What was your favorite moment from the movie? Lev Akabas: Every single time that Thor called Rocket “Rabbit.” Also the ending. I know some may criticize it for taking the easy way out with a cliffhanger or exploiting cheap emotion, but it was also genuinely surprising. I’ve been consistently entertained by Marvel for the past ten years, but truly surprised? It’s been a while.
Avengers: Infinity War comes out in three days. I’ll say it again. Avengers: Infinity War comes out in three days. It’s a remarkable time to be alive, to see the culmination of a full decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies – one could argue the culmination of thousands of years of human civilization. It’s a perfect time for The Sun’s Arts and Entertainment section to count down our list of the top 10 superhero movies of all time in advance of what is surely the most highly anticipated comic book movie ever.
A pretentious person I know referred to this year’s batch of Oscar-nominated short films as a “mixed bag,” which in my mind means that they must be pretty good. My personal favorite, “The Eleven O’Clock,” is a delightfully original comedy about a patient of a psychiatrist who believes he’s the psychiatrist. The rest of them are nearly as good, albeit a deal more serious. “The Silent Child” tells the story of a deaf girl whose parents fail to get her the help she needs, while “Watu Wote” addresses Christian-Muslim conflicts in Africa. These serious films are so unabashedly serious that they almost come across as narrative-based public service announcements; each credit sequence is peppered with statistics, authentic footage and calls to action.
What was the best moment in Black Panther? Jonvi Rollins: Black Panther taking Killmonger to watch the Wakandan sunset. The moment perfectly exemplifies the “good heart” of the title character while farther humanizing his adversary. The paths of the men finally converge as Panther takes steps to understand, through Killmonger, his duty to others outside of his nation. Andrea Yang: T’Challa’s second visit to the spirits of the past Black Panthers, in which he speaks to his father again and makes a decision about what kind of king he wants to be.
“You are a good man with a good heart. But it is hard for a good man to be king.”
These are the deceased T’Chaka’s final words to his son T’Challa before the latter is crowned king of Wakanda, an African nation that poses as a third world country, when in reality it is one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world, thanks to the natural resource of vibranium. Throughout the Black Panther, T’Challa has a hard time accepting the contradiction of this statement: there is a disconnect between the man he is and the king he must be. As a whole, the film questions (and answers) its own permutation of T’Chaka’s proclamation: can a good superhero film have heart and explore themes of race, power and privilege, or will its genre conventions — namely CGI spectacle and quippy one-liners — reduce it to simply being blockbuster entertainment? Black Panther shows that the two can be harmonious; Ryan Coogler’s film is at once a celebration of blackness, a sobering analysis of the responsibilities and obligations that people of privilege and power have and a dazzling superhero film in its own right.
Black Panther hits theaters everywhere tomorrow. The buzz around the movie is electric, as evidenced by its formidable social media presence, record-breaking box office projections and ubiquity in the thinkpiece realm. Though the reviews are glowing, what seems to be propelling this global phenomenon is not the movie itself, but its materiality to the world as it is today. In the comic book world, the word “retcon” is a common portmanteau for “retroactive continuity.” It refers to the reframing of past events to serve a current plot need. For example, TV shows often retcon characters’ backstories in order to explain their present actions.