As they did this past April, Marvel and Walt Disney dropped a surprise trailer for their next MCU movie right at the start of the week. No TV premiere, no trailer for the trailer, just Here you go…! In that sense, it feels almost quaint and old-fashioned. Of course, that’s what I get for not checking my email for 25 whole minutes, but I digress. We’ve got another (and perhaps the final) Black Panther trailer, and it looks quite, well, marvelous. This really does look like something special.
Without casting shade or negative mojo at the rest of Marvel’s upcoming slate, Black Panther is the one that excites me the most. I myself am a big Ryan Coogler fan, as I imagine most of you are after watching Fruitvale Station and Creed. And I love the idea of an MCU movie that is essentially Batman meets 007, with a superhero whose superpower is essentially being a wealthy action badass who also dresses up very nicely for globe-trotting adventures. Added some amazing Wakanda production design that would make Luc Besson take notice and it’s another entertaining meshing of super heroics and outright genre, in this case, an international espionage actioner where Moneypenny kicks as much butt as James Bond.
And, to be honest, any film that featured Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Phylicia Rashad and Michael B. Jordan would have my attention. Yes, it will be amazing to see a big-budget comic book superhero film starring a black man (and written/directed by black moviemakers), and we shouldn’t underestimate the appeal for respective demographics of witnessing heroes and villains who look like Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o headlining megabucks action dream blockbusters.
To me, a white guy who has been patronized in 90% of all big-scale movies, Black Panther may just be another MCU movie that comes between Thor Ragnarok and Avengers Infinity War. But to audiences who were thrilled by the mere cameo appearance of Florence Kasumba in Captain America Civil War, a movie like this is literally the cinematic event of a lifetime. No, I’m not saying this will play like Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.’s Wonder Woman, but it’s a similar scenario.
The trailer, in particular, introduces general audiences to Wakanda while giving just a hint of the playful humor that Boseman brings to otherwise prestigious biopics like 42 and Marshall and dark action dramas like Message for the King (clearly he cuts loose quite a bit more in Get On Up). We get tons of Black Panther pouncing around like, well, a cat, together with bits and pieces arguing that A) the world of Black Panther is intriguing even for those overdoing on MCU films and B) this seemingly stand-alone film really does matter in the grand Marvel Cinematic Universe narrative. And while the world may be affected, it doesn’t look like the world is in peril, which is a nice touch.
Okay, that’s enough for now. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther opens Feb. 16, 2018. So that gives us just under four months to practice our “Shocked… shocked!” faces when this one breaks bigger than normal for an origin story MCU flick. Alas, if this goes more than just big, we may have to begin referring to Batman as DC’s Black Panther. The three images contained are all courtesy of Walt Disney.