Black Panther Teaser Trailer Reaction

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Celebrating Black Superheroes – Black Panther 

King T’Challa of Wakanda is also known as Black Panther. This is a man who wears many different hats. He is one of the smartest men in the world. Superhero. King. I first became familiar with the character sometime in the 90’s when he appeared on the Fantastic Four cartoon (voiced by Keith David). I then really became familiar with him during the early 2000’s and Christopher Priest’s seminal writing stint on the character. Priest chose an interesting route with the character as even though he was the main character, the book was told through another character’s perspective. Black Panther was reimagined as a calculating figure that not even the reader was supposed to know what he was thinking. This carried over into Geoff Johns’ stint writing The Avengers. Black Panther was treated with some unease from other Avengers particularly Iron Man due to the revelation that Panther only joined The Avengers to spy on them. However an attack on American soil from The Red Skull, a super Nazi, Black Panther is one of the few to oppose him. 
These stints showed the many sides of T’Challa. His science skills came to the forefront as he isnine to help develop a vaccine for Red Skull’s attack. How he is one of the greatest fighters in Marvel as the only way to develop a vaccine which was derived from Red Skull’s blood. His somewhat aloof and calculating demeanor proved useful when enemies would attack but it wasn’t appreciated by some of his comrades. But thay gave way to also show an honorable and loyal side to the people he has fought side by side for years. This no doubt stemmed from his Wakandan heritage. The kingdom known for its xenophobia which kept it safe for generations but led to mistrust within the world communities and finally came to a head with the dead of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka. 

T’Challa is one of the most interesting characters in comics as he is a man pulled in a myriad of directions. Many people have compared him to Batman and while there are similarities, keen intellect and paranoia, that is a disservice to The King of Wakanda. There are few characters where you can say they are the King of one of the most advanced civilizations while also being one of the world’s greatest superheroes. That one moment can be making power plays with world leaders and then the next facing down Galactus. 

The popularity of the character has grown exponentially since the 2000’s. One of the main members of the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon and making his live action debut in Captain America: Civil War. His solo movie is set to debut in February 2018 and the character is expected to play a major part in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel. The character also has his own solo series in the comics while being part of ensembles such as The Ultimates. 

It is a good time for The King of Wakanda. 

Thoughts About Avengers: Infinity War

As of the events of Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers are no more. At least not in the way that we’ve gotten to know them in three movies. Captain America and the heroes who stood by him are now fugitives. Iron Man is in charge of The Avengers now with only The Vision by his side. War Machine is crippled, though there is a strong possibility that he can probably still function a suit. Spider-Man is something of a question mark as even though Iron Man was very pro registering, he still enlisted a teenage hero who clearly did not register. Black Widow is in the wind. The Hulk and Thor are dealing with more important things in outer space. So where does that leave the heroes when Thanos inevitably comes? How do the Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Captain Marvel fit into this?

There is no doubt that the heroes will reunite by the time of the sequel of Infinity War. But what about the events in Infinity War? We know that Thanos has finally gotten off of his chair and is about to get the Infintiy Stones. There are many more movies by the time Infinity War comes around so even though Thanos is not announced as appearing in any movies until Infinity War, there is no doubt in my mind that Thanos will appear before then. I mean it’s not too hard to get Josh Brolin, the actor who plays Thanos, to come in for a day or two to do motion capture for the character and just plug Thanos into a movie. But that’s something I’ve talked about lately. 

Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel are going to be a masterclass in filmmaking. There are a lot of balls in the air and one mistake could mess up the whole thing. It not only has to acknowledge everything that has come before. It also has to set up the movies that come out after and in between its sequel. The Russo Brothers only had about a dozen characters to deal with in Captain America: Civil War. They have said they will be dealing with about four or five times more than that with these two films. One cannot envy their position. Maybe you do because this is something that is unprecedented and are breaking new ground. We will all know in May 2018.

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‘Black Panther’ Cast Revealed and It’s Excellent

The main cast of Marvel Studios’ upcoming Black Panther has been revealed. Of course we all knew that Chadwick Boseman would be reprising his role as T’Challa/Black Panther. We also knew that Michael B. Jordan had a role in the movie but it was never officially confirmed and the role was unrevealed. There were rumors about Lupita Nyong’o being cast but that was all rumor. Well it turned out to all be true with the addition of Danai Gurira to round out the four main cast members. Their roles in the movie were also revealed.

Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger. One of Black Panther’s longest lasting foes. Killmonger is traditionally an exile of Wakanda with a serious grudge against T’Challa. The one who abandoned him. 

Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira will be playing Nakai and Okoye, respectively. They are members of the Dora Milaje, which are the high ranking security team of Wakanda. This team is exclusively all women at that. They are important members of Black Panther mythology so it is nice to see Marvel Studios not shying away from this. There was a member shown in Captain America: Civil War but not much attention was given to it.

This will be a very important going forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also superhero movies in general. This will be the first mainstream movie with a primarily non white cast. It is also one of the first mainstream superhero movies to be directed by an African American in Ryan Coogler. It is good to see they are starting with a strong base of critically acclaimed actors. We will see how the rest of the cast expands out. 

Black Panther will be released in theaters on February 16, 2018.

Post Civil War – Black Panther

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SPOILERS AHEAD

After Captain America: Civil War the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a completely different landscape. Going forward it is clear that T’Challa aka Black Panther is being poised as a major player in the future to come. By the end of movie, T’Challa has returned to his home country of Wakanda, now as the king. However he has not returned alone but is instead harboring fugitives James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes aka The Winter Soldier and possibly Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Believing his father was killed by the former HYDRA assassin and hunting him throughout, he learned the truth by the end and wants to make amends for his part in the cycle of revenge that was going on in the movie. Now he is looking for a way to cure Barnes of his mind tampering. Rogers even warns him that if and when word gets out that T’Challa is harboring Barnes then forces will come after him. T’Challa simply says, “They will try.”

This leaves Black Panther in a precarious state with many questions attached to him now. Is he harboring all of the Avengers who were anti registration? The beginning of the movie had a conversation with his father and Black Widow where it was said that he is not much of a politician. He seemed to be in favor of the registration but not exactly the politics behind it. This falls in line with the stance that Steve Rogers had throughout the film. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that he is giving sanctuary to the Avengers who are now considered fugitives. He was only helping Stark because it fell in line with his agenda to capture Bucky. He was very cordial and seemed to have a respect/admiration for Captain America in their first conversation.

What sort of forces will be coming after the new King of Wakanda? In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ulysses Klaue was introduced. The two characters have a very bad history in the comics as Klaw (as he is known in the comics) was the one who actually killed T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father. In the movie Klaue was someone who had a history with the people of Wakanda, even being literally branded a thief because of his theft of a large amount of vibranium. Supplemental materials for the movie revealed that his family lineage has crossed path with T’Challa’s lineage as well. Will this carry over into the Black Panther solo movie? It was due to his Klaue’s theft that brought Wakanda out of hiding and more into the spotlight. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Klaue felt that this new shakeup would be an ample opportunity to strike. There may be other forces as well as Helmut Zemo who was the main villain of Captain America: Civil War is still out there and was the one who actually killed T’Chaka and T’Challa stopped him from killing himself. There may also be other forces who may come for Bucky as the history of the former assassin is still shrouded in mystery and he may have a lot of enemies or opportunists.

All that can be known for sure is that the future of The King of Wakanda is going to be one filled with strife. Will he be able to handle the pressure that comes with being a king? It is clear that he is not going to be the same king that his father was. There are also the case of his superheroics as he is now intimately involved with the Avengers. Will Black Panther be the one to unite the the fractured Avengers? There are many questions that come with the future of Black Panther. The answers will all certainly be exciting.

Ranking The 12 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies

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12. Thor: The Dark World

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My biggest issue with this movie is a lack of clear direction. The tones of this movie are all over the place as there will be a very serious moment and then a sudden burst of comedy that mostly falls flat. Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman are certainly phoning in their performances. The villain is forgettable. The only saving grace is the relationship between Thor and Loki.

11. Iron Man 2

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The sequel to the unexpected hit that was Iron Man but instead of hitting the ground running with this one, it hits the ground stumbling. The movie was rushed into production as returning director Jon Favreau wanted more time and one can tell. The film has to serve too many masters and it is the films undoing. On one hand it has to be a sequel to Iron Man which it fails with but also has to set up the concept of the Avengers which it also fails at. Tony Stark is also very unlikable in the film as he has gotten worse from his first appearance and there is little character development.

10. Iron Man 3

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There is definitely nothing wrong with this film. It is certainly an improvement over Iron Man 2. However that is faint praise. It is the first film to happen post Avengers and supposedly throughout the film Tony Stark is suffering from some sort of PTSD. However, besides a few panic attacks, it is treated mostly as an afterthought and it is seemingly cured from a few words from a child. Once again the villain is lackluster as there are twists to the villain that think it’s more clever than it actually is. What is probably a bigger problem is that the film could have been wrapped up within the first 40 minutes.

9. Ant-Man

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This film is good but not great. It is a solid film. The film is basically a retread of the first Iron Man film which is a detriment. The main thing that elevates it though is its main character played by Paul Rudd. Rudd’s excitement of being in the movie carries over which helps cover its basic plot and once again another lackluster villain. There are interesting action scenes which come with the fact that the main character has the ability to shrink. The best thing about the movie is the potential for more as you can see where they can go with a sequel.

8. Thor

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The first Thor film had the biggest challenge of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film at that point. It had to introduce the Asgardians who are some sort of alien gods and link them to the rest of the MCU. It is backed by a likable lead of Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor as a somewhat spoiled and ego driven prince who has to learn humility. He is backed by the Tom Hiddleston as his conniving brother Loki who has very understandable but twisted reasons for his actions. The rest of the supporting cast is all likable and there is a sense of wonder that comes with Asgard and exploring other worlds.

7. The Incredible Hulk

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THE INCREDIBLE HULK, 2008, (c) Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

The redheaded stepchild of the MCU. Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk in this film which was the second MCU film. It has a unique tone as it is very much a ‘Fugitive’ type of film. Banner is on the run as he thinks of himself as a monster and with good reason but he is being pursued by people who are bigger monsters than he will ever be. This film would certainly rank higher as it does leave something to be desired. There are many deleted scenes which if weren’t cut would have fleshed out the movie more. It is unfortunate Norton did not continue to play the character but the show must go on.

6. Iron Man

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The first film in the MCU that set the tone for the films to come. Robert Downey Jr. shines as Tony Stark/Iron Man. The director Jon Favreau does an impressive job with a character that was obscure and launched the character and the universes into the stratosphere. The supporting cast is also excellent. The biggest issue with the film is the sudden shift in the third act where the villain goes from subtle to complete insane with no clear plan and an underwhelming final action scene. However, the strong first two acts more than make up for the faults.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

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Arguably the biggest risk of the MCU. This film took a property that was even unfamiliar to most comic book fans. That is probably where the film prospers the most as it works from a blank slate, more or less. A common reoccurring issue is the villain are lackluster and Ronan the Accuser is no exception. However the stellar cast and chemistry help smooth over some of the rougher edges in the movie. It is also very subtly a very important factor in setting up the MCU mythology.

4. Captain America: The First Avenger

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The film that introduces Captain America to the MCU takes a step back into the past of World War 2. The main thing with this film is introducing the future leader of the Avengers and explaining as to why he will be. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers shines as he goes from a sickly underdeveloped man to the peak of human perfection but that is not what makes him special. How small beginnings helped shape a hero and though he may come from a “simpler”time, there is nothing simple about him. Special mention goes to Hugh Weaving as The Red Skull who is probably one of the only standout villains that is not named Loki.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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The sequel to the first Avengers film is a solid film. The biggest thing that keeps it from being up to par with the first film is that it is more of the same. The action is better than the first but there are certain things that hamper the film. The humor in the film is very off as so many characters are filled with quips as no character really has a distinct voice. The main villain Ultron is filled with potential but comes off as all over the place and never really scary or intimidating. One of the highlights is The Vision played by Paul Bettany. There is an interesting conversation between the character and Ultron towards the end of the film that is very poignant and unexpected in a summer blockbuster.

2. The Avengers

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The conclusion to the unprecedented buildup in the MCU. After five solo films; Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow come together under Nick Fury to form The Avengers. It also features the return of Loki who is the main villain but there is a bigger bad in the background with huge implications for the films following this one. What makes this film work is putting all of the characters who have never met one another and seeing how they mix and don’t mix together. The plot is thin but one thing that keeps the film going is how fun it is. Nothing will ever top the feeling of seeing all of these heroes together for the first time.

  1. Captain America: The Winter Solider

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Arguably the best movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film firmly solidifies Captain America as the focal point within the universe. Showing that a character who many consider to be a “goody two shoes” and “out of time” still has plenty to say and do within the modern era. This film has had the biggest repercussions within the MCU but even though it is an action film, it is still all about the characters. Chris Evans shines and carries the film and finds his footing as Steve Rogers. It is worthy to note that the legendary Robert Redford plays the a major role in the film which only helps to solidify that this is not just some superhero film. This is one of the true triumphs within the superhero genre.

 

Ryan Coogler Is Directing “Black Panther” and It’s A Great Thing

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In 2018, Marvel Studios will release “Black Panther” the studio’s first feature film to feature a non white actor. There have been many rumors as to who might be directing the film. There were talks about Ava DuVernay, director of the critically acclaimed “Selma” directing the film. She eventually pulled out due to what she felt were creative differences. Then there were talks about F. Gary Gray directing the film. Gray was in the running to direct, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” but pulled out so that he could focus on “Straight Outta Compton”. Once that film was released and was a critical and commercial success, his name shot straight to the top of people’s list to direct “Black Panther”. He also made a lot more sense as he was proven to be able to handle big studio projects before and was not new to an action movie. Eventually he was taken off of the list once he decided to direct the next entry in the “Fast & Furious” franchise.

It was clear that Marvel Studios was looking for a black director to helm this film. The studio was coming under much criticism for its lack of diversity, both in front of the camera and behind it as well. Many people would call foul for the studio hiring a white director for the film. Finally in late 2015, the movie “Creed” was released. The film was critically and commercially acclaimed. The director of the film, Ryan Coogler, quickly shot up on the list of choices to direct the “Black Panther” feature film.

Coogler has only two major feature films under his belt. The small film, “Fruitvale Station” based on the real life story of Oscar Grant and chronicles his final day before his untimely death. The film was critically acclaimed and earned a great deal of money considering it’s very small budget. His next film was, “Creed”, which is the latest installment in the “Rocky” movie franchise. “Creed” is a unique film as it is a something of a spin-off and sequel to the movies in the franchise and something of a remake to the very first “Rocky” movie.  The film was a rousing success and in January of 2016, Marvel Studios officially announced Coogler as the director of their “Black Panther” feature film.

This is a triumph on many different sorts. This is not simply a diversity hire just to have a diversity hire. Coogler has proven that he is a talent. Both of his films have been introspective and character oriented, which helps leads to its acclaim as they are not shallow films. Part of the success of “Creed” was not only did it introduce a new character in the “Rocky” franchise but also showed a new side to the character of Rocky himself, which has led Sylver Stallone being nominated for numerous awards for his performance in the film. Coogler jumping into the franchise also showed that he can work within a studio and have numerous eyes on him, yet still be able to do his own thing. He has also shown that he can go from a tiny budget to a mid sized budget and his next film will be a large budget film and is a natural growth. Both films also feature predominantly non white casts, which is something that is essential considering “Black Panther” is the prince/king of an African nation.

Marvel Studios certainly scored with snagging Ryan Coogler to direct “Black Panther”. He is a director that could have chosen any project to do next, including a sequel to “Creed”, but instead chose to direct this film. No one knows how the film will turn out. However, with talent such as Coogler at the helm, one can expect an interesting take on Marvel’s first film featuring a person of color. February 16, 2018 is when “Black Panther” will be released into theaters and one expects great things from the Ryan Coogler directed film.

Why I’m Excited For Captain America: Civil War

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If you had told me in 2011, that Captain America would be my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would say you’re crazy. Come 2016, Captain America is my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Univse. This all stems from a combination of many different factors but ultimately it comes down to great storytelling and a great actor in the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America.

In 2011, Captain America was featured in his first solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It detailed his origin of a sickly youth who wants to do the right thing so much that he is willing to go to a potential lethal length to be able to achieve it. It is easy to peg Captain America as something of a stereotype but this movie showed that there is much more to the character. The ending firmly brings him into the present day which leads into his next appearance.

In 2012, Captain America returned to the silver screen in The Avengers. This was meant to show how Captain America fits into the modern age. Since in-story, his character has only been around in the modern day for about a few weeks, it shows that while there is still some clashing that he may not be able to fully acclimate to, he doesn’t completely stick out like a sore thumb. It also went to show that his “do good” nature is exactly what the team needs with the team consisting of various forms of cynics and outsiders and while some people, mainly Tony Stark/Iron Man, don’t exactly like him, they will like listen to him.

In 2014, Captain America’s second solo movie, “The Winter Soldier”, was released. In-story it has been two years since his appearance in The Avengers and it shows that he has acclimated to modern day as best as he can and has been keeping busy as SHIELD’s best soldier. However, his honest nature is beginning to clash with the shady politics of the era are starting to chafe and the appearance of the mysterious Winter Soldier, who is a link to Cap’s past take its toll.

This was the movie that completely changed my opinion on Captain America as a character and made him my favorite character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was growing weary of the films within the Universe but this one upped the ante and is my favorite within the franchise. This was due to show why a character why Captain America is needed within dark times with his steady nature. That he wasn’t just a blind soldier who followed orders but someone who believed in what America stood for but not its politics. The film also detailed his relationships with The Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Nick Fury, The Falcon and others.

In 2015, Captain America appeared in the sequel to The Avengers, dubbed “Age of Ultron”. This movie continued the trend set by, “The Winter Soldier” as Cap continued his nature as he was once again someone who continued to do what he felt was right despite what others, Tony Stark specifically, otherwise thought. The movie also hinted that since Steve Rogers’ whole existence as Captain America, was to serve and fight, he might actually feel uncomfortable during peace time and that he might have developed something of a thirst for fighting. The movie ends on an ambiguous nature regarding where he stands as he claims he has found his home with The Avengers but earlier scenes suggest that it’s a distraction.

So in 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” will be released and it is the third Captain America solo movie but is one that features the rest of the Avengers and at the heart of the movie is the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. The trailers flat out say that Captain America is not down with working for the government as has been shown in, “The Winter Soldier” and “Age of Ultron” after another international incident, the first one being in Age of Ultron, puts them in the sights of registration. The incident also involves his friend turned brainwashed turned somewhat recovered best friend, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. Iron Man being the opposing the side.

While it is easy to anticipate this movie because it features The Avengers, Captain America is at the center of the movie and as he should be. The trailer really makes it known that while there are many other heroes, he is the center of it all with his relationships to the others driving the plot of the movie. I can say that Steve Rogers/Captain America has gone through an interesting character arc throughout all of the films that will carry into his third solo film.