That Black Panther exists is a dream come true. It’s progressive from concept to execution: our first modern black superhero, one supported by a cast of women, and contextualizes discussions of race, exclusionism, and cultural responsibility at a time of profound nationalism and political divide. One could argue that Black Panther would’ve been a success no matter what, but the fact that the film chooses to say something so pivotal about the world is what makes Black Panther Marvel’s strongest movie to date. T’Challa may need his strength taken away to prove his worth, but director Ryan Coogler and his crew flex their strengths as filmmakers to showcase the storytelling wonders of representation. Continue reading
“I can do this all day,” Steve Rogers once said in the face of adversity. The words are a measure of his resolve and his unflinching determination to do the right thing. Rogers has indeed come a long way from holding a trashcan lid in that alleyway. Those same words get a nostalgic repeat in Civil War, but is tinged with loss and heartbreak. Because Rogers isn’t facing a bully anymore, but a friend. So what does doing the right thing mean if your own friend is in the way? Where do you compromise, if at all? And how long can you keep fighting until something breaks for good? Continue reading
“The city is flying, we’re fighting robots – and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.” Correction, Hawkeye, none of this should make sense. But it does. A superfast whiz-kid, a telekinetic enchantress, a synthesized A.I. Throw in a tidal wave of robot drones and you’d think the film would tip over from the massive weight of its characters. Amazingly, writer-director Joss Whedon keeps everything grounded, even when the plot calls for many, many things to soar simultaneously. Age of Ultron is a funnier, darker, and far more action-packed film than its predecessor, but not necessarily a better one. Still, there’s plenty of things to marvel at in this worthy sequel.
With Marvel having laid the groundwork for their cinematic universe, they were now free to branch out and go bigger. As if they hadn’t already. So what comes next? More importantly, what becomes of these characters in the wake of The Avengers? Such is the question that Marvel had to answer moving forward. While it’s tough to not root for another superhero mash-up, Marvel reminds us that these characters are individuals with their own stories to tell. This is Phase Two. Continue reading
“The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more.” Not a bad idea after all. The Avengers was the culmination of Marvel’s long-gestating Phase One and perhaps their most ambitious risk by far. It wasn’t a question of should they, but could they? Could Marvel weave these individual characters into a larger narrative without compromising who they are? More importantly, could you keep them grounded once the high-flying spectacle kicked into overdrive? Director Joss Whedon had a lot to live up to, and he rose to the occasion. An event film for the ages, The Avengers delivered on the promise Marvel made in back in 2006 and left us desperately wanting more. Continue reading