‘Black Panther’ Review

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writers: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker

Synopsis: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

The eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one fans have been waiting for, and one that fans have been making a good uproar about. For the first time, there is a superhero movie – at least in the modern age of superhero movies – with a predominate black cast, and one that’s actually good and doesn’t rely on stereotypes. While the race element is something someone can talk about more clearly than I can, Black Panther is without a doubt something special and different than we have gotten before.

Black Panther starts off with a brief history of how the fictional country of Wakanda and the Black Panther came to be, and from there we jump to a brief scene in 1992 with a young King T’Chaka. However, we then jump to the present day and see T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), as he takes the throne in his home country with the people closest to him by his side. His mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), his youngest sister and head of the science/weapons division Shuri (Letitia Wright), the Dora Milaje general and friend Okoye (Danai Gurira) and his former lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).

However, T’Challa reign doesn’t go too smoothly as Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) comes back into the picture, along with some help from the mysterious Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). T’Challa must now decide what kind of king he wants to be, and stop threats from all around him.

Like I mentioned, Black Panther is something special and different. The movie doesn’t strive away from touching on the racial issue unlike other Marvel films. They usually touch on them and move on to the bombastic action scenes, which is fine for me, but Black Panther doesn’t shy away from at all. In fact, it doesn’t even try to hide them and hits them all on the head without sounding preachy or forcing it upon us. Everything touched on makes sense, and when you take a step back, you start to realize what the message is coming from a superhero film of all places.

There there’s Wakanda itself. The technologically advanced country is a sight to see, with technology that doesn’t yet exist, but also with African tribal touches everywhere you go. Speaking of that, there is a lot of African tribal touches throughout the movie that just make Black Panther more authentic to its roots and gives it the extra touch above other films, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When it comes to everything else about the movie, well, it’s still pretty damn good. The cast are all fantastic from top to bottom. Of course, we already saw Boseman as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, but his character here really gives us a better sense at what to expect of him in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger is arguably one of Marvel’s best villains to date. He reasoning is sound and most importantly, he’s well-written to the point that I wish there was more of him in the movie.

The other men fair well with Martin Freeman returning as Everett Ross in a bigger role than I thought he’d have. Get Out breakout Daniel Kaluuya has a small, but hopefully bigger part in the future, role as W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend that takes an interesting turn. Andy Serkis’ Klaue returns in a hammed up approach that surprisingly works and is a ton of fun to watch. Finally, Winston Duke, who plays rival M’Baku is definitely one of the breakout stars here acting in a way that you wouldn’t believe he would at times.

But let’s talk about the women. The women in Black Panther are freaking badass! Danai Gurira as Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje, is a force to be reckoned with anytime there’s a fight. Letitia Wright’s Shuri brings a spark of energy and fun every time she’s onscreen, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia acts like a bit of a moral compass for T’Challa, but also brings up the concept of what would you do for your country versus what should be done. Finally, Angela Bassett just commands the scenes every time she’s on because, well, she’s Angela Bassett.

Now, the movie does have a few faults. It does fall into the Marvel final battle cliché of being a bit too CGI-heavy with the final fight between T’Challa and Killmonger. Also, while we get to see Wakanda and its interesting history, along with its traditions, I would have liked to see a little more of the actual city.

All in all, Black Panther is an important movie no matter which way you look at it. Not only is it a superhero movie with an all black cast, but one of Marvel’s best films to date. With well written characters, a story that isn’t all over the place, and a deep and personal message and theme, Black Panther is a movie you should go watch as soon as possible.

 

Black Panther

4.5 out of 5

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New Podcast – Brief Spoiler Free Thoughts on Black Panther & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is live!

This week was pretty big movie news wise, so I tried to condense it as much as I could.

iTunes Link  – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608?mt=2

Youtube link

New Podcast – Black Panther Sabotage Planned, Mario Gets a Movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp Trailer & More

The Movie Pit podcast is up ladies and gentlemen, and BOI do I get into today with some bull-crap of people trying to sabotage Black Panther. Needless to say, that part is not safe for work.

As always, there are a couple of ways to listen. On iTunes, and if you do, please subscribe and leave me a rating and review. You’ll get a shout out on the podcast when it shows up.

iTunes Link  – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608?mt=2

Youtube

Favorite Fight/Action Sequences, Cinematography, Score/Soundtrack and Trailers

This is a continuation of my Favorite/Standouts of the Year, this time focusing more on the genre side of things with my favorite fights/action sequences, cinematography, score/soundtrack, and trailers.

 

 

Fight/Action Sequence

Atomic Blonde – Lorraine Protects Spyglass (“One Take”)

Baby Driver – Shootout, Baby Runs & Baby vs. Buddy

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Yondu, Rocket and Baby Groot Escape

Kong: Skull Island – Kong Takes Down the Choppers & Graveyard Attack

Logan – Laura vs. Reavers (Mexico) & Logan and Laura vs. Reavers (Woods)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey and Kylo vs. Praetorian Guards

The Fate of the Furious – Prison Riot

The LEGO Batman Movie – Opening Sequence

Thor: Ragnarok – Thor vs. Hulk

Wonder Woman – No Man’s Land Sequence & Village Attack

 

Honorable Mention

It – The Losers vs. Pennywise

John Wick: Chapter 2 – John Wick vs. Cassian (Rome) & John Wick vs. Bounty Collectors

Justice League – League vs. Superman

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Arthur and Others Run Through the City

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Eggsy and Harry vs. Poppy’s Men & Eggsy and Harry vs. Whiskey

Thor: Ragnarok – Bifrost Battle

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Opening Space Battle

War for the Planet of the Apes – Opening Trench Attack

Wolf Warrior 2 – Feng vs. Big Daddy

Wonder Woman – Amazons vs. Germans

 

Just Missed the List

Baby Driver – Opening & Second Job

Fist Fight – Campbell vs. Strickland

Justice League – Steppenwolf vs. Amazons

Power Rangers – Rangers Train & Megazoid vs. Goldar

Thor: Ragnarok – Hela vs. Asgardian Army

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Escape from the Market & Valerian’s Run Through the Base

Wolf Warrior 2 – Escaping the Village

 

 

Cinematography

Dan Lustsen – The Shape of Water

Hoyte Van Hoytema – Dunkirk

Javier Aguirresarobe – Thor: Ragnarok

Oscar Faura – A Monster Calls

Matthew Libatique – Mother!

Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

 

Honorable Mentions

Chung-hoon Chung – It

Darius Khondji – The Lost City of Z

Dariusz Wolski – Alien: Covenant

Drew Daniels – It Comes At Night

Matthew Jensen – Wonder Woman

Maxime Alexandre – Annabelle: Creation

Steve Yedlin – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Just Missed the List

Ben Richardson – Wind River

Bojan Bazelli – A Cure for Wellness

Jess Hall – Ghost in the Shell

Larry Fong – Kong: Skull Island

Stuart Dryburgh/Xiaoding Zhao – The Great Wall

 

 

Score/Soundtrack

Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water

Baby Driver

Daniel Pemberton – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Hans Zimmer – Dunkirk

Lorne Balfe – The LEGO Batman Movie

Mark Mothersbaugh – Thor: Ragnarok

Michael Giacchino – Coco & War for the Planet of the Apes

 

Honorable Mentions

Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer – Blade Runner 2049

John Williams – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Lucius – Band Aid

Rupert Gregson-Williams – Wonder Woman

Tyler Bates – Atomic Blonde

 

Just Missed the List

Carter Burwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Henry Jackman – Kong: Skull Island

West Dylan Thordson – Split

 

 

Trailers

Atomic Blonde

Trailer #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIUube1pSC0&t=73s

 

Avengers: Infinity War

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZfuNTqbHE8

 

Black Panther

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxWvtMOGAhw

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Teaser – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW1BIid8Osg

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duGqrYw4usE&t=38s

 

Logan

First Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Div0iP65aZo

Second Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DekuSxJgpbY

 

Pacific Rim: Uprising

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EhiLLOhVis&t=3s

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB4I68XVPzQ

 

Thor: Ragnarok

Teaser – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7MGUNV8MxU&t=4s

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue80QwXMRHg&t=1s

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

Trailer #1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDcAlo8i2y8

Final Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxjPjPzQ1iU

 

Wonder Woman

Origin Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INLzqh7rZ-U

Rise of the Warrior Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSB4wGIdDwo

 

Honorable Mentions

Baby Driver Trailer #1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9YZw_X5UzQ

Black Panther #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjDjIWPwcPU

Blade Runner 2049 #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZOaI_Fn5o4&t=39s

It – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKJmEC5ieOk

Kingsman: The Golden Circle #2 (Red Band) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SwZ4_Dw0yk

Mother! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpICoc65uh0&t=9s

Power Rangers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kIe6UZHSXw&t=1s

Star Wars: The Last Jedi #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0CbN8sfihY&t=2s

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Red Band) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Afusxc2SM

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Red Band) #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxxA4YZnzbQ

The New Mutants – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwT879-4Wjs

 

Just Missed the List

Alien: Covenant – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svnAD0TApb8&t=44s

It Comes At Night – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YOYHCBQn9g&t=81s

Ocean’s 8 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFWF9dU5Zc0

Sicario 2: Soldado – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pymm6cmE9uQ

The Dark Tower – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjwfqXTebIY&t=88s

New Podcast – Avengers: Infinity War, Live-Action Mulan, Masters of the Universe & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is up!

The podcast is up everybody and ready for your listening enjoyment. I got some good stuff, just saying.

New Podcast – Spoiler Review of Thor: Ragnarok

The Movie Pit Podcast is up!

This week, I talk about some of the noteworthy news items, but the real highlight is I spoiler review Thor: Ragnarok!

That said, there will not be a written review. I’m going out of town this weekend, and I’m not bringing along my laptop. So you have to deal with a spoiler review for now. However, not spoiler review of Thor: Ragnarok – it was absolutely great!

November Movie Releases

It’s Turkey Month ladies and gentlemen!

Happy Early Thanksgiving! It’s now at the point that we have a great film or films coming out every week and some that will for sure divide films fans. Now let’s jump right into the fray and see what’s coming out!

 

1st

A Bad Moms Christmas (Comedy – STX Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Pictures)

Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) struggle to cope when their respective mothers visit for the holidays. I’m sure I’m with many who were surprised at how funny the first Bad Moms was and how successful it ended up being. So, and I can’t believe I’m saying this; I’m looking forward toward the sequel to Bad Moms. The film co-stars Jay Hernandez, Peter Gallagher, Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon.

 

3rd

Limited Release: LBJ

The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (Woody Harrelson) from his young days in West Texas to the White House. The film has a pretty impressive supporting cast in Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, C. Thomas Howell, Michael Stahl-David and Richard Jenkins.

 

Limited Release: Last Flag Flying

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, and a spiritual sequel to the 1973 film The Last Detail. Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-untied with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Reverend Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. The film looks pretty funny with three friends getting together on a road trip with some drama. The film also stars J. Quinton Johnson, Deanna Reed-Foster, and Yul Vazquez.

 

Limited Release: Lady Bird

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, in only her second directorial film but her first solo film, Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), who tries to get through life in Northern California while dealing with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and her sick father (Tracy Letts). The film looks pretty great and a nice character piece with Ronan adding another potential great character to her resume. The film co-stars Odeya Rush, Timothee Chalamet, Kathryn Newton, Laura Marano, Daniel Zovatto and Lucas Hedges.

 

Limited Release: Blade of the Immortal

The 100th film by legendary director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins), and based off the manga by Hiroaki Samura. The film follows Manji, a highly skilled samurai, who is cursed with immortality and whose path is crossed by young girl looking for the legendary immortal samurai to help her avenge her parents, who were filled by a ruthless warrior and his army. This looks like a crazy, bloody, fun ride that only Miike can create.

 

Thor: Ragnarok (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures)

Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself imprisoned on another planet, and forced into a gladiatorial game against fellow Avenger, The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Thor has to survive and must race against time to stop the powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying Asgard and everything in her way. I don’t know about you, but I’m stupid excited for this…that’s all, I can’t wait for this. The film co-stars Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Benedict Cumberbatch and Anthony Hopkins

 

10th

Limited Release: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), in what is described as a “darkly comic drama,” a mother (Frances McDormand) personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder, when they fail to catch the culprit. I’m a huge fan of what McDonagh has done so far, and I can’t wait to see what he does here, with yet, another great cast. The film-co-stars Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek, Lucas Hedges and John Hawkes.

 

Daddy’s Home 2 (Comedy – Paramount Pictures, Gary Sanchez Productions)

Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) must deal with their intrusive fathers, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson, during the holidays. I didn’t watch the first Daddy’s Home until this year, and I didn’t mind it, so now with the sequel coming out, I’m kind of looking forward to it. The film co-stars Linda Cardellini, John Cena and Alessandra Ambrosio.

 

Murder on the Orient Express (Crime Mystery – 20th Century Fox, Scott Free Productions, The Mark Gordon Company, Genre Films)

Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) investigates the murder of a wealthy American traveling on the Orient Express, the most famous train in the world. I loved the teaser trailer with that great tracking shot. Now that we’ve seen a little more of the trailer, I’m hoping this turns out to be great. The film also stars Daisy Ridley, Michael Pena, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Penelope Cruz, Lucy Boynton, Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, Marwan Kenzari, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench.

 

17th

Limited Release: Sweet Virginia

A former rodeo champ befriends a young man with a propensity for violence. The film stars Jon Bernthal, Imogen Poots, Christopher Abbott and Rosemarie DeWitt.

 

Limited Release: I Love You, Daddy

Directed, co-written and starring Louis C.K., when a successful television writer’s daughter becomes the interest of an aging filmmaker with an appalling past, he becomes worried on how to handle the situation. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Helen Hunt, Edie Falco, Chloe Grace Moretz and John Malkovich.

 

Limited Release: Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Directed by Dan Gilroy, the film stars Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. The film also stars Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo and Shelley Hennig.

 

The Star (Animation – Sony Pictures Animation, Columbia Pictures, The Jim Henson Company, Walden Media, Affirm Films, Franklin Entertainment)

A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas. This animated film came out of nowhere really, so I don’t know if I’ll be watching this. The voice cast is impressive though with Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Steven Yeun, Keegan-Michael Key, Kristin Chenoweth, Ving Rhames, Anthony Anderson, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Plummer.

 

Wonder (Drama – Lionsgate, Walden Media, Participant Media, Mandeville Films)

Based on the New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio. The film follows August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with a facial deformation who enters fifth grade, in a mainstream elementary school, for the first time. I haven’t read the book, but just seeing the trailer, it looks like we’re in for a dramatic and touching story. The film co-stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Daveed Diggs and Mandy Patinkin.

 

Justice League (Action Adventure – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Dune Entertainment/Lensbern Productions)

It’s about time! The other big team-up of well-known superheroes is finally coming to the big screen, whether we like the approach or not. Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. The film also stars Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenberg, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, and Diane Lane. Look, the DCEU has been shaky at best – expect you Wonder Woman – so here’s hoping that Justice League can at least put some stability to it.

 

22nd

Limited Release: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Based on the book by Les Standiford, the journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and other classic characters from “A Christmas Carol.” The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) conjured up a timeless tale. The film also co-stars Jonathan Pryce.

 

Limited Release: Darkest Hour (War Drama – Focus Features/Working Title Films)

Directed Joe Wright (Atonement, Anna Karenina, Hanna) Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) leads a charge against Hitler’s army in the early days of World War II. I have to admit this looks pretty damn good. It also helps that the movie has been getting a ton of Oscar buzz. The film also stars Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristen Scott Thomas and John Hurt.

 

Coco (Animation – Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios)

Aspiring musician Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead. As much as we have come to learn not to doubt Pixar, but this is going to have a hard time surpassing The Book of Life in my mind. But, like I said, never doubt Pixar. The voice cast ranges all over the place from unknowns to be names like Benjamin Bratt, Cheech Marin, Renee Victor and Edward James Olmos.

 

24th

Limited Release: Call Me by Your Name

Based on the novel by Andre Aciman, in the 1983, the son of an American professor is enamored by the graduate student who comes to study and live with his family in their northern Italian home. Together, they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them. I didn’t know too much about this until I starting seeing the film festival buzz, and after watching the trailer, it could not be too bad. The film stars Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Amira Casar and Michael Stuhlbarg.

What are you looking forward to?