Black Panther is going to be the best Marvel movie to date when it comes out in 2018. Is that an outlandish thing to say? I don’t think so. Let’s step back for a moment and examine the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What was it built around? Who was/is the central character in the MCU? Who was a key contributor in Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War? This isn’t a hard question to answer. It’s our favorite billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, Tony Stark. From day one, Marvel decided to take a chance on him. They decided to venture on a new route when it comes to superhero film. Humor was the flavor of the day. Iron Man was a fantastic film, no doubt. The origin of Tony Stark was brilliant. The narrative was definitely interesting. We got a chance to see the beginning of a great character. An annoying one, but a critical one to Marvel’s success. Now though, we’re eight years into the MCU. I have more excitement now for the universe than I did before, but some people do have MCU fatigue. And that’s understandable. The “Iron Man Formula” can’t be successful forever. Well, let me rephrase. This formula can be successful forever, but only with people who aren’t hardcore comic fans. True comic fans want to mix it up every once in a while. Whether it be with drama, romance, suspense, or intense action, comic fans can’t get by on humor forever.
Now I’m definitely one of those people that consider Civil War one of the best comic book films ever. The story, the humor, the action, almost everything was perfect. My gripes with the film are in my Civil War Comic/Movie Comparison. (https://heroreviewsandnews.com/2016/05/31/civil-war-comicmovie-comparison/)
Although I do firmly believe that someone should have died in that film, after watching the movie again, I realize the significance of the film. The Avengers are no more. Steve Rogers isn’t Captain America anymore. When’s the next time this team will all be together? Civil War ended an era for the Avengers. Even though Iron Man will be in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel has a chance to usher in a new era of superhero film now that Civil War has happened. Will that new era start with Doctor Strange? I’m not sure. Spider-Man: Homecoming? Not really. That’s mainly because I expect to laugh about 50 times during the course of that film. Guardians 2? Once again, I’m expecting tons of humor. Thor: Ragnarok? I’m not sure on that one. The first two Thor movies have been in the bottom of the MCU to me. I’m not excited for that film at all. 2018 is the chance for Marvel to do something extraordinary. If people don’t have MCU fatigue now, they definitely will come 2018. That’s why Black Panther will shine so bright. It has the chance to refocus the MCU right before Infinity War.
The main reason Black Panther will be great is the character himself. Compared to Tony Stark, T’Challa is the direct opposite. He’s a serious man who lives in a serious country. He has a duty to his people of Wakanda. They come first. Everything else is secondary. Wakanda is also the most advanced country in the Marvel Universe. That makes it a target as well. T’Challa knows this. He understands the threats the outside world poses to his people. He doesn’t have time for jokes, but that doesn’t make him boring. T’Challa is smooth. He’s Batman combined with James Bond. He knows how to talk to his fellow heroes, his villains, and even women. He’s one of the most well-rounded men in Marvel. His scenes in Civil War showed that and then some. The moment in the film where he talks to Cap in the van showed his ruthless side. Falcon was joking with him, but T’Challa didn’t even acknowledge it. He doesn’t give a damn about what Falcon has to say. He doesn’t let anything distract him from the goal at hand. Later though, we see the evolution of Black Panther. Zemo killed Wakanda’s King. Most, if not all of his people wouldn’t bat an eye if T’Challa killed Zemo. It would be the right thing to do. However, he realizes that throughout the course of the movie, he’s been fueled by nothing but vengeance. And we know from the Nolan trilogy, justice and vengeance are not the same thing. As he says this, you can see the pain on his face. Maybe T’Challa thought about his father? A lesson his father taught him about anger? Who knows, but his first act as king is to spare the man who murdered his father. A controversial one, but it was the choice that needed to be made. This type of character is a special one, and one we haven’t seen yet in the MCU.
Go ahead and throw Chadwick Boseman on that list for reasons this movie will be great. Probably my favorite actor working today. There are only three other characters in my mind who have been perfectly cast in their roles in the MCU. Tom Holland as Spidey, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. By perfectly cast, I mean these guys to me are spitting images of what I hear/see when I read the comic books. Everyone in the MCU has been great though. Chadwick Boseman looks just like T’Challa. He has that charisma and that lean body type. The man has played Jackie Robinson and James Brown for goodness sake, he’s used to playing black culture icons. He’ll definitely bring the right amount of attitude as the King of Wakanda.
I don’t know many directors. Well, that’s a lie, I do, but I don’t follow directors too much. I don’t really care who’s directing a movie most of the time when I sit down to watch it. Superhero movies are a bit different though. Certain directors have specific looks to their films. Snyder and Nolan are two that come to mind instantly. The director is the one who is tasked with making it all come together. The script, the actors, the effects, everything. A good director on superhero film can elevate a film from good too great. James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy is a perfect example. Don’t know if anyone else can make that concept work as well as Gunn did. Anyway, Marvel has a stud on the Black Panther movie. Ryan Coogler is the director, and if you haven’t seen Fruitvale Station or Creed, please do so. They are both excellent movies. Coogler is young, hungry, and innovative. That’s three traits that will help Black Panther tremendously. Coogler is going to modernize Wakanda, but at the same time, keep it true to African heritage. I totally see them filming some of it in Africa. The action scenes will be shot well, the tone will be consistent throughout, and Coogler is huge on character development. T’Challa is a young king in the MCU. Coogler is going to have all sorts of fun with an “origin” story to test the limits of Black Panther’s character.
The last reason Black Panther is going to be the greatest Marvel movie of all time is the meaning behind the film. Marvel has proven to me that they are all in when it comes to this word known as “diversity.” Luke Cage gets his chance to shine in less than a week. Jessica Jones and Captain Marvel are a top Marvel’s list as two awesome, badass females. In the comics, Miles Morales is Spider-Man, and a pretty good one. Let’s not forget that the Iron Man will be black female RIri Williams this October. I can’t contain my excitement for the future of black people in comics. I’ve stated this before and with every day it gains more truth. Racist, comic conservatives better get in line or get lost, because this isn’t going anywhere. Black Panther is expected to come out in February 2018. There have been movies like Blade and Hancock which feature black men, but this is something different. The amount of marketing Marvel will pump into this movie is going to be insane. Why not have their best black superhero (arguably) make his solo movie debut during a month where we celebrate black culture? The buzz will be insane. People who have NEVER read a comic book are going to see this film. People who have never seen a MCU film are going to see this movie. And let’s not forget the impact Black Panther will have on kids. It’s going to be an epic day.
All of these factors smell like success to me. A complete deviation from the same old formula, a complex character, dynamic director and cast, and the cultural impact it will have on black people all stand out to me. I think this movie will explore some powerful themes. Role of government, revolution, monarchy vs. democracy, friendship, loyalty, and so many others come to my mind when I think of this film. Seeing the Dora Milaje (his royal bodyguards) will be special as well. They didn’t cast some girl who you have to look at multiple times and question whether she is black or not. They have beautiful, dark women in this movie. I might be hyping the mess out of this movie, but I think it’s for good reason. The only way this movie suffers is if it centers around one of the last infinity stones. I’m hoping they’re in Doctor Strange and Thor 3. Maybe Guardians Vol. 2, but that’s unlikely. This movie needs to stand alone. Black Panther is a great member of the Avengers, but he’s his own man first. At the end of the day though, I’m expecting this movie to surpass Spider-Man 2, Days of Future Past, Civil War, Winter Soldier, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, and Guardians. It may even get some Oscar attention. All we can do now is wait.