It is easy to see why Marvel’s newest outing ‘Black Panther’ is both a critical and financial success (and not just because it is the eighteenth installment in the still-going-strong Marvel Cinematic Universe). It is the perfect superhero movie for our troubled times; as timely as it is beautiful and thrilling. The inhabitants of the technologically advanced city of Wakanda are not just an ensemble of talented black actors, they are strong characters who hold their own and never back down from a challenge when the time calls for it, yet they are not portrayed as proud, they are as human as we all are, with regrets, challenges, and choices that lead them to where they are. These elements make up the heart of ‘Black Panther’.
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There are many ways to describe ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ without revealing too much of the story; it is humorous, well-choreographed with amazing direction by Rian Johnson, (‘Looper’) exciting, and fun as a ‘Star Wars’ movie should be. It could also be described is having way too much, or not enough to focus on; which could be a bad thing if you want the most epic movie-going experience; or way too long. (‘The Last Jedi’ clocks in at 2 hours and 34 minutes, making it the longest in the franchise by far) Thankfully, Johnson and the crew at the Walt Disney Studios know how to keep audiences invested, no matter how ridiculous or over-the-top things are, even if he does not match the awe and wonder of J. J. Abrams’ ‘The Force Awakens’, which felt more like fan service. I guess you could say that Disney has been on a role with Marvel Studios and LucasFilm in terms of comedy and action.
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