliance outpost, they yet again seek a decisive engagement, this time with only a handful of fighters and some infantry left. Crait is a terrible spot for a last stand. The rebellion stuffs itself into a cave, with only one entry and egress point, and little in the way of protection.
They’re shielded from planetary bombardment, so the First Order lands a ground force. Now you’ve got massive new AT-M6 walkers facing off against the serried trenches and rusting turret guns of the Resistance.
Back then, Imperial armor cut through the Rebels’ linear defenses, brushed past Luke Skywalker’s head-on air attack with snow speeders, and blasted apart the shield generator. However, the plucky Rebel troopers had managed to buy enough time for the main force to escape off planet, under the protective fire of the ion cannon.
Fast-forward 30 years to Crait. The Resistance, clearly, has learned nothing in the interim. Their dismounted troopers charge into World War I-like trenches, gamely looking down blaster scopes at armored vehicles they can’t even hope to touch. Poe Dameron, while a wizard in the air, can’t muster two tactical brain cells as he flies his sortie of incredibly ancient craft directly into the guns of the First Order’s armor.
Much like Luke Skywalker in Empire, Poe doesn’t seem to realize that the AT-series has no firepower on its sides or rear. Nope, it’s straight up the middle for Poe, with predictable carnage for the last handful of Resistance pilots that remain. At least Poe, unlike Luke, eventually realizes it’s a suicide mission, and pulls back after taking losses.
Of course, they’re not much better off back in the cave. Only the arrival of Luke Skywalker in full Jedi power mode saves the Resistance from being snuffed out in entirety. But only just barely; all that’s left can fit inside the Millennium Falcon.
By consistently refusing to learn the rules of unity of command, communication across the chain of command, and the necessity of preserving their force, the Resistance has fought itself nearly out of existence. If rebellions are built on hope, then they survive through skilled withdrawals—which almost never happens in the Star Wars saga. And in The Last Jedi, that failure has brought what was once a promising rebellion to the brink.