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.
City of Lies, the crime drama that follows the investigation behind the unsolved murder of the Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, following the death of Tupac Shakur, has released its first trailer.
Based on the book LAbyrinth by Randall Sullivan, the film stars Johnny Depp as LAPD detective Russell Poole and Forest Whitaker as journalist Jack Johnson. The two team in an attempt to solve the mystery of the rapper’s death and the conspiracy to cover up the case.
“Why is this case so important to you?” Johnson asks in the beginning of the trailer. Poole responds, “A murder like that only goes unsolved if the police don’t want to solve it.”
After discussing some theories regarding Smalls’ death, Johnson asserts, “If we could prove the connection between cop and Biggie’s murder, it would not only break the LAPD…” Poole finishes the thought: “It would ruin the city.”
Brad Furman directed the movie, which was produced by Miriam Segal’s Good Films. City of Lies is set to bow Sept. 7.
Forest Whitaker began his acting career at 21 in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and nearly four decades into his career has a filmography that stretches into triple digits. The 6’2 actor has made a career out of gentle, and not so gentle giant roles, both starring and supporting. Whitaker’s career got out to a fast start in the 1980s with roles in films like Platoon, Good Morning Vietnam, and The Color of Money, but stalled as Whitaker’s penchant for doing a tremendous amount of projects has littered his resume with some of the biggest bombs in recent memory (Battlefield Earth anyone?). His career got back on track in the 2000s when he became the fourth African-American (after Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx) to win Best Actor for his role as the African dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. He also became part of the Star Wars and MCU franchises, and continues to be one of the hardest working actors in the business. Continue reading Forest Whitaker’s 10 Best Movies→
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!!!*→
Black Panther is one of the most complicated characters in the Marvel Universe. He’s a monarch to the most isolated and technologically advanced nation on earth. He’s a religious leader. He’s a super hero to the outside world, and he’s the bearer of a mantle that stretches back to the founding of his nation. Avengers: Infinity War showed us how pivotal Wakanda is going to be to the fight against Thanos on Earth, and I’m so pleased that they’ve gone all out again, creating another unique corner of the Marvel Universe for us to discover even when we’re going to be 18 films into the epic. Black Panther’s two international trailers have a lot of additional footage, and the film itself will release February 16, 2018. Continue reading Black Panther International Trailers #1 & 2 (2018) “The King of Wakanda is Here!”→