China just can’t chill about Superheroes
Phase 4 of Marvel Cinematic Universe has arrived like Santa on Christmas eve. With some of the most anticipated projects in its bag, the one which turned out to be the most captivating for the fans is Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. While it was hailed by MCU fans all over the world with unprecedented excitement and fascination, it didn’t receive the same warmth from its primary audience in China for Marvel Superhero.
According to a Reddit user u/alanjinqq, the performance of the Shang-Chi trailer on Hong Kong and Taiwan YouTube metrics is not even average. With around 52% and 49% approval ratings in Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively, the future of the movie is not looking promising in China for Marvel Superhero. These ratings are based on the number of likes versus dislikes the trailer has received on YouTube in these two countries. On top of it, the comments received on the trailer are also showing red flags all over.
It Has Happened Before..
But this is not the first time, a Hollywood debut has received such strong criticism from China for marvel superhero. A similar story went down with Disney’s remake of Mulan released in March 2020. Although, if you really dig deep into it, to understand the base problem here, you’ll start to find patterns and similarities between these cases. We’re here to help you understand this with a more refined and logical approach. So stay with us, keep reading..
Watch: China Might Ban Shang-Chi and Eternals, Report
According to a Bloomberg report, China, being the world’s largest movie market, is slowly trying to close its doors for Hollywood Studios. Although China has seen the fastest recovery of its cinema industry from the ongoing Pandemic, the same recovery does not seem to reflect in the performance of even the flagship Hollywood Movies. The paradigm shift in geopolitics between Beijing and Western countries, in general, is one reason. But it’s not the complete story.
Why Can’t China Just Chill
Aynne Kokas, A Media Studies Professor at the University of Virginia says, “China has emerged as the main (economic) center of flagship Hollywood releases in the world” First of all, it clearly tells us why Hollywood can’t afford to sideline China when it comes to the worldwide release of its flagship projects. Secondly, the political discontent between the two governments is not just on the economic level, but its way down the visible ground.
The reason why some of these Hollywood releases face unexpected criticism from Chinese fandom is more have to with the cultural dilemma than politics or the economy. According to the reviews posted on the trailer of Shang-Chi, Chinese netizens have blamed the directors and the studio for Stereotyping.
What’s The Actual Grumble of Chinese Fandom
According to Youth Daily, a popular Communist Youth League paper in China, the whole sequence of Shang-Chi, including its comics version, depicts racist portrayals of some of its characters. Even these concerns were said to be “duly acknowledged” by the director Destin Daniel Cretton, the complaints still remain at hand.
A similar situation was there when Disney’s remake of Mulan was released. It’s the story of a legendary Chinese warrior. Mulan, a young woman, despite her struggles to fulfill her dreams in a conservative Chinese society, rose to be the greatest warrior the country has ever seen. The situation of Mulan’s release in China was much worse than it is for Shang-Chi for now. That’s to say, the entire issue could be summarised in the line of “wrong and stereotype representation of Chinese culture and distorted exposition of Chinese history”.
The Root of The Whole Issue
Moreover, the cultures of the US and countries like China and India are almost opposite to each other. The distinction is termed as Individualistic (the US and Europe) and Collectivistic (All of South East Asia). In simple words, In individualism, goals, rights and achievements are recognised for an individual person. On the other hand, in collectivism, all the achievements and rights are demanded/recognized by a group of people or a community. This explains pretty well how Hollywood is sure to make mistakes while presenting Chinese culture imagined by an American, to Chinese people in China.
So What Now? How They Might React..
Coming back to the issue at hand, according to a CBR story, the release of Shang-Chi in China has now come under doubt. If that happens, as it did for Mulan, Hollywood, especially MCU might have to rethink its whole Phase 4 project from a global perspective. A Variety report on the issue has informed that a Chinese Movie Channel CCTV6 has recently aired the list of 10 MCU Phase 4 movie releases on the channel excluding Shang-Chi Marvel and Eternals from the list.
Nonetheless, Marvel has high hopes for its new Asian Superhero. Despite what happens in China, the rest of the world is sure to enjoy the movie, as a movie. What do you think about this issue..?
Do you think China or CCP is a bit overreacting for Marvel Superhero? Or Is it Hollywood being unfair and intentionally rude all along?