A very valid criticism of the MCU before Phase Three was that it has spent its time on its heroes to the detriment of its villains. It’s a testament to how well-cast and developed the heroes have been because a lot of Marvel’s villains have been forgettable at best. Beginning with Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, you began to see three-dimensional baddies, building to Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger in Black Panther. The best villains are convinced they’re right in what they’re doing and are either charismatic enough to convince the audience that they are justified in their actions or have legitimate points that they’ve taken to unacceptable extremes. Killmonger forces T’Challa out of his comfort zone and makes him face uncomfortable truths about the past of his family and the policies of his country. He’s lethal, driven, but also completely understandable and sympathetic.
Halfway through 2018, Black Panther is probably still the best film of the year-to-date. 2018 has been jammed full of unwarranted sequels and anemic remakes. This is, in all likelihood, the worst year for film in my lifetime. Without the MCU, I can’t even imagine how sick I’d be of the theater. Issue #20 releases this weekend with Ant-Man and the Wasp, and it can’t arrive soon enough. Marvel’s success this year has been astounding. The last two MCU films (Black Panther & Avengers: Infinity War) are the #3 and #4 highest grossing films of all-time in the US. That’s a staggering achievement and testimony to how trusted the quality of the MCU has become in a time where even the most reliable franchises have started to sputter out.
I loved Disney’s The Jungle Book. I thought it was not only better than the animated version; I thought it was better than Kipling’s book (maybe blasphemy, but there it is). I have wondered for a long time how Andy Serkis was going to separate his take on The Jungle Book, and with the release of the first trailer for the fall film, you can clearly see this is an entirely different take. Mowgli appears to be well-titled, because its focus is squarely on the man-cub after he’s grown to the age where Disney’s version leaves him. I’ve always thought the animated version’s end was ridiculous because you knew five seconds after he wandered into that village after the girl that a mob was going to chase him right back out or throw him in a cage. That’s exactly where Andy Serkis begins this trailer. You add to that a voice cast boasting Serkis, Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris, and Cate Blanchett as well as the motion capture expertise that Serkis has been perfecting through the Planet of the Apes trilogy, and Mowgli just jumped to the top of my most anticipated films of the fall. The film is set to open October 19, 2018, more from Coming Soon below. Continue reading Mowgli Trailer #1 (2018) *Witness the Darkest Telling*
Mr. Sunday Movies has compiled every possible Black Panther Easter Egg, reference, and connection to MCU films past and present. He also analyzes the post-credits scenes and their implications so it goes without saying that if you are one of the 12 people in the world who have not traveled to Wakanda, DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO! There’s an extremely good breakdown of how the film characters compare to their comic counterparts, some background on the actors, speculation for Avengers: Infinity War, and fun tidbits like the interrogation scene between Ross (Martin Freeman) and Klaue (Andy Serkis) was the first time the actors had been on screen together since their “Riddles in the Dark” encounter in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. If you, like me, have now seen Black Panther multiple times, this is a great way to revisit the minutiae of the film, and we’re only a month and a half away from more Black Panther when Avengers: Infinity War now opens on April 28th!
How do you balance the safety of the few versus obligations to the many? Should the sins of the past be buried or brought to light? How can a good man be a good king? Black Panther is not just another comic book film or an enjoyable MCU installment. Director Ryan Coogler has established in T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) a complex, layered, admirable monarch. Black Panther transcends being “just another comic book movie” in the way Wonder Woman did last year. It’s culturally relevant, brilliantly imaginative, groundbreaking, challenging, and in its 18th installment, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced its best film yet. Continue reading Movie Review: Black Panther (2018) *All Hail The King!!!*
Every other month, we take a look at a movie from the Internet Movie Database’s List of the TOP 250 FILMS OF ALL-TIME. These are movies that transcend a simple “My Favorite Scene” column. These are movies that are hard to just pry five gems from, but we do and examine the film overall. We’re on our fifteenth installment in this series. Click on the link here to check out previous installments from #1 The Shawshank Redemption to #14 Inception.
In planned trilogies, middle chapters are the trickiest. They don’t have a beginning or an end. They tend to be the darkest night before the dawn of the finale, but it’s possible to go too dark. You can lose the momentum of your opening and set up narrative hurdles for the finale that are impossible to overcome. A perfect bridge movie is rare, and with the possible exception of The Empire Strikes Back, the best one ever made is The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Continue reading Top 5: Scenes from The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers (IMDB Top 250 #15)