There is little doubt at this point that Black Panther is a true success at the box office. But as a film that was lauded for breaking ground for being inclusive in Hollywood alongside Wonder Woman, there are still questions about how deep this effect will go in the long term — both domestically and globally. For Samuel L. Jackson, he doesn’t see the film changing the way black films are treated in Hollywood and he sees a few factors at play for its success according to a new interview in Vogue.
While it is questionable to say given Jackson’s past comments about Oscar films like Moonlight and his criticism of Get Out, the legendary actor does make a valuable point about giving the crown to Black Panther:
“I’m not positive that Black Panther is going to change the dynamic of black stories being told in Hollywood and being accepted all over the world,” he says. “It’s an action-adventure story and a lot of people like those, and they’ll work all over the world forever because everybody loves a hero. But not everybody loves a drama about somebody’s life experience – that’s why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognized in the same category, we’ll be laying markers.”
It’s a tough thing to analyze because while Jackson is right, Black Panther represents an equal success in a genre where people of color have long been left in the supporting roles.
Many who celebrated the film upon release cited this as something they walked away from the movie enjoying. It isn’t the first film to do so — you cannot forget about Blade — it is likely a success story that will open the door to the conversation. His later point about foreign films is a little easier to fall in line with because foreign films are just good films at the end of the day. They don’t need to have a barrier around them for recognition, and they definitely don’t need to be remade for American audiences. For every great adaptation like The Departed or Twelve Monkeys, you’re going to end up with many more like Taxi with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah.
Then again, maybe Jackson is still upset that he was not involved with Black Panther as part of his extensive MCU collection of films.