Star Wars is like a religion to me. Those films are a large part of why I love movies so much. However, even with Star Wars Episode IX coming out in December, all of my attention as a fan has been focused on Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones ended up being a bit of a mixed bag in it’s final season, but man oh man, did Endgame deliver. Avengers: Endgame was one of the most thrilling movie going experiences of my life. The movie surpassed expectations to deliver a masterpiece of blockbuster filmmaking. I’ve often said The MCU is this generation’s Star Wars, which makes Endgame the modern equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back. Like, The Empire Strikes Back, Endgame has already reached the status of modern classic. Anyway, back to Star Wars! With Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame out of the way, I can focus my fandom on Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker! The final chapter in The Skywalker Saga, 40 years in the making.
The new issue Vanity Fair has given us the best look at the film so far. The June cover story is all about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, with an excellent article by Lev Grossman that’s the most in depth look at the film yet and just a damn good read. You can read the full article the full article right here (I highly recommend that you do): https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/star-wars-cover-story?verso=true
The coolest part of the Vanity Fair issue is the amazing photos taken on the set by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Vanity Fair and Leibovitz have been covering the Star Wars movies for decades now. I still have the Vanity Fair issue that focused on The Force Awakens because of the incredible photographs she had taken. In my opinion, Annie Leibovitz one of the best photographers in the business and these fantastic photos for The Rise of Skywalker are a testament to how stunningly beautiful her photos can be. You can see them all below.
Well, the countdown to Star Wars Episode IX has officially begun! Spider-Man: Far From Home is the last, “next BIG movie”, that I’m really looking forward to, but once I see that, I imagine my Star Wars mania will really start to heat up! As always, thanks for reading!
It took me awhile, but I finally got around to reviewing Jordan Peele’s new horror movie, “Us”. We I saw the creepy as fuck trailer for “Us” I knew it was going to be film to keep my eye on. It was easily one of my most anticipated movies of the year. As much as I love Star Wars and Marvel, it’s always exciting to see a new, original concept on the big screen. With the movie having been in theaters for a few weeks now, I wanted to make sure I posted my podcast review. This episode does have SPOILERS, but you can get my SPOILER FREE thoughts on the film at the beginning of the podcast. Without further ado, please enjoy the latest episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
I know I’m late to write up my non-spoiler review for those of you who didn’t get a chance to head out to theatres to see Black Panther this weekend. So lets dive right in!
Black Panther takes place a few weeks (maybe a month) after the events of Captain America: Civil War and T’Challa (Black Panther) is still mourning the death of his father King T’Chaka (played by character actor John Kani, who was in one of my all time favorite movies, The Ghost and The Darkness). So, only a few weeks have gone by between the events of that film and the beginning on Black Panther. At this point, when we see T’Challa played by the incredible Chadwick Boseman, he’s still mourning the death of his father, but he has a responsibility to his country. The traditions of Royal Succession must be observed. Of the 5 (I think?) tribes within Wakanda, during a time designed for transition of monarchy, can challenge T’Challa for the right to the throne. His Black Panther powers are temporarily taken away and in a absolutely gorgeous waterfall setting, T’Challa faces M’Baku of the Mountain Gorilla tribe for the right to be king. The loser either is killed or submits, T’Challa defeats M’Baku through submission and gains a crucial ally later in the film.
The design, technology, and world of Wakanda is beyond my wildest hopes. It is stunning. Wakanda is unlike anything we have ever seen in a Marvel movie before. Or even a superhero movie at all for that matter. The imagination, production design, and costuming are all stunning.
The cast is phenomenal as well. With Michael B. Jordan turning in (no surprise) on of the best villain performances in a Marvel movie so far. He is a man on a mission. He’s single minded and terrifying. The man is absolutely not fucking around. T’Challa didn’t really understand the man he was dealing with when he first faced Jordan’s Killmonger. Andy Serkis also delivers a fun performance as classic B-LIST Marvel villain, Klaw. Some people might not to want their arms cut off, but considering he got a pretty bad ass laser arm canon to replace, pit I’d say he got a pretty good trade off after Ultron cut his arm off in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Angela Basset, Martin Freeman, and Forrest Whitakerer also turn in small, but memorable roles. Of the 3, Martin Freeman probabaly has the most to do as CIA Agent Everett Ross in a big step up from his nothing role in Civil War. He’s actually an a semi-important character here. Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are both fantastic as missionary / T’Challa’s love interest and The Head of The Wakandan Military respectively. I even say that Okoye, Danai Gurira’s character could easily hold her own with The Avengers and something tells me she’s going to need those skills pretty soon.
But beside T’Challa, by far my favorite character was his sister Shuri. She was pretty much the worlds coolest little sister. I really hope there is a scene in one of the future Avengers: Infinity War movies where she completely schools Tony Stark if he sees her laboratory and she just puts him to complete shame. She’s a technological genius who supplies for Brother with some of the coolest toys in the movie, Shur’s one of the most fun characters to watch. Just like Bucky and Sam Wilson become Captain America in the comics at one point, Shuri eventually becomes Black Panther. So that could be a cool way to go in future movies
Warching this film you can’t help but think of Avengers: Infnity War. Avengers: Infinity War is technically 2 parts, with part 1 coming out in a few weeks on May 4, with part 2 coming exactly a year later (like we used to see with Lord of The Rings). I really think that when the dust settles after Part 2, a lot of “old school” Marvel characters will gone or dead. Permanently. After seeing this film, I see T’Challa as someone who could easily fill the role in the team left by a potentially absent Captain America. He could be the heart and the rock that Cap is now.
Many of the Marvel films have obvious weaknesses that hurt an otherwise really entertaining film. There is this substance to this film that you don’t often see in superhero movies like this. You’ll walk out of the theater asking questions and having discussions and debates. That’s a certainly good thing when our mainstream entertainment provides us with thought-provoking material. Director Ryan Coogler has absolutely knocked this one out of the park. Black Panther is absolutely one of those must see movies. It really is just a phenomenal movie, I can’t recommend it enough.
Note:I saw this movie with my father and he gave a grade that was between 1 and 10 (10 the best, 1 the worst). Just to keep things interesting I’ll make my review a letter grade.
Marvel’s Black Panther
Paul Sr. ( My Dad): 9.5
Me, Paul Jr.: A-
Note: On our original spoiler podcast for Black Panther, I give the movie a full A. But after thinking about it a little bit, an A letter grade should be reserved for the best of best. The absolute upper echelon of what Marvel has to offer. There is no doubt that this is an excellent film and one of my favorites from the MCU but I wanted to make that small change.
As always thanks for reading! And please check out put podcast “The World’s Best Podcast”!
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It’s Paul here. Check out this Episode of “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim” where we dive into one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Marvel’s Black Panther. This episode is FULL SPOILERS so don’t listen until after you’ve seen the film. I’m going to try to post a spoiler free review if I have time, so keep a look out for that. For now, enjoy our epic discussion of the latest entry into the MCU. Enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes: