Superhero movies prove that diversity wins
This year was filled with blockbusters about diverse heroes. Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Aquaman continue the trend of success that started last year with Wonder Woman.
Breaking box office records, Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, premiered to critical acclaim. It’s possibly on its way to being the first superhero film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. An almost fully black cast, the film destroys any argument that a diverse movie can’t make money.
The animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse finally brings the Afro-Latino teenager Miles Morales to the big screen. The movie is unique and fun, also featuring other Marvel characters like Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen) and Peni Parker.
In Aquaman, instead of the blond, white Aquaman from the comics, the new film adaptation stars Jason Momoa. It changes his origin story, exploring the actor’s Polynesian heritage and bringing representation to a culture rarely seen on screen.
The revival of romantic comedies
People tend to see the romcom genre as lower quality. But films like Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before prove that there is substance in these movies. Also, just like with the superhero genre, diversity improves it.
We saw the first studio teen film to feature an LGBT protagonist, in Love, Simon. The movie is based off the bestselling book, Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda, by Becky Albertalli.
These films have been so successful that there’s already a sequel to both Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys confirmed. Also, Albertalli wrote a sequel to her book called Leah on the Offbeat, about Simon’s best friend. It’s another beautiful LGBT-centered story, and we hope they adapt that as well in the future.
Last year with Get Out, the horror genre finally got some recognition and respect. Like with comedy and action, horror has been seen as lower class than the drama genre that gets recognized at awards shows. Thankfully, 2018 brought us a multitude of high-class horror films that are getting the attention they deserve.
Hereditary is the standout hit, as a story about a family who, after the grandmother dies, experience a sequence of horrible events that forever alters them. It’s an unbelievable film with amazing acting, and many people say it’s the scariest film they’ve ever seen.
Also, we got the long-awaited sequel, Halloween, which brings back scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis in her iconic role. The film is in an empowering tale about her character, Laurie, getting revenge on Michael Myers.
Other horror gems from this year are A Quiet Place, the remake of Suspiria, and the indie film Cam on Netflix.
The two most impressive and surprising films to come out of this year are Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You and Alex Garland’s Annihilation. Sorry to Bother You stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer. Stanflied’s character, Cassius Green, works as a telemarketer.
After discovering how to speak in a “white voice,” he finds glory and success, but it leads him down an unpredictable and increasingly strange path. It may not sound like it, but what unfolds is one of the most insane stories we’ve ever seen on the big screen.
After Ex Machina, Annihilation is the second film Garland’s directed. The movie is based off the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. It stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez.
The film centers around Portman’s character, Lena, a biologist. After her husband (played by Oscar Isaac) returns from a place called “The Shimmer” very changed, Lena joins a team of women going in to find out more about it. It’s visually striking and strange, and challenges your ideas of what a movie can be.
We hope films like this will start a new willingness from studios to take on different and more original projects.
Long overdue sequels
Apparently, 2018 was about huge sequels. After fourteen long years, we got the wonderful Incredibles 2, a film for everyone and definitely worth the wait.
Even longer, it’s been more than fifty years since Julie Andrews introduced us to the joyous Mary Poppins. This year, Emily Blunt takes over the iconic character in Mary Poppins Returns, also starring Lin Manuel-Miranda and Ben Whishaw. It’s a continuation of the story, with the original children now adults.
If those two weren’t enough, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again came out this year, a decade after the original. It stars Lily James as a young Donna. We get to see how she met each of her three loves, and the whole original cast appears.
We hope that 2019 brings just as many creative and enjoyable films, and carries on the trend of diversity and originality!
(Featured Image: Netflix/Marvel/Disney/Warner Bros/Sony/Annapurna Pictures)