Review: Black Panther

I don’t even know where to start! Often, I believe that is either the sign of a good review or a bad one but I frankly don’t know where to start but I suppose it’s best to start out with the simplest fact: Black Panther is damn good! Not perfect, but damn good.

The film starts out a week after the events of Civil War, with T’Challa picking up his on-again, off-again girlfriend Nakia on his way home to the technologically advanced and isolated nation of Wakanda, to ascend the throne. T’Challa will inherit the mantle of the chieftain and protector of his homeland, but in this film, he will also inherit the sins of his father.

One in the form of a fugitive that has eluded Wakandan capture for decades in Ulysses Klaue and the other in the form of an American black-ops soldier named Erik Stevens, whose career has dubbed him the moniker of Killmonger. Both foes present a challenge for T’Challa as he must navigate between upholding his father’s legacy and creating his own.


Image by Marvel Studios

I’ve waited a long time to see this movie but it was worth it for I truly enjoyed what I saw. Ryan Coogler has crafted a film that not only carries on the already incredible momentum that Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is riding but also a film that feels so organically original and independent from Marvel’s grand design. What’s more is that the film itself is a rock-solid foundation for what’s to come of Chadwick Boseman’s character; this is probably the first true MCU origin story I enjoyed since Iron Man!

Having said all of that, I did find that Black Panther left too many aspect of its story unresolved. Perhaps that was intentionally designed by Coogler and screenwriter Joe Robert Cole so that those unanswered questions can be answered in a future Marvel picture or in a Black Panther sequel but the fact that so many open-ended details in this story were left behind just hampered my enjoyment of the film that and that held Black Panther back just a little.

Despite a story that left its share of loose ends, this movie had everything it needed to succeed. Great direction that really gave this character and this movie a strong sense of identity and independence in this grand universe, an amazing cast spearheaded by Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, John Kani and Florence Kasumba, great visual effects, the pacing was steady, the action and humor was balanced; Black Panther is another product of the Marvel machine but it has its own unforgettable flavor.

Rachel Morrison’s cinematography is superb, Debbie Berman and Michael P. Shawver’s editing couldn’t be more on point, Ludwig Göransson’s music melded the right blend of superheroic theme with African influence and the soundtrack compiled by Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar was superb, Hannah Beachler’s production design was outstanding, the art direction was beautifully conceived, Ruth Carter’s costumes were stupendous and beautiful, I could tell that a lot of love went into the production of this picture to get this iconic character and his world exactly right and they did it! They truly did it.

Can I say this is the best film to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? No, but what I can take away is that Ryan Coogler built Black Panther a rock solid foundation to build on for future films. Hail to the king!


Movie of the Week: Black Panther

My first feature film of 2017 is a movie about a man, who happens to be a genius, who happens to be a warrior, who happens to be an animal, who happens to be a protector, who happens to be a king, who happens to be a hero, who happens to be an Avenger! In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa returns home to Wakanda to carry on his father’s legacy as leader of his people but forces inside and out of Wakanda threaten the peace and the future that T’Challa and his late father believed in. Black Panther is ready to rock the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I am giddy with anticipation!

Director: Ryan Coogler

Written by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Florence Kasumba and John Kani

What am I expecting to see?: As someone who has been following the production and anticipation of this movie, I can just feel that I am going to love everything this movie has to offer! I expect to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to fire on all cylinders with another rousing, action-packed superhero adventure but with an origin story about a character who will play a major role in what’s to come for Marvel films going forward. Black Panther will be the first film I will review in 2018 and I for one hope that 2018 starts with a booming bang!

Movie of the Week: Wonder Woman

For too long, the fight against the forces of evil has been spearheaded by men. The greatest heroes who have fought for humanity against foes driven to bring hurt and pain to the innocent are great men, but still men. The time has come for a woman to rise against those who would do harm to those who cannot protect themselves. It is time. It is her time! The Princess of Themiscyra, with shield on one arm, a sword in her hand, and a mystic lasso at her hip will rise to bring an end to the war that will end all wars. Diana’s crusade for justice is only the beginning of a journey that will place her in a league of her own. This is the story of a new age of heroism. This is the tale of Wonder Woman.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Written by: Allan Heinberg

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Florence Kasumba, Ewen Bremmer, and Saïd Taghmaoui.

What am I expecting to see?: The last three films produced from the DCEU have underwhelmed to say the least, especially the films that flew under Warner Bros. and DC Comics from last year, so Wonder Woman is going in with an advantage of a low-bar already set. In the limited time we’ve seen her in the role already, Gal Gadot has done enough to sell audiences on her as Wonder Woman and now that she has this feature film to elevate herself, I’m hoping that she has clout to seize this initiative of being a powerhouse film hero in her own right.

God Bless Comic Con! Why? TRAILERS!!!

I just knew that I would be blogging something today. Didn’t know how, but I knew. At first I thought I would throw up a surprise review on Star Trek Beyond, which IMO wasn’t all that; I’m not a Trekkie, I fail to see the appeal in Star Trek but I’m being honest, fans of the franchise will get a kick out of Justin Lin’s addition to the franchise and its attempt to appease its audience with classic nostalgic tones but for those non-Trekkies like myself: meh.

In case it hasn’t dawned on you: San Diego Comic Con is underway. It is in this time where fellow nerds, pop-culture enthusiasts, comic-lovers, practically people I can get along with confluence together to ooh and ahh all of the new grounds being broken in the worlds of comics, video games, television, films in the coming weeks, months or years even. You can always count on Comic Con to deliver something to wet your pop-culture appetite. While I was distracted by Star Trek Beyond, I returned home to catch up on what I’ve missed and I have missed much!

Kong: Skull Island

When Godzilla roared his mighty roar, someone at Warner Bros. and Legendary must have realized that this could be the beginning of something truly extraordinary but the creatures Godzilla faced did not pose enough of a challenge for the giant! Who could possibly stand against such a foe? The answer: KONG! An expedition led by Captain James Conrad, takes a team of explorers onto an island laden with danger and reigning over this treacherous-loaded-paradise is a creature who has existed long before the time of man but formidable and fearsome enough to hold dominion over his world and he won’t bow before anyone who dares stand in his way! Behold the trailer for Kong: Skull Island!

Kong: Skull Island is written by Max Borenstein, Derek Connelly, John Gatins and Dan Gilroy and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell. Kong becomes King on March , 2017.

Doctor Strange

Just when I FINALLY calmed from seeing that ridiculously trippy trailer from Doctor Strange, they set this on us! I’m not complaining it looks spellbinding all the same! BY THE EYE OF AGAMOTTO ENCHANT US!

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg and Scott Adkins, Doctor Strange is written by Jon Spaiths, directed by Scott Derrickson and will land in theaters by November 4, 2016. WOW!

The LEGO Batman Movie

I confess, I regret not giving The LEGO Movie a chance while it was in theaters. It did prove to be quite the delightful adventure. The film went on to enjoy a LOT of success in 2014, and in typical Hollywood fashion success usually equals sequels or spinoffs and in The LEGO Movie’s case, both. While the sequel is a ways off, a spinoff starring one of the films most popular characters is completely put together and fans are eagerly awaiting for the unveiling of The LEGO Batman Movie.

Chris McKay is the director guy in charge of assembly, who co-wrote the film with Seth Grahame-Smith and Eric Sommers, with the assistance of Jared Stern and John Whittington. Will Arnett will lend his voice to Batman, and rounding out the cast is Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Zack Galifianakis and Mariah Carey. The LEGO Batman Movie will hit theaters with excellent reflexes on February 10, 2017.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Harry Potter’s magical age has come and gone but renowned literary genius J.K. Rowling has started a new story about a new magical hero. Famous magizoologist Newt Scamander’s arrival in 1950s New York City has coincided with strange happenings within the American wizarding community and these bizarre events have involved some form of magical beast or two. Scamander must put his expertise to the test to remedy the problem before the fallout falls onto the non-magical population. This is the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by J.K. Rowling, directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton. A new age of magic begins on November 18, 2016.

Wonder Woman

One can say she made her long-awaited debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, many can argue that she stole the show in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either way, whether you liked Batman v. Superman or not-I didn’t-Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was a revelation and a statement; badass heroes don’t have to be men. Before she stepped back into the light in that intense battle, she had a story and this trailer is a preview of said story about how Princess Diana of Thymiscara set foot onto the world of men, guided by Steve Trevor.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and written for the screen by Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg, Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui and Florence Kasumba. Wonder Woman rides into battle June 2, 2017.

 Justice League

Perhaps no movie will be under no greater scrutiny than the follow-up to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Judging by this trailer, Justice League is saying and doing all of the right things but trailers have been deceiving before. Essentially, Batman is recruiting a team of meta-humans including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. This team of extraordinary individuals with great power will combat a coming threat. Justice League is coming together.

Zack Snyder directs, Chris Terrio contributes the screenplay for this superhero ensemble piece starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, Jeremy Irons and Henry Cavill. Justice League bows into theaters on November 17, 2017.

I have never attended Comic Con before but one day I hope to go and be a part of so much nerdgasmic excitement! Any more trailers come out, I’ll bring them here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and GOD BLESS COMIC CON!