I haven’t been a big fan of the Academy Awards for years now, but I must admit I was very excited when Black Panther received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. This is the first time a comic book film, a superhero film has been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Even though I don’t consider the Oscars to be the standard by which excellence in film should necessarily be judged, it’s still a great feeling of validation to a lifelong comic book fan. Not to mention that it’s all too rare to see a big budget superhero film with a predominantly black cast that, as put so well by Marc Bernardin in his Entertainment Weekly cover story, Black Panther is a movie about celebrating “Excellence”. Which is all too rare. This movie’s cultural impact cannot be understated. Even putting all of that aside, Black Panther is just a great fucking movie that absolutely deserves this recognition.
So, With Black Panther nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, on this episode we wanted to acknowledge that historic accomplishment as well as talk about other comic book films that deserved Oscar noms. We also discuss some of the upcoming DC films, like Birds of Prey. To top it all off, we try to figure out (if you could pick ANY character from ANY comic book universe) who would have the best chance in a face off against Thanos with The Infinity Gauntlet! All this and so much more on this episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”! Enjoy! 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.
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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:
Black Panther is coming out next week, and I really wanted to write a What I Want to See in honor of it, but the truth is, that Black Panther as a character was the MVP of the one Marvel movie he’s been in, has had one of the coolest trailers in the MCU, looks like he’s could be the MVP of Infinity War. As a movie, Black Panther boasts one of the more exciting casts, and crews of any MCU film to date. Ryan Coogler coming off of Creed to the MCU is an inspired choice. So I didn’t want to do a What I Want to See about Black Panther. I have faith in this, and What I Want to See, is what they’ve got, I think it’s going to be amazing.
I first saw Chadwick Boseman in 42, as Jackie Robinson, and he was great in that film. Then a year later, he was James Brown, and I haven’t seen that, but again he looked awesome in it. Then we got to see him as Black Panther in Civil War, and he stole the show. This last year, he played Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.
He’s played 3 men who have been hugely important in the conversation of race over the last 70 years, and one of the most important fictional characters in the same area. I really only know about these 4 roles, and I already consider Boseman to be a legend.
What I want to see, is Boseman get to play the big two. The two big names we think of when we think of race in the last 70 years, I want to see him play Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that he has the acting chops, and I would love to see what he can bring to these two characters, and while it may sound ridiculous, I’d be interested in seeing him do both in the same film.
I think that it wouldn’t get taken seriously enough, but with two characters like that, two characters who we often think of as Yin and Yang, it would be really interesting to see what one actor can bring to both roles, to juxtapose them through one actor giving two performances. I think the only man (at least right now) who could do that role, would be Chadwick Boseman. I think he could give enough nuance to distinguish the two roles, and with make up they could make him look like two different people, and what we’d get would be something bizarre, but potentially really incredible.
We’re in a time where we’re seeing some very creative methods of telling historical stories. Hamilton casts against historical race in order to show the spirit of America, we’ve seen time travel tell the story of JFK’s assassination and what his legacy may have been in 11.22.63. We’re ready for something like this, and if you got someone with a really interesting direction style and Chadwick Boseman playing the leading roles, it could be amazing. That’s what I want to see.