Last weekend (along with 90% of Americans) I saw “Black Panther.” The movie itself was rad and subversive and set a new bar for Hollywood action movies, blowing up the idea that people of color and women (and most particularly women of color) can only carry the roles of sidekick, token or gooey-eyed love interest. But the previews, you guys….
“Death Wish”, “Deadpool”, “Mission Impossible”, a handful of less memorable others: all with the general plot outline of a man who is wronged and who takes justice into his own hands when “the system” betrays or ignores him. A montage of death, destruction and guns follows, with the man as a hero. I looked down the theater row at the rapt faces of my 13-year-old son and five of his friends—all beautiful, goofy, dorky, loving boys—and freaked the f$@k out. This is the message we give our boys about masculinity?! This is the soup we raise them in?!
And then we wonder why some of them take this narrative literally and create their own montage of death and destruction. We can do better.
(Read a related NYT opinion piece here.)