Welcome to the Bee-Verse where symbolism and commentary collide and sting the unaware! Indulge in the OG Sweetie man, Candyman this week.
Director: Nia DaCosta
Writer: Jordan Peele
Yahya Abdul Matieen II, Teyonah Parris
Worldwide Gross: $77,300,000
Breakdown and Analysis
- If we’re talking about the offerings 1992 does it better. Through way of messaging, cohesive story and satisfying character arc. We enjoyed the stylistic nature of 2021 but felt the story suffered for it. Things were just happening to Anthony without a feeling of where the story might lead. KT does not believe the 2021 stands on it’s own and leverages the firm foundation of 2021.
- We watched 1992 before watching 2021 and this experience left us both conflicted. KT enjoyed 1992 but started to appreciate it more after watching 2021. Even with Oti’s tax, it doesn’t come close to 1992.
- 1992 felt effortless. KT acknowledges the element of reclaiming Candyman as a Black Horror icon but also believes the film carries itself enough to not need a rework. Oti agrees and adds that nuance went out the window in the 2021 version.
- We understand what was being aimed for in 2021 but Oti observes that somewhere between the idea and execution we lost what made 1992 so special. The build up was slow, there weren’t any characters to want to care about and too many to focus on. We had a story and a succinct focus in 1992 which made it more effective.
- The eventual tethership and Helen were the focus. We were following them and them only.
- We address the issue of gentrification. We took qualm with Anthony’s character in his hatred towards the people even though he is contributing to gentrification and is receptive to praise when praise is given. 1992 explained gentrification more effectively and KT talks about the effectiveness of white people in the film to give a face and proxy to oppression. Contrast to a white academic man callously explaining the original story compared to William casually explaining. The presence of white people in 1992 helped drive the message home.
- Oti talks about the many things that black people can be aggrieved of but questioned whether it needed to be presented the way it did in 2021.
- We talk about Candyman, the urban legend. 1992 focuses on community pain and trauma, this leads into the need to have Candyman. To become the sponge and be the explanation for unanswered tragedy. It can be religion or culture, however in this community it was Candyman that banned them all together. Despite having a white protagonist and Candyman being created by a white man, the focus on the black community was demonstrated in 1992. In 2021 they talked a lot about it but not a lot of portrayal which helped to contextually ground 1992.
- Anthony’s fascination with his creative artistry didn’t resonate with Oti. If Candyman is an urban legend that we can lay our burdens, the presence is tangibly missing in 2021. We had to come in love with Candyman and be onboard for what would unfold with Anthony’s character.
- Our original reference informed us that becoming a victim to Candyman is a choice but it was portrayed as an inevitable path of destiny for Anthony in 2021.
- Oti really wanted to love 2021 and goes out of his way to support. He coins the ‘Kenya Barris’ effect, is my onus just to say this was a good movie and not be critical of it?
- We lost the element of Horror in 2021. There was so much focus that any black man could become the mantelpiece. By saying that, Candyman lost his face.
- There were some interesting storylines but the problem was there were too many in 2021 on top of it being about an iconic Horror character. Brianna had so many scenes dedicated to her that were not related to the main plot. We lost focus, when it’s not about Candyman, and not about Anthony, it’s about Brianna or William or any other.
- With the addition of 2021, it muddied the lore. Do you become Candyman? Are you forced to be Candyman? Further, are you forced to be Candyman by white people?
- Oti appreciated that in 1992 you chose to become Candyman’s victim. Tony Todd’s Be My Victim is becoming the soundtrack for KT’s dreams. We weren’t clear if the cop killing him is what made Anthony become Candyman.
- We had more representation in 2021 but the messaging became more linear. Anthony only saw gentrification from white people but didn’t realise he was contributing to it. This is a qualm of KT because we are at a point of specific life experience but 2021 wasn’t nuanced enough. PSA: If you are living a better life than when you were a kid, you could possibly be contributing to gentrification. It felt like pointing the finger at evil according to Oti. He wanted to see more solutions.
- Oti wanted Candyman to be the Black Panther of the Horror universe. We were in Kenya during peak Black Panther and it was a beautiful time.
- KT queries how does black cinema progress if Oti blindly loves something? He will continue straddling the line until all is fair in love and war.
Unrelated but vital points
- We love Colman Domingo in the For Your Reference household.
- We’re ready to consider rewatching Us.
- Trey Songz reference.
- Oti takes shots at BET’s Karen.
- Callout of how brilliant Hacks is!
- The God’s Honest truth shoutout.
- Tamar Braxton reference.
- KT shades Asap Rocky and his blanket.
- Oti is Kenya’s industry baby.
- We love Roy Wood Jr!