Jun 10, 2017

Trailing Off: "Black Panther" (2018)

Scene from Black Panther
Welcome to the sporadic column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion

Directed By: Ryan Coogler
Written By: Joe Robert Cole & Ryan Coogler (Screenplay), Jack Kirby & Stan Lee (Comic Book)
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o

- Preamble -

At this point, it would almost be too easy to just release a new Marvel movie and know that the audience would show up. Every film has become part of a brand that is impossible to ignore in the modern era, where every character seems to be on the verge of becoming a household name. Even as audiences scrutinize which movies were good and bad, there's one agreement. They will be there for the next one. As 2017 continues to go through its run of Marvel movies, it's interesting to note that it feels like a new era at times for them. Spiderman: Homecoming feels like a chance to make the character more youthful and science-oriented. Thor: Ragnarok feels like it's trying to be Guardians of the Galaxy (probably for good reasons). Now Black Panther comes along and does something more novelty but hopefully more fulfilling: bring an origin story for the first black superhero in quite some time.
It's funny to think that Black Panther is already a familiar character, even if few people can recall much of his back story. However, Captain America: Civil War did a decent job of establishing new characters that will play into the extended universe in the years going forward. Again, there's plenty to love about Black Panther just by his limited screen time in that movie. He looks cool and had some memorable scenes. Now the question is if he'll do a good job. Considering that he has Ryan Coogler in tow, fresh off of Creed, it's easy to think that maybe this will continue to help keep Marvel's brand fresh and exciting.
I for one am curious to know how this film will do. In the wake of Wonder Woman's overwhelming success, it is nice to see everyone that is not a white male getting a chance to lead their own movie. I am curious to see where Black Panther goes, and what his journey will end up being. I don't know much about him other than that he'll be part of The Avengers going forward, and hopefully will be a hero of note during that time. Until that is proven, I will watch the trailer and hope that they do him justice of sorts.

- Dissection -

I am not entirely sure what is going on over at Mavel, but they at least are improving their teaser game. Thor: Ragnarok felt new and exciting despite being the third film in that franchise. It was full of humor and life. Now with Black Panther, there's an attitude and life to the trailer that is at very least succeeding at what it is supposed to. It teases a new and fascinating world that isn't far removed from our own. It's in Africa, and it has a very weird and mystical vibe to it that makes me wonder what makes Wakanda so special. I worry that it will be very much a jungle adventure movie with Andy Serkis, but I do think that I will put up with it provided that the story can be progressed to whatever awesome stuff the Black Panther will do.
To be fair, it does look like the Black Panther will do a lot of awesome stuff. He's bulletproof and flexible beyond belief. Beyond that both ridiculous and fun final shot where he back flips off of a wrecked car onto a moving one, it has a lot that could be nitpicked without giving away too much story. Why is Michael B. Jordan's hair that way? What does any of this supporting cast have to do with the universe going forward. If nothing else, it looks like it will break the curse of negative black stereotypes in movies by making someone who fights tough and looks good while doing it. 
With all of this said, adding Run the Jewels was an excellent touch. Their music has the bravado to make anything better. By making the music fit with the tone of the trailer, it adds an aggression that makes the characters cooler. While it's disappointing that Marvel hasn't been great at iconic scores, at least they repurpose classic pop tunes in ways that improve their stories. It's a tactic that they clearly used in Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man to big success and now will use it in place of humdrum music. I like the choice, especially if they produce a scene that is halfway as cool as this trailer.

- One Sentence Sell -

Marvel returns with a black superhero that's going to kick your butt.

- Trove or Trash -

Again, this is how you do a teaser trailer. It gives away enough to get the viewer curious enough, but doesn't give away too much. As it stands, it makes me want to know more about Black Panther and keeps me optimistic about this cinematic universe. 

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