‘Black Panther,’ 10 Months On

It’s difficult to believe that this movie was released in 2018. There’s been so much news since February, cinematic and otherwise, that it feels like ‘Black Panther’ is a film from years ago.

But of course it isn’t, and of course it stands a good chance of taking home some Oscars in another couple months. So let’s take a moment to look at the movie again and see if it has anything different to say, almost a year after its initial splash.

The movie’s visuals hold up, but maybe that goes without saying. The Marvel technical team knows what it’s doing by now, and this film’s CG, costumes, and effects all still look fantastic.

And the same goes for the performances. So many talented Black actors are brought to the forefront, finally getting prolonged exposure to a mainstream audience. The same goes for the director, Ryan Coogler, who managed to come out of the Disney meatgrinder unscathed.

The story itself remains a bit of a sticking point for me. I had some problems with it in the theater and upon a Netflix rewatch, those problems came right back.

They mostly have to do with the villain’s motivations being almost entirely justifiable, and with our protagonist’s lack of human moments. T’Challa just doesn’t feel as fully formed as just about any other character on-screen. And maybe that has something to do with the sheer amount of work laid on this character.

He has to go from unknown action hero to sympathetic underdog to the redeemer of an entire people, one who we don’t mind has given in to what feels like petty nationalism. He simply doesn’t have enough time to become a real human character.

Instead, Erik Killmonger becomes a glowing antihero, one that the audience sympathizes with. And this unintentional twist doesn’t deprive the movie of value, instead, it makes it more interesting than many of the Marvel installments.

And who knows, maybe we’re likely to get more movies like this in 2019, movies that follow a formula but still find ways to break the mold. We can only hope.  

Sonic the Hedgehog Poster Revealed

Paramount recently released a poster for the upcoming Sonic movie, centered on the main character from Sega’s extremely successful decades-long video game franchise.

The poster has received largely negative feedback, based largely on the strange and slightly disconcerting design of the title character.

The design seems to be following the lead of another video game-based movie, ‘Pokemon Detective Pikachu,’ which features character designs that make use of a realistic fur texture on many characters, as opposed to a clean, glossy look that has been used in other iterations of both Pokemon and Sonic the Hedgehog.

The new Sonic also features human-like limbs, including some disturbingly muscular legs.

And while Sonic has a famously dedicated fan following, despite disappointing game installments, many fans have taken the opportunity to express their concern, and sometimes fear, in response to the new design.