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.
I’m writing this review disappointed and I’m surprised to say it’s not with the movie. To be totally honest with you I was ready to cash in this review (not that I’m paid for these). In a lecture today the professor said the specifics of the slides wouldn’t be on the final so like any upstanding, journalistically-ethical Cornellian I totally checked out, ripped a page out of the back of my notebook and hammered out my opening paragraphs. I had this whole thing written where I compared the Marvel and DC matchup to a football game where DC was being forced to throw it deep on first down. I expected DC settle for a field goal with Justice League after Wonder Woman put them squarely in the red zone.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Nick Smith, Sun Staff Writer
I’ve diagnosed myself with the flu. I don’t have a cough or a runny nose but I did skip class yesterday morning and I’m pretty sure that means I’m deathly ill. In my defense, I did have a fever and I’m ready to forward my doctor’s note from Gannett (I’m not calling it Cornell Health) to any unconvinced readers (Mom). Similarly, Thor, at least in terms of solo movies, isn’t doing great. Though the character has faired well in various other Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances, Thor (2011) was alright by virtue of the character’s novelty and Thor: The Dark World (2013) felt like a clunker.
After a semi-successful trilogy by Sam Raimi and two over-the-top films from Marc Webb, it seemed like everyone’s neighborhood wall crawler was going to put up the cowl for good, while studios battled over whether Spider-Man should be portrayed as an emo teenager or an emotionally challenged Tobey Maguire. Yet, who would have thought that thirty minutes of Tom Holland donning spandex in Captain America: Civil War was a sign of better things to come? Holland’s performance earned him stripes for his own solo movie in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the title of which references the eponymous high school dance and is symbolic of Spider-Man joining the larger Marvel family owned by Disney. As with anyone who has to interact with new relatives, Homecoming can feel awkward and terse as it attempts to navigate and connect with past films, but once it finds its own footing, the movie flips into high gear. In the end, the latest Spidey excels as a greater extension of the Marvel Universe, and also as a solid stand-alone feature buoyed by a stellar supporting cast, infectious humor and a fresh, contemporary high school setting.
Every time I watch an action movie I walk out with delusions of grandeur. I’ve been a kung fu master without a shred a discipline, a fearsome swordsman without a blade and a lethal sharpshooter without a day of training. Rocky turned every mirror into a fierce boxing opponent and the top of every staircase into the end of an epic training montage. Gladiator turned every oblong cylinder I could find into a sword and every room into a colosseum. Saving Private Ryan turned literally every object into a gun — and I mean that!
Superhero Fatigue. With the constant slew of superhero blockbusters flooding cinema screens, it’s hard to keep this genre fresh. These films all share a remarkably similar structure, as well as common tropes like love interests, wise sages and all-powerful enemies. However, beyond the similarities within the genre itself, we now have the convention of cinematic universes. The pioneering Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has inspired a trend of shared universes including the lackluster DC Comics films, an attempted Monster Movie Universe, and now I hear they’re making a spinoff of The Big Lebowski centering on Jesus (the bowler, not the messianic figure).
Luke Cage is a good show… for a bit. The first seven of thirteen episodes are a delight. Marvel’s new entry into its online-exclusive Defenders series (comprised of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the upcoming Iron Fist) will get its fans all the more hyped up for when the four eventually convene. Creator Cheo Hodari Coker and lead actor Mike Colter do brilliant jobs in what is another solid entry to the already-great Netflix universe. Luke Cage provides an enthralling look into a gritty Harlem still reeling from the extraterrestrial incident of Joss Whedon’s Avengers (2012).
Deadpool has electrified Marvel fans since the film’s announcement. The wisecracking “Merc with a Mouth” — whose real name is Wade Wilson — unprecedentedly secured a movie all to himself, despite his relatively narrow fan base and lackluster appearance in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The film actually uses these original failures to its advantage. In Deadpool, the fourth wall is broken numerous times in an attempt to poke fun at Origin’s missteps and to give the antihero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) a history with audiences, eliminating the need for any previous knowledge of his character. In fact, Deadpool might be Marvel’s most skillfully told origin story yet.