Marvel Black Panther
Marvels black panther is finally here, and it looks incredible. If there was ever any doubt about how Black Panther, one of Marvel’s more enigmatic and under-appreciated superheroes, would fare on the big screen, this two-minute spot should put those fears to rest. There’s political intrigue, a sci-fi utopia, and plenty of action to look forward to, with a largely black cast put right on center stage. But more than being just generally entertaining, this trailer is dense. Director Ryan Coogler has clearly done his homework on Black Panther lore, pulling in threads and ideas from some of the character’s best stories over his 50 year history. Let’s break some of them down.
Right off the bat, it should strike you that a movie trailer about the first black superhero in mainstream comics opens on a meeting between two white characters. That’s almost certainly by design. We’ve met both of these characters before and they provide a window into a world that has been a complete mystery to us and the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until now. Let’s start with Everett K. Ross, played by Martin Freeman. He was first introduced in a minor role in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, but he’ll play a major part in this film as T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) key American ally. His role pulls directly from Christopher Priest’s classic 1998 Black Panther run, where Ross is a hapless government agent assigned to keep an eye on T’Challa during a diplomatic crisis. Just like in the comics, he initially knows little about Wakanda. But is he ever going to learn.
A KING RETURNS
The crux of the film looks like it’ll have to do with T’Challa returning to Wakanda to claim the throne. His father, King T’Chaka, was killed in Civil War, so it’s now up to T’Challa to rule and deal with the drama that comes with his new duties. It’s from his point of view that we really see Wakanda for the first time. The first place we see is Warrior Falls, where his coronation will take place.
A major challenge for T’Challa will be the factions vying for supremacy in Wakanda, a theme writer Ta-Nehisi Coates touched on in his recent run in the comics. Wakanda has numerous tribes across its numerous regions with varying levels of influence, even though the Black Panther is the leader of the entire country. One powerful figure among those tribes is Man-Ape (Winston Duke), another Panther villain who appears late in the trailer.
Marvel’s Black Panther
One more thing. That purple blast before we see Black Panther flip off a destroyed car almost certainly comes from his suit, meaning we’ll get the chance to see what he can really do. The vibranium armor T’Challa wears is arguably as advanced as Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor, only with the emphasis put on stealth and agility instead of flight. With it, he can fire powerful energy blasts, scale buildings, and take gunfire without so much as blinking an eye.
There’s so much more that we still don’t know about what’s to come for this movie. (Which is good! Trailers really shouldn’t give everything away!) But there’s plenty to be excited about, particularly for new and long-time Black Panther fans.
Black Panther hits theaters on February 16th.