Armond White: Seeing Red on 'Green Lantern'

Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern. (Google)
Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern. (Google)

Critic Armond White is disgruntled with the slew of Hollywood comic book films that have come out that make black men look bad. He believes that filmmakers are unable to transcend archaic stereotypes of African Americans even in movies based on fantasy.


He deplores how filmmakers fall back on said stereotypes, particularly when the film retreats to modern-day America. Green Lantern is the latest example of this phenomenon. What do you think? Do you agree with White's assessment of black men in comic book films? Check out an excerpt from his post:

'Green Lantern' is a watchable if unexceptional entertainment, spinning an overcomplicated moral about guardians of the universe; will, courage and fear; and putting Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in a body suit made of light. All amusing enough until the filmmakers…bring on the black guy.

No matter how fanciful, quixotic or faithful to their original source, most of this year’s comics-based movie sink when their pop-art legends are confronted with the modern world. The fantasy-figure heroes and villains cannot transcend cultural archetypes which means these contemporary, multimillion dollar productions keep dragging audiences back to the oldest, most decrepit social stereotypes.

It has become a particular annoyance this year. Given the essentially frivolous nature of these comics-derived films, it's worth pointing out how their fleeting but constant offense prevents the movies from being the progressive fantasies they pretend to be. They spoil their own lessons about good and evil through their non-conscientious use of cinematic imagery and character presentation.

Here are three recent disappointments:

Idris Elba in Thor. While translating the gods of Norse legend into the modern day Hollywood universe, the makers of Thor challenged familiar thinking by thinking multiculturally. Casting black British actor Idris Elba as Heimdall, Guardian Sentry of Asgard, confronted archeological complexities more than it disputed history. Why shouldn’t a deity be portrayed by an actor of color? Problem is: Elba’s Heimdall never significantly figured into Thor's action. The character’s conception was, essentially, a butler. His purpose was to admit and greet—aligned with 1930s Hollywood stereotype rather than divine or cosmological possibility…


Read more at the New York Press

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