Film Discussion

2018 Movie Preview… Black Panther

Black Panther is something we should all be excited about.  After seventeen films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in a world of diversity and representation, Black Panther also features an all-star black cast.  Michael B. Jordan (Creed), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Angela Bassett (American Horror Story) and Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is an impressive ensemble of acting talent.

It’s a positive, encouraging sign which has been a long time coming. Since Blade and Spawn, the representation of black superheroes on the big screen has been largely absent.  The project to bring Black Panther to the big screen, which at one-point Wesley Snipes expressed his desire to make back in 1992, has been stuck in development hell ever since.  Diversity still has a long way to go within the industry but given the financial success of the MCU, the calls for that representation have finally been realised.

Black Panther has already made a brilliant impression following his short appearance in Captain America: Civil War.  Chadwick Boseman is the perfect choice as the King of Wakanda T’Challa.  He possesses the cool wisdom and skilful attributes which are just a small flavour of what we can expect for his upcoming solo film.  So, expect plenty of action, cunning tactics and some Wakanda philosophy!

Black Panther is a unique Marvel superhero.  His abilities are enhanced to superhuman levels by a heart-shaped herb.  His suit is coated in vibranium, the same metal material used to make Captain America’s shield.  As a highly intellectual strategist and tracker, he loves to engage in unarmed combat.  Just like an actual panther when sneaking upon its prey, you will never hear his footsteps!  In Civil War he clearly sets his own boundaries, refusing to be pulled into the personal and political fight between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark over the Sokovia Accords.  The death of his father makes for a significant catalyst and T’Challa fights and stands for the truth.  He is his own master.

The positive thing about Black Panther is Marvel’s chance to depict an African culture and place of beauty with Wakanda.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been rich in showing us Earth with Captain America and Iron Man, outer space with Guardians of the Galaxy and other dimensions in Doctor Strange, to name a few examples.  Yes, Wakanda is a fictional nation but it presents a unique opportunity to show that Africa as a continent is more than just a “third world country”.  As Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) suggests in the teaser trailer, whatever you think is “all a front”.  Wakanda is one of the most technologically advanced countries on Earth.

Information about the plot is scarce and brief (for obvious reasons) but Black Panther will take place after the events of Civil War with T’Challa’s sovereignty challenged by factions within Wakanda.  His skills will be tested as he teams up with his Dora Milaje (Wakanda Special Forces) to stop the upcoming war.

Bringing this vision to life is director Ryan Coogler.  His CV might be small (Black Panther being his third film) but he is one of the most exciting up and coming directors in Hollywood right now.  His films have already gained a high reputation and critical acclaim.  His directorial debut Fruitvale Station, which starred Michael B. Jordan and was produced by Forest Whittaker, won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.  The success propelled him to direct Creed, a spin-off from the Rocky Balboa series which surpassed expectations and earned Sylvester Stallone a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

Based on that alone, Black Panther has enough ingredients to be another successful addition to the Marvel franchise and I can’t wait to see it.

Black Panther arrives in February 2018. Are you looking forward to it? Let us know!

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