“[If they] want to bitch about movies, that’s certainly their right… are you telling me Ryan Coogler, making Black Panther, is doing something… ‘less than’ what [they] have ever done… come on. There. I said it.”
By invoking Coogler’s name in response to criticism, Iger positioned BLACK PANTHER as representative of a pattern instead of an outlier in Marvel’s track record. Out of 23 male directors hired leading up to ENDGAME, 21 are white men; the studio’s ratios of non-white male screenwriters and producers are likewise bleak. It’s also reflected in ENDGAME’s condescending, slapdash battlefield moment featuring all-female characters— largely interchangeable and with negligible prior interaction —and co-director Joe Russo’s small cameo as a gay man—a demeaning footnote to a parade of heteronormality, with its ad nauseam “no homo” inserts of nuclear families meant to symbolize a return to normalcy. Superficial inclusion means nothing if the underlying message is ignorant.
Let’s set aside for now the film’s internal time-travel “logic”–of which even the directors and writers cannot agree–or the film’s aggressive heteronormativity, and the bizarre lack of closure to the Steve Rogers’ life-defining friendship with Bucky Barnes. Other publications sufficiently explore these themes:
At the conclusion of Endgame, Rogers struggles for five years with the aftereffects of living in a post-apocalyptic world. A veteran of World War II, frozen for 70 years, almost every event in his life since receiving Doctor Erskine’s serum accumulates shock and trauma. He’s left with a litany of unaddressed mental health issues (including depression and PTSD), never truly acknowledged by the franchise.