Category Archives: Review

Black Panther Movie Review

Black Panther Movie Review

Black Panther movie review

Black Panther is not your ordinary Marvel Comics film.  It has begun a cultural movement all its own.  As a black man, I can’t remember the last time a movie with a black director and a predominately all black cast has made such a splash in the mainstream cultural consciousness in such a positive way.  It’s so amazing to see all these young black kids (and adults) coming out and supporting this movie, its cast and director Ryan Coogler.  It’s an astonishing and humbling site to see.

Is it a good movie though?  I’m not going to let my blackness get in the way of looking at this film with a critical eye…. but the answer is yes.  So lets talk about it.

The general plot of the movie is that Wakanda is an isolationist nation that has never been conquered or colonized by an outsider.  This due to the mountain sized vibranium deposit that was left when a meteor crashed in Africa millions of years ago.  The vibranium powers all of their technology.  Everything from medicine and transportation to the weapons of war and self defense.  As a nation that is entirely self sufficient, they are also loathe to lend aid to others.  A similar analogy would be like feeding the birds at the park.  It starts with just one, but before you know it, you have a whole flock at your feet.

— Read More: Black Panther: Where is Wakanda?

This movie takes place after the events of Captain America 3: Civil War where King T’Chaka was killed by an explosion leaving young T’Challa in charge of a nation. Wakanda and its new king T’Challa, played exceptionally by Chadwick Boseman, want to protect their isolationist way of life from Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.

Killmonger feels like Wakanda is hoarding its technology and wants to use Wakandan advanced weapons and technology to wage war on the rest of the world.  Particularly those who he feels are currently oppressing peoples of color be it local police on up to governments.

— Read More: Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?

The movie is beautifully shot with epic sweeping cinematography.  Wakanda is fleshed out with vibrant bustling streets, techno-organic skyscrapers, kids rushing off to school, young people jubilantly carousing about in cafes, waiting for sky car taxis, cooking street food and generally going about their business.  It’s definitely the most life like city in all of the Marvel Universe.

And the costumes.  Oh my god, the costumes. Ruth E. Carter, costume designer completely nails the afro-futurism look by blending the history and traditions of tribes from all over Africa. With 30 years of movie experience and two Oscar nominations for her work (on Malcolm X and Amistad), Carter understood the role clothing would play in shaping the film’s world. “Wakandans are serious about fashion,” Carter via said  The Atlantic, of the inhabitants of Black Panther’s tech-forward, eco-conscious, never-before-colonized country. Her vision for Wakandan dress draws from traditional and contemporary African fashion. Sartorial cues help viewers understand the social geography of a fictional place—its political ideologies, cultural norms, etiquette. It’s easier to convey these unspoken elements when a film is set in a space and time the audience already has some reference for. For example, American viewers can read the message of a certain dress or hairstyle in, say, 1960s Alabama, which worked in Carter’s favor when she was designing the costumes for Selma.

(https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/02/why-fashion-is-key-to-understanding-the-world-of-black-panther/553157/)

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The impressive score is crafted by Ludwig Goransson.  The score is as textured and layered like the costumes as it blends and layers traditional African drums and vocalizations with a sweeping grandiosity usually reserved for epic films like Lawrence of Arabia, Out of Africa and dare I say it, Star Wars.

The cast rounds out the movie with powerhouse performances. Chadwick Boseman is a bit understated bringing a quiet maturity and presence to each scene, however I felt that the movie would have benefited from a bit more range from him.

The runaway star of the show, the scene-stealer is far and away is Shuri, the younger sister of T’Challa and played by Letitia Wright. She’s insanely smart, developing most if not all of the “Panther-tech”, plucky, irreverent and best of all: absolutely fearless.  If you are a fan and reader of the Black Panther comics, you already know that at some point Shuri dons the mantle of the Black Panther and becomes the protector of Wakanda. I’m hoping this is something we will seen in the inevitable sequel as word has it, Kevin Feige has already asked Ryan Coogler to return.

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Shuri steals the show! Do we have a new Disney princess in our midst?

This film does have some issues however.  So lets talk about those too.

First off, the fight choreography isn’t my favorite.  While Danai Gurira shines bright in her scenes as General Okoye, leader of the all female Dora Milaje, the same can’t really be said for most of the scenes involving hand to hand combat.  The shots are cut quickly and the camera is way too close to see any meaningful movements.  It’s tends to be a jumble of arms, legs and other flailing limbs. Aside from this action scenes (the car chase aside) end a few short minutes after they begin.

The CGI (especially during the final fight between Killmonger and T’Challa) is just plain bad. It looks unfinished is really the only way to describe it and  seeing how well everything else is in the movie it’s really unfortunate and distracting.

This shouldn’t deter you from seeing the movie however.  Not in the slightest. It’s a cultural milestone and I am anxiously looking forward to revisiting T’Challa, Shuri, Okoye and Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther 2.

Go see it.  Now. This isn’t just a movie.  It’s a movement.

— Read More Black Panther Posts here:

  1. Black Panther
  2. Black Panther Categories
  3. Black Panther vs. Kraven the Hunter (Black Panther, The Man Without Fear #519)
  4. Black Panther & Wolverine vs. Sabertooth
  5. Emma Frost tries to read The mind of the Black Panther. 
  6. Black Panther: Klaw kills King T’Chaka
  7. Black Panther: T’Challa avenges his father. 
  8. War Machine, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk and Black Panther vs. Thanos (Civil War II)
  9. Black Panther 50th Anniversary – NYCC 2016 Panel Highlights
  10. Images from the Black Panther premiere!
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[Review] Supergirl – S1 E07 – Human For A Day

Synopsis:  An earthquake leaves Kara helpless without her powers, as she attempts to help James and Winn.  The earthquake allows the alien Jemm to break out of his cell and face off against Alex and Hank.  Hank explains what happened to her father, Jeremiah Danvers and details about his own life.

Supergirl is getting better.

This week shows us a depowered girl of steel who is struggling with her fleeting mortality.  In the last episode, “Red Faced”, Kara uses her solar flare ability to destroy the military’s rouge “Red Tornado” combat cyborg.

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Supergirl’s Solar Flare Ability

The “Solar Flare” is a fairly new ability to both Superman and Supergirl.  It is an immediate and violent expulsion of all the stored solar energy in the Kryptonian cells.  The flare is released in one big burst leaving the Kryptonian, as Maxwell Lord says in this episode, “a dead battery”.  Following the use of the flare ability, Superman/Supergirl are rendered “human” for a period of  48 hours (or less, depending on how much energy was expended).  Until their cells can restock their spent solar energy, they are susceptible to sickness, injury, hunger and even death.  They can even get drunk. (see below)

 

This is the position we find Supergirl in from the beginning of the episode.  She’s not drunk, but she does have the sniffles, the ouchies, the sneezy-poo’s and is an overall sad sack.

Back at Mother Base, excuse me, DEO HQ, Hank and Alex are beginning the containment unit scrub down procedure of a particularly nasty baddie, Jemm.  In addition to looking like the world’s biggest asshat, Jemm can also control minds.  I think I’m just gonna call him Asshat from now on.

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I came to clean your cell Asshat.

 

Just before the cell scrub down can start an earthquake rocks National City, cracking streets, destroying buildings and sending people into a panic.  In the ensuing panic, Kara breaks her arm after being shoved out of the way by James Olsen, who then uses the opportunity to de-shirt himself in the most awkward manner possible to make a sling.  I literally laughed out loud at that part and my fiancé, who was in another room across the hall NOT watching Supergirl called out, “Somebody just took off their shirt didn’t they?  Your laugh had a ‘B’ in front of it.”  (Translation: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH)  I know they are trying to turn Mechad Brooks into a teen heartthrob to maintain ratings, but this was so forced, awkward and predictable, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they started making out right there in the middle of the disaster.  They did it in Man of Steel right?  I did say this show is getting better didn’t I?

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Yes I did.  And it is.

It’s getting better because in this episode we see Kara actually become a hero and do it not by punching something until it breaks.  She’s unable to use her powers to save a man with massive internal bleeding and experiences human frailty and mortality up close.  She breaks up an attempted armed robbery despite being depowered, having a broken arm and  a gun shoved in her face. Supergirl talks the robber out of shooting up the place using the power of her personality, big giant ‘S’ on her chest and a not-so-veiled threat that she could take the guy out in “20 different ways”.  It is entirely possible that she was successful because nobody wants to shoot a hot blonde in the face, but hey, I’ll take some character development over none at all.

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Back at Mother Base, Asshat is running amok and Henshaw is in pursuit. The next few beats are standard action movie fare: Alex watches the assault teams sweep the compound/first person body cameras crackle out/life signs go dead (see: Aliens, Jurassic World) / Alex disobeys orders and follows Henshaw/Alex gets her partner either killed or mind-boned by Jemm/ Alex corners Henshaw in a server room.

In the server room with Henshaw, instead of formulating a plan to FIRST stop Asshat from mind-boning the entire place, Alex chains him to a blinky machine and tries to force him at gunpoint to tell the truth about her father.  Unsatisfied by his answers, Alex runs out of the room, turns into Jack Bauer and guns down Jemm.  No seriously, she finds this dude and SHOTGUNS HIM RIGHT IN HIS STUPID ALIEN FACE.  Right before Alex can capture Asshat, he turns the tables and slaps the shit out of her knocking her across the room.

Right at that moment Henshaw drops in, snaps Asshat’s neck, thus saving the day.

Then the show drops the bomb.

Henshaw reveals that he is not actually Hank Henshaw and that the real man died the same day as Alex’s father.  He says that Jeremiah Danvers and Hank Henshaw were perusing an alien being and had him cornered somewhere in Peru.  Henshaw attempted to kill the alien but Danvers intervened instead getting himself killed. The alien killed Hank Henshaw and then made a vow to the dying Danvers that he would watch out for and protect his children, both Alex and Kara as if they are his own.  He says that he is the last surviving member of a race of people from the planet Mars and reveals his true name and visage:

J’onn J’onzz

image Supergirl Martian Manhunter

 

Boom.

There you have it folks!  We now live in a world where a live action Martian Manhunter is on TV.

Told ya, this show is getting good.

 

I give this episode 4/5 Martian Manhunters!

mmmmmmmm

 

REVIEW: The Mighty Thor #1 – This part never gets old. 

The Mighty Thor #1
Dr. Jane Foster is dying of cancer.

She is also The Mighty Thor; transforming into the God of Thunder when she picks up the enchanted mallet Mjolnir!

When she transforms into The Mighty Thor, all toxins and illnesses are purged from her Asgardian body because gods do not succumb to the frailties of man.

When her godly duties are done and Dr. Foster reasserts, the cancer comes back with a vengeance and is even more resilient than before.

Thor #1 begins with Jane receiving a chemotherapy treatment. As she watches TV, a catastrophe threatens to destroy Washington D.C.  She has no choice but to stop in the middle of her treatment (knowing the cancer will be even worse when she returns) and turn into Thor to help her fellow Avengers who are already on the scene.  It turns out that this disaster is just the beginning of something much, much worse.

The Mighty Thor #1

Who knew dying could be this much fun?

The art in The Mighty Thor #1 is phenomenal.

Jane’s story is written with thoughtfulness and compassion and I wish that the entire book had the same focus. It starts to get a little muddled in the middle with dark elves and light elves, Odin being a jerk and not talking to anybody, Freyja questioning the whereabouts of the Odinson, intergalactic senators spouting their clichéd misgivings when Jane tries them that the shit is about to go down. Because even though she can pick up Mjolnir and turn into freaking Thor, the senate still assumes that her chemo addled brain can’t tell the difference between danger and safety.

Seems legit.

When the narrative shifts its focus on Jane, her cancer and her explanation on why she just can’t be Thor all the time; the book really starts hits its stride.

It’s a recommended read. I’m putting it up there with Extraordinary X-Men #2 as my must reads of November.

I give it 4 out 5 Mjolnirs.

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Until next time, happy reading!