Films like Black Panther show how the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not shy away from bold creativity
With Black Panther in 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is poised to give the world a cultural phenomenon.
There is a reason why the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite having become formulaic with films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, holds a very special place in cinema.
And that reason is bold creativity. In 2008, the MCU sprang into life with Iron Man, which gave the world a superhero who shattered the archetype of the righteous, boring boy-scout hero obsessed with keeping his identity a secret. In 2012, the MCU brought together a team of superheroes in Marvel’s The Avengers in a way which has been copied by many superhero films which followed.
And with Black Panther in 2018, the MCU is poised to give the world a cultural phenomenon.
Whether Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther lives up to its hype will be seen on Friday. But the importance of the world’s first black superhero depicted in his own mainstream feature film with a predominantly black cast, at a time when a man like Donald Trump is the United States president, cannot be overstated.
One of the reasons why Black Panther is such a big deal in superhero films, despite the fact that there have been black superheroes earlier too, is the legacy of the character in comic books.
Apart from being the world’s first and probably the most popular black superhero, Black Panther is an extremely powerful character. For starters, he single-handedly defeated the Fantastic Four in their own comic. He is also the ruler of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda.
Black Panther’s superhuman abilities and the depiction of Wakanda, therefore, will definitely be the most exciting aspect of the upcoming film. Viewers got glimpses of the character’s raw energy and acrobatic skills in Captain America: Civil War and the trailers for Black Panther. And every aspect of the character seen so far, from his daredevil stunts to his nonchalant attitude to other superheroes, has been intriguing.
Wakanda also promises to be a refreshing new world in the MCU, probably as colourful and vibrant as Thor’s Asgard. This gives Coogler an opportunity to create brand new action set pieces with a look and feel of their own.
Another one of the most crucial reasons why Black Panther is an important MCU film is that Wakanda will definitely play a significant role in the MCU storyline. At the end of Civil War, Bucky Barnes is shown going to cryogenic sleep in Wakanda, which also happens to be the place where Captain America is taking refuge.
And with the amount of action in Wakanda shown in the trailer of Avengers: Infinity War, it is safe to assume that the film will significantly impact the events which take place in Infinity War and add much-needed complexity and variation to the MCU, something which cannot be said about many MCU films (looking at you, The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man).
Lastly, there are a lot of hopes riding on the villain, Erik Killmonger. What most superhero movies have forgotten lately is that a good villain — with convincing motivation rather than the plain old desire to conquer/destroy the world — is absolutely essential. That is what made The Dark Knight such a monumental film. And the lack of a good villain is also something which eventually made Wonder Woman a bit disappointing.
Needless to say, Black Panther needs to deliver on a lot of fronts. And if the critics are to be believed, it already has.
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