Who’s surprised that New Republic critic Armond White, the most reflexively contrarian critic around, has gone after Black Panther, calling it an “overhyped race fantasy”? But I have to say in all fairness that he’s not sounding all that reflexive this time, and could even be accused of being perceptive.

Give it a read-through and tell me White is completely or even largely wrong.

White begins by stating that “the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing” — yep, that it does.

Favorite passage: “T’Challa’s superpowers, tight-fitting Panther outfit, and Shangri-La-style homeland (transferring the fabled El Dorado from the Western Hemisphere to Africa) distort actual history and anthropology the same way that TV, comic books, video games, and movies have supplanted traditional education and learning.

“Utopian Wakanda, hidden behind clouds and mountains away from European colonizers, resembles the faux-naïve heaven of the 1936 negro musical Green Pastures. But the old-timey Christianity in that film is now replaced by faux-naïve Afrocentricity, including clichéd tribal customs (T’Challa must fight challengers to his throne).

“During the radicalized 1960s, Green Pastures’ stereotypes were considered an outrage. Black Panther would seem similarly fake if people weren’t falling for it without question.

Black Panther offers no mystical alternative to racism’s threat, or the helplessness engendered by the tragedy of slavery (the original sin of removing Africans from their real and imagined roots). Instead, the movie offers a panacea, a comic-book fantasy of black empowerment that exchanges the actual history of the ’60s Black Panthers for a superficial commercial remedy.

“Rather than any account of that hopeful, aggrieved, inspiring, yet violent and always controversial social-activist group, we get the story of a monarchy.

Black Panther is a Diaspora tale in reverse. Its homecoming plot — in which T’Challa’s sovereignty is challenged by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) — pits one uprooted black against another. Rather than a battle of ideologies, like Booker T. Washington vs. W. E. B. DuBois, it plays out director-writer Ryan Coogler’s own inner conflict between his politically conscious upbringing in Oakland, Calif. (where the story is first set) and his desire to join the Hollywood mainstream.”