Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o has defended superhero films after some of the most venerated figures in cinema dismissed the genre.
Marvel’s all-conquering cinematic universe has earned billions of dollars at the global box office and attracted millions of devoted fans.
However, the domination has led to a backlash.
Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies are “not cinema” while British director Ken Loach compared them to “commodities like hamburgers”.
Francis Ford Coppola, the acclaimed director of classics including The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, was even more strident in his criticism and said Marvel films are “despicable”.
Kenyan-Mexican actress Nyong’o, who starred in Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster Black Panther, defended the genre.
Speaking at the Bafta Britannia Awards in Los Angeles, she told the PA news agency: “I believe that it’s possible to be both a popular film and a meaningful film and I think Black Panther showed that.”
Nyong’o, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for 2013 period drama 12 Years A Slave, has just won further critical acclaim for her Channel 4 documentary Warrior Women.
The film saw Nyong’o travel to African country Benin to uncover the astonishing true story of the Agoji, Benin’s female army.
The actress, who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, said the documentary was “very personal”.
“I’ve never done anything like it,” she said.
“I was super interested in going to Benin and having the chance to really meet the people and learn from the people about their history. And it moved me in ways I didn’t expect it to.
“And challenged me in ways I certainly wasn’t prepared for.”