There’s no doubt Straight Outta Compton is relevant to our current social moment, and no question its success indicates something important. The film is a biopic on recognizable black tastemakers that chronicles not only a significant contribution to the cultural landscape, but also highlights the injustices often suffered by a group at the hands of a corrupt system. It’s a conversation we need to be having, and one illustrated clearly as a subplot to NWA’s story.
There are moments of strong pathos in Straight Outta Compton, and with the audience it’s reaching, we can’t discount the possible impact of those situations. And yes, it’s good to see a film with a mostly black cast reign at the box office. And yes, it’s important to send a message to Hollywood about the voices audiences want to see represented. And as a whole, Straight Outta Compton is a smartly cast, very structured example of a conventional filmmaking. But here’s the thing: for all the fuss – positive and negative (yes, the film’s treatment of women is abysmal) – the film is ultimately just another overcooked, too long, selectively edited Hollywood biopic with a sense of vague hero worship and a focus on too much, too fast.