Now that we rely on social media to voice our opinions for ANY and EVERYTHING, I already knew that the self-proclaimed “professional movie critics” of the world would have a lot to say when Coming 2 America released.
As soon as the trailer dropped, people were fast with the Twitter fingers trying to decipher the story angle for the reboot. It’s like you all were setting the movie up to fail before it even had a chance to perform.
I knew things would really be bad when days before, statuses started popping up saying “man, this reboot better not be trash” or “if I don’t see my favorite character come back, I’m turning it off.”
Why are we like this?!
The original Coming to America released in 1988. It was one of the first movies where Black comedians portrayed several characters/personalities in one film. To us, it was genius. So much so, Black film enthusiasts instantly deemed it a classic.
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall gave us punchlines and quotes that even after 30 years, still come up in conversation as if we just heard it. It’s Black comedic gold.
But what makes the reboot so terrible?
When it was announced that the movie would be coming back, households were divided. Some were excited to see what a present-day adaptation would look like, while others felt it was best to ‘leave well-enough alone.’
Personally, I was excited. Especially knowing that most of the original cast would be coming back, too. (RIP Madge Sinclair) That alone earned hella respect in my book. James Earl Jones is 90-years-old, and although brief, the man came back for part two. Why wouldn’t you appreciate that?!
Once the movie officially released on March 4, I, like most, fired up my Amazon Prime account to witness the continuation of cultural royalty— literally.
The costumes, the melanin, the familiar faces (old and new) drew me in from the beginning. For a person that loves travel, it was almost like a surprise getaway without having to do so in the ponderosa (that’s pandemic for those that don’t follow Black Twitter trends).
They gave us a plot, which honestly was super similar to the first. They gave us flashbacks to the original, and did so in a way that connected the two seamlessly. They even brought back the rapping twins.
So, why are “we” so disappointed?
Some said the CGI was unrealistic. Others said the “bastard son” wasn’t the right person for the role. I even heard people say they didn’t like the fact that most of the storyline happened in Zamunda. (Um okay, go off sis)
It’s 2021. That was 1988.
Technology has changed drastically. Writing rooms are more “diverse” which means we won’t always get the “super Black” movies we did in the 80s and 90s— at least not in theaters and major streaming platforms. And, whether you want to accept it or not, young Black actors may never live up to the hype of some of their predecessors. It is what it is. It’s not to say they aren’t good in their own right though.
That’s why we must approach films of today at face value. I know you wanted to be able to add part 2 to your collection, and honestly you still can.
We still saw the comedic genius of SEVERAL Black actors, we still got punchlines and quotes, we even got to see an African nation (whether real or fake) in a positive light.
Because let’s be honest, we’re STILL advocating for that.
As a culture, we’re always speaking out when OUR stories aren’t told or even overlooked. We get upset when “mainstream” America doesn’t support our works the way they do non-Black stories. On the contrary, we are quick to put down our own when it’s not executed perfectly or to our standard/expectation.
If we don’t support us, why should anyone else?
It’s time we stop doing this, especially as our legends get older. Let’s give the flowers while we still can. Let’s celebrate us, even if only for the fact that it was a majority Black cast. (I know, I know they slipped Louie back in there.)
Either way you spin it, Coming 2 America wasn’t THAT bad.