Marvel’s superhero “Black Panther” finally gets his proper feature-length movie introduction and it’s a rousing, involving adventure. The fact that most of the folks in front of and behind the camera are black makes it all the more compelling.
“Black Panther” as a movie is exceptional stuff. It’s one of the best of the 18 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a cultural touchstone “Black Panther” is beyond monumental. It’s transformative, fresh and a game-changer. Finally Africa is cool. And while this film positively celebrates African culture with amazing zeal it doesn’t necessarily wipe away the more than one hundred years of negativity Hollywood has portrayed when it comes to Africa but it comes close.
The cast is solid, the story has interesting social implications and Ryan Coogler displays a deft hand as director. While it runs a bit too long for its own good, “Black Panther” is a worthy addition that enriches the Marvel Universe.
“Black Panther” is arguably the best written comic book movie ever. The script is punctuated with real political insightfulness. And it features the most complex villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Michael B. Jordan is a revelation actually out-shining Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Overall, “Black Panther” is bold, it’s imagery powerful and best of all it is unapologetically black.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags
Shawn and Russ as the question: What's your favorite Marvel movie?
2) EARLY MAN (PG)
“Early Man” is the latest stop-motion animated farce from Aardman, the folks behind Wallace and Gromit. It purports to relate the origins of soccer, pitting cavemen against the Bronze Agers. It’s all very silly, but good fun for the junior soccer set.
Silly and juvenile.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags
3) FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL(R)
Sony Pictures Classics
The final days of Oscar-winning actress Gloria Graham provide the background for the low-key drama “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.” Annette Bening and Jamie Bell star in this story of a May-December romance between Graham and a young and struggling British actor. The story only scratches the surface of Graham’s fascinating life, but the actors it worth a look.
Annette Bening is great. But the story falls flat.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK: "Samson"is a faith-based production tells the ancient story of the Bible's strongman. “The Scent of Rain & Lightning” is a contemporary Western drama that was an award winner at last year’s Kansas City FilmFest. “The Female Brain” is a comedy about modern romance written and directed by standup comic Whitney Cummings. “Golden Exits” is a drama about a young Australian girl whose arrival upends the lives of folks from two Brooklyn families. Emily Browning and Jason Schwartzman star. “Poop Talk” is a documentary featuring a number of comics telling funny stories about poop.
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