Every Hollywood rule has an exception. Prequels are notoriously transparent cash grabs, but “Bates Motel” artfully extended the “Psycho” universe.
Delayed sequels like “Zoolander 2” never match the original, but “Top Gun: Maverick,” added a surprising IMAX-sized asterisk to that old saw.
Many, nay, most woke movies aren’t worth your time. The following six titles are remarkable exceptions.
Woke focus often proves to be the enemy of creativity. The woke mindset hinders the imagination, forcing artists to eliminate plots and characters that may challenge or offend. It’s like driving in NASCAR without key members of your pit crew.
In most cases, the messaging overwhelms the story in play. Cinematic lectures leave most of us cold.
These six films, though, were successfully simultaneously woke and entertaining. Could they have been better without the hardcore progressive messaging? Certainly. It’s still important to give them their due while realizing most woke movies won’t rise to this level.
There’s a reason Jordan Peele gets so much attention for every new film he directs. His first time behind the camera yielded “Get Out,” the 2017 thriller that doubled as a treatise on systemic racism.
The film follows an interracial couple traipsing through a liberal microaggression minefield. The horror threat doubles down on that theme — progressive tolerance often masks something sinister.
In the hands of a less gifted auteur, it could have been a disaster like the 2021 “Candyman” reboot and “Antebellum,” which were woke duds. Peele refuses to follow that path, maintaining a steady sense of dread and first-rate chills.
The film’s ending shrewdly taps the brakes on the film’s woke streak, just one more praise-worthy element.
Who didn’t shout, “Wakanda Forever!” after watching the late Chadwick Boseman suit up as the title character? Director Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) put his creative stamp on one of the franchise’s most profitable, and well-received features.
The African empowerment angle is never off-screen – the far-Left Esquire dubbed it a fine example of Afrofuturism. Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger delivers a Black Lives Matter-style flourish to the film, arguing Wakanda needs to do more to help black Americans supposedly crushed under the boot of the U.S. boot.
Coogler gets to have his cultural say while adhering to MCU basics – taut action, intriguing characters and a finale dripping with CGI excess. Most of the woke bromides are forgiven thanks to “Black Panther’s” vibrant storytelling, which makes the progressive themes easier to swallow.
The 2008 film remains one of Pixar’s most overrated adventures, but it’s a solid story dripping with pre-woke sentiments. We follow a lovable droid named, what else, Wall-E, as he tries to find a new life after the Earth got trashed, literally, by its capitalistic inhabitants.
“Wall-E” debuted a full decade before the woke revolution consumed Hollywood, but it’s messaging connects directly to the cultural movement.
The film’s silent screen-style slapstick, heartfelt robot romance and visually arresting vistas make it vital and thought provoking regardless of one’s political affiliation.
This 2013 thriller inspired the TNT series of the same name and gave “Avengers” star Chris Evans a blockbuster-style character outside the MCU. It also uses a global warming treatise at its launching pad, focusing on a train that circles an icy globe after a climate change treatment goes awry.
Not enough woke messaging? Try the heavy-handed class system which rules the never-ending train ride. The commoners exist in slovenly train cars, forced to exist on slabs of black goo with the minimum nutritional ingredients. The rich, by stark comparison, live in luxurious cars and there’s no chance of social elevation.
Director Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”) knows how to deploy genre essentials, just as he previously did with the 2006 thriller “The Host.”
This Hulu original suggests the dramatic imbalances of modern dating. Men enjoy all the power, and women must struggle to survive en route to a possible Happily Ever After.
Down with the patriarchy!
That narrative plays out when a singleton (Daisy Edgar-Jones) meets a potential Mr. Right (Sebastian Stan) at the supermarket. Sparks fly, but when she agrees to go with him on an intimate vacation his true intentions emerge.
Add a dash of female empowerment and you have a woke genre entry, no doubt. Director Mimi Cave maintains a survivalist tone through most of the film, so when the woke dialogue rears up in the third act even hardcore conservatives will grin and bear it. They may even cheer.
This 2019 teen comedy should win an award for the sheer volume of woke moments. The Wokies? The Dunhams, named after uber-woke starlet Lena Dunham.
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever star as seniors who realize they squandered their high school days studying, not partying. They attempt to make up for lost time, and wacky hijinks ensue.
Certain teen comedy tropes are unavoidable.
First-time director Olivia Wilde brings a visual snap to the standard teen beats along with an oppressive sense of progressive politics. Our heroines dress like wannabe socialists – think drab gray ensembles without an ounce of style – and the script prattles on about empowerment and evil white males.
Yet the story is breezy, fun and creative enough to merit a recommendation.