What’s a king to a god?
The recent release of the teaser trailer to black panther has taught us one fact. Marvel never gets bored exciting us. The impressive almost-two-minutes trailer conforms intelligently to the maxim that less is more. The trailer begins promisingly, with an interrogation scene between Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaw and Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross, reprising their roles from Avengers: Age of Ultron and Civil War respectively (and thus, ensuring the overall cohesion and continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). They speak in hushed tones of ‘el dorado’ which is revealed by Klaw to be the fictional central African power of wakanda, which our hero T’Challa – played with the usual steely we’ve come to expect from chadwick boseman – rules after the events of civil war.
A crucial perspective that the viewer gains is that Wakanda’s third world country front is just that, a front as we are greeted by a set of stunning visuals that capture the very essence of wakandan culture. The plethora of bold and bright colours look like shots from tv series utopia, combining a sleek modern (or alien) aesthetic with a bold kaleidoscope of tints and tastes. This is sure to be a film that is cinematographically vibrant and captivating.
We are also greeted with the suit of the black panther which had its previous outing in last year’s Captain America Civil war. A textured suit which invokes as much dread as the site of tony stark in full armour, the woven vibranium seems to be the undercurrent which plays a vital role in the upcoming film and we are teased by its otherworldly origins. As a self-confessed fanboy, this raises anticipation even more.
Yet, what this trailer really underpins is the diverse nature of its cast. Marvel are renowned for pushing the boundaries of superhero franchises and the diverse cast, including Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya and Boseman himself reflect this refreshing stance. While the final product is up for debate, the trailer establishes the visual and cultural strength of the wakandan nation.
Black panther is no enigma in the superhero canon. We have seen in the recent stellar guardians of the galaxy 2, the powerhouse that is logan and the edgy brilliance of deadpool that superhero movies are continuously improving and honing their overall cohesion and sense of place and time. In black panther it is refreshing to see a viewpoint that is less white and male and more rich in its reflection of different ethnicities. Over in the DC camp, the rousing success of wonder woman has taught us that is a long time since 2008’s Iron Man.
One thing we can hope from the black panther film, due out in 2018, that it grows and expands the marvel universe into something wholly unique. A universe founded upon a mutual respect for great storytelling which moves beyond casting by the numbers and into more varied and stimulating terrain. Ultimately, one can only hope that marvel augment a universe already brimming with life.
Words by James Hill