What are you doing on February 16, 2018? Stop. You’re going to watch Marvel’s Black Panther. The movie’s action-packed second trailer arrived yesterday and it had Twitter freaking out even though we’ve still got a good four months to go before it releases.
And if your first reaction was “not another superhero movie…” you couldn’t be more wrong. While yes, technically it is another superhero movie, Black Panther promises to be so much more and should definitely be on the top of your to-do list in February, or at the very least on the top of your to-stream list.
And if you still need convincing, here are five reasons you should be really excited to watch Black Panther as soon as it comes out.
1. Michael B. Jordan is always awesome
Michael B. Jordan may be the bad guy in Black Panther, but he’s also one of the biggest attractions – and for good reason. Much like his namesake, most of what Jordan touches turns to gold (we’re ignoring the Hornets in this comparison).
While it was starring as Adonis Creed in the Rocky sequel film Creed in 2015 that really thrust his star into the mainstream spotlight, his roles in Fruitvale Station, Friday Night Lights, The Wire and Parenthood have all been standout performances that prove he is the real deal.
However, while he is not top billing, this is Jordan’s first run at being the bad guy and it will be interesting to see how the guy you’d love to introduce to your parents takes on that role.
2. It features a mainly all-black cast
While Michael B. Jordan is, well, awesome, he’s also only the tip of the iceberg as director Ryan Coogler has assembled a star-studded cast of A-listers and talented up and comers. And the best part? Top billing is comprised of a mainly all-black ensemble: Chadwick Boseman of the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 takes on the role of T’Challa and is supported by the amazing Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong’o, The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira and, last but not least, the legendary Forest Whitaker.
With Hollywood coming under fire for being too whitewashed (and let’s be real, it is), Coogler is leading by example with his casting. Previously very vocal about Black Panther needing a black director, his calls were answered and the Marvel franchise couldn’t be in more capable hands, with Coogler having previously worked on the critically-acclaimed Fruitvale Station and Creed.
Having a mainly all-black cast highlights how whitewashed comics and Hollywood in general have been in the past. Rarely are superheroes and their sidekicks anything but Caucasian.
It also ensures that audiences will have their eyes opened to an embarrassingly underrepresented culture, as Coogler has done intensive research to take inspiration from cultures of South Africa, the Basotho people of Lesotho, and the Dogon people of Mali, to make the film as authentic as possible.
3. Africa and ‘Black Panther’s’ origin as the focal point
The movie is set in Africa as the Black Panther franchise starts out with an entire movie dedicated to T’Challa’s origin story. It could have easily started at a different point in Black Panther‘s story, using flashbacks as a means to introduce the audience to his origin – but the conscious choice to dive right into the superhero’s origin story is a big W in our books.
Parts of the film are set in Wakanda, a fictional country in Northeast Africa. Wakanda is one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations in Marvel’s universe, thanks to an abundance of Vibranium, the stuff Captain America’s shield is made out of, and the fact that it has never been colonized.
Wakanda signifies the strength and resilience of an African nation that firmly has its future in its own hands. Writer Ta Nehisi Coates’ vision of the powerful isolationist nation plays a part in dispelling racist Western narratives that Africa is somehow inferior to the rest of the world.
The country has been reimagined as a culture-conscious metropolis, modelled after places like Dubai, Egypt and Seoul, all of which have been able to modernize without losing their rich history and culture.
4. Marvel’s trademark stunning visuals
Marvel is known for its stunning visuals and high quality CGI. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Black Panther looks to be no less visually stunning than the rest of Marvel’s universe.
Part of it is that the underrepresented, and therefore unknown, setting of Africa lends itself beautifully to the big screen with its vibrant culture. The other part is that the world of Black Panther is being seen on the big screen for the first time and Marvel is known for going all-out when debuting a new character or part of its universe.
5. Black Panther’s suit, man!
What is a superhero without a suit? Just a delusional vigilante trying to stop the bad guys. That’s why every good superhero needs a suit and, like most parts of this film, Black Panther’s suit is a work of art.
Updated from when we were first introduced to the suit in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa’s garms look to have a slightly redesigned helmet and an overall less bulky aesthetic. All black with what looks like titanium accents ensure T’Challa debuts in nothing less than the best.
The suit truly is fit for a king and Boseman rocks it in both of the trailers we have seen so far.
Now find out why Netflix is still killing the streaming game.
- Photography: Marvel Studios