Marvel’s Black Panther Movie

Marvel’s Black Panther

By Erin

The time has finally come! The next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther, is out!  In 2016, we welcomed T’Challa/Black Panther to the big screen and he was introduced to us in “Captain America: Civil War,” the record-breaking hit film that pitted the Avengers against one another. When the Black Panther character debuted in the ’60s it was a daring move for the Marvel bullpen of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to introduce this new character, an African character who is smarter than many of the other heroes and is stronger than most of the other heroes. To be able to put that on the big screen fifty years later is incredibly exciting to see!

Over the years, plans for rolling out a “Black Panther” chapter into the Marvel Studios pipeline had been discussed, but it ultimately came to fruitation when Feige opted to showcase Black Panther in “Civil War” as a springboard for a stand-alone feature film, so here we are with this masterpiece.

Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) ©Marvel Studios 2018

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, afer the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, he returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to take his rightful place as King. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. It’s a very powerful film and I wanted to share some fun facts about the film before (or after if you’ve already seen it!) you head out to go see it.

  • Marvel’s Black Panther character made his debut in the comic book world in “Fantastic Four Vol. 1” Issue 52, published in 1966.
  • An important part of the Black Panther lore incorporated into the film is the Dora Milaje, the cadre of strong fierce women who serve as the personal security force to the King and royal family. These tall, statuesque, bald-headed warrior women, who move as one, command attention wherever they go.
  • Led by Danai Gurira’s character, Okoye, the Dora Milaje security force features an international contingent of women from all over the world, including Florence Kasumba who returns to play Ayo, a character that first appeared in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War.” The Dora Milaje were cast from a pool of actresses, stunt women and Broadway dancers so that each individual Dora could have specialized skills that they brought to the table.

Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) Photo: Matt Kennedy© Marvel Studios 2018

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Thor: Ragnarok Review

Thor: Ragnarok

By Devon

Vivid. Dazzling. Flashy. Intense. All words that come to mind when I watch the new Thor: Ragnarok, coming to theaters today, November 3rd.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..Thor (Chris Hemsworth)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

This third Thor film begins with a battle going on between Thor and Surtur, a fire demon. Thor learns that his father, Odin, is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm itself will soon fall to Ragnarok if Surtur places his crown on the Eternal Flame. Ultimately, Thor defeats Surtur and makes his way to Asgard, believing Ragnarok has been prevented. However, coming to Asgard, he finds his brother, Loki, posing as Odin; they travel together to Earth where they find Stephen Strange. Stephen leads them to a dying Odin, who explains that his firstborn daughter, Hela, will be released upon his passing.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..L to R: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

The movie advances from there, introducing several new and lovable characters along the way. From the very beginning of the movie, I knew this was going to have a very different feel from the others in the Thor storyline. If you read my post about the press junket I attended where I was able to interview members of the cast from this movie, you’ll remember me saying that Taika Waititi worked with the entire cast wanting to give this movie “a new sensibility.”

There’s definitely a lot more humor in this movie than in the others; in a good way, of course. Chris Hemsworth portrays a much more witty Thor than we’ve seen before, and it definitely sets a good balance between the comedic side and the dark and dramatic side. I never would’ve pinned Chris Hemsworth as the next to come out as a comedic outbreak, but he sure proved that he was. His wit and charisma that plays along with most characters he comes into contact with throughout the movie put such a different spin on the entire Thor series of the MCU, but I think it was a necessary twist given how dark the previous Thor was. But of course, that all gets balanced out as well, with the introduction of Hela, Cate Blanchett’s character. Hela is Odin’s firstborn daughter, the goddess of death. She is dark and mysterious, and has Thor and Loki confused as to her existence and where she even came from, as all history of her in Asgard has been hidden away since her imprisonment. Adorning head-to-toe black and a headdress that reminds the crowd of horns, she manifests weapons and was able to destroy Thor’s beloved hammer within minutes of being introduced to her. She’s such a powerful villain that leaves all of the heroes wondering how to defeat her, and Cate Blanchett really pushes that narrative with such an impressive and dominant portrayal, she definitely steals the show when she’s on screen.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..Hela (Cate Blanchett) ..Ph: Teaser Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

One of the new characters we met was Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, a mercenary who we find capturing Thor and taking him to serve the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, who is the ruler of this planet named Sakaar. Tessa Thompson did a wonderful job portraying Valkyrie, who once defended Asgard against Hela long ago, and now works for the Grandmaster. Valkyrie is a very strong character, both physically and mentally, as she easily holds her own against the likes of both Thor and Loki. Not only in character though, Tessa’s portrayal is so strong that she doesn’t just fall to a side character, she’s so well integrated that it actually leaves you wanting more from her. If the idea of a stand-alone Valkyrie movie were to come to fruition, I think it would do some wonderful justice in building up such a powerful female hero.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster is the twisted, eccentric ruler of Sakaar. The Grandmaster was such an amusing character to watch, being both somewhat sarcastic but also somewhat sadistic, in a way where he pins warriors together to fight tooth and nail in his Contest of Champions. Watching Jeff portray the Grandmaster, you can definitely tell he took the idea and ran with it. I definitely think his talent as a jazz musician added to the character improvisation as well, with the way the Grandmaster talks and sways when he walks.

Marvel Studios Thor: Ragnarok..L to R: Topaz (Rachel House), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)..Photo: Jasin Boland..©Marvel Studios 2017

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Meeting the Cast of Thor: Ragnarok

Meeting the Cast of Thor: Ragnarok

By Devon Biroczky

The newest addition into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thor: Ragnarok, the next story in which our beloved God of Thunder is trying to save Asgard from complete and utter chaos. I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing the cast from this flashy movie and talking with them all about how it came to be.

·         Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”)

·         Mark Ruffalo (“Bruce Banner / The Hulk”)

·         Cate Blanchett (“Hela”)

·         Tom Hiddleston (“Loki”)

·         Jeff Goldblum (“Grandmaster”)

·         Tessa Thompson (“Valkyrie”)

·         Karl Urban (“Skurge”)

·         Rachel House (“Topaz”)

·         Director Taika Waititi (also “Korg”)

·         Producer Kevin Feige

Immediately into the press junket, it already started lightheartedly as the host was introducing everybody, and saved Chris Hemsworth for last, joking about how he skipped over him as we watched Chris try to squeeze himself in between everybody and the tables to get to his seat in the middle.

When you go see this movie, which opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd, you will notice what exactly I meant when I said this movie was flashy. I will be going over that more on Friday in my review, but for right now, just trust me when I tell you how lively it really is. Everybody in the cast had wonderful things to say about Taika Waititi’s style of directing and how he was able to take their shared vision and transfer it the way he did. Chris Hemsworth said it best when he was explaining it, “it all came from his crazy, wonderful brain, and his inspiration, and him pushing us every day on set, and constantly encouraging us to improvise, and explore, and take risks.”

Kevin Fiege also agreed when it came to everybody wanting to reinvent the series, taking everything that they knew about Thor and wanting to give it a new sensibility. You’ll notice that in this movie, there is more humor than in the Thor movies prior, and Kevin credits Taika again with giving the actors the confidence to be able to explore that side of them.

Especially looking at The Hulk and the role he plays in this movie. We see him much more in this movie and it inspired somebody to ask Mark Ruffalo on his thoughts about doing a stand-alone Hulk movie. Mark explained to us that he and Kevin had a discussion “well over a year ago” where Kevin had asked him what he would want to do if he had a stand-alone movie. They went back and forth and created these ideas, which they ended up implementing into Thor: Ragnarok and will be in the next two Avengers movies. Kevin goes on to explain that they’re all very excited about the upcoming character arc for The Hulk in these next three movies, so they’re going to take it one step at a time.

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