cleansing my soul of addiction🦋’s review published on Letterboxd:
this is giving more and more as time continues to pass since its release, the existence of a character like cyborg proves that there is hope yet for Afrofuturism to break its way into mainstream constructs. its easy to limit Afrofuturism to a way of imagining possible futures through a Black cultural lens but works of this kind spearheaded by a white auteur can be assorted as part of a poignantly urgent Afrofuturist intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation. Afrofuturist narratives and artwork often depict Black people building communities, innovating new technologies, rewriting dominant narratives, and escaping oppression; and so its easy to distinguish the approach to cyborg and his trauma into a singular narrative in which the wonderfully unidealized troubled Black male finds that he can piece together an entirely new identity for himself from the fragments of his past that remain after his life has been laid to waste.
the existence of Black people in the reality snyder has established for this universe is already something to behold—refusing to limit them to the margins of humanity as oppressed entities, just as powerless against the gods and monsters of this world as they are against those who come from elsewhere; but they're nothing like the marginalised entities on display as frail lambs to the slaughter in this film's contemporaries. the strong presence shown by darkskin amazon warriors and grounded Black intellectualism of victor and his father is already giving but to centre the narrative of a multi-hundred million dollar film like this around a Black male featuring unbridled meditations on the nature of his trauma leaving him destitute is to go above and beyond. snyder's approach to the cyborg character and how victor's newfound powers humanize him and separate him (and his father) from those self-righteous sensibilities of holier than thou Black humanity and ascendant intellectualism is one that hasn't been present in the Black characters under the lens of white filmmakers since the works of barry shear and jules dassin. ray fisher is obviously to be given most of the credit here with his accentuated, vulnerable display of Black hopelessness made to be constrained via his ambition to strive for a future in which he exists as part of something bigger than himself; but not exclusionary of his new (or past) identity. to have their Black father-son dilemmas touched upon with importance in the middle of this conquest of cosmic proportions further solidifies snyder's for-the-people pop narrative and has brought out a newfound respect within me for a filmmaker who can explore the qualms of Black trauma without sentimentalizing or simplifying the emotional complexities of Black individuals. much like those long gone filmmakers like dassin and shear free of white self righteousness and liberal obsession, snyder doesn't fixate on Black trauma and allows victor's narrative to play out by itself as something that exists naturally, and so he does better by representation than even neolib black filmmakers who desensitize the reality behind the struggle before displaying it on film. i wanna write more but im so tired ugh this movie is sooo good😭