On Reboots and Change


I haven’t seen the Black Panther movie yet.  I will, but probably not in the theatre.  I haven’t been to a movie theatre in years, it’s really not my thing.  I do want to see it, but…ugh, theatres.  I’m glad the Black Panther movie is killing it at the box office though, because, as an old-school comics fan, these are the caliber of comics films that I wish had been available to me when I was a kid, or even a young adult.  And we need more movies like Black Panther right now.  Because…superhero fatigue is starting to set in.  We’ve had 10 years of the MCU at this point, and before that DC had some very good entries with Batman (and really only Batman…).  The problem is, the last decade of comic book movies has been a lot like the recent life cycle of the comic books they’re derived from…endless reboots and retreads with very little originality.  How many Spider-Man reboots have we had at this point?

The comic book movies that have really shaken the firmament aren’t all that different from the ‘mainstream’ DC or MCU films, but it’s a testament to the sheer saturation of the market that we’re finally getting films like Deadpool, Wonder Woman, and Black Panther.  Are any of them original in any way?  Honestly…no.  They’re all ‘origin’ stories, and we’ve seen those before ad nauseum.  What we are finally seeing are superheroes with a different context – female empowerment, naughty language, and black pride.  It’s refreshing, and honestly, probably the only way to keep the larger franchises going at this point.  You can only have so much of the same-old same-old before fatigue sets in.  We all know what happened to the original Batman series that started in 1989…it got campy and day-glo, and lost a lot of the charm of the first two darker themed entries in the franchise (this of course isn’t a defense of DC’s overly dark Man of Steel and BvS, those were a mess partly because they tried to be as different from the MCU’s mix of humor and drama that they copyrighted fairly well).

Black Panther’s a character I’ve always loved.  He’s a genius, a warrior, a king, and his original costume (as shown above) was an understated masterpiece of design.  Basically a black leotard, check out the piping on the gloves and boots…that’s a nice added touch that elevates what could be a fairly pedestrian costume into something menacing and badass.  This isn’t to take pot-shots at Chadwick Boseman’s movie Black Panther costume, that thing looks awesome.  As do all the MCU costumes…they really raised their game on costume design from their earlier movies of the 90’s that looked too-faithful to the comics.  Those old costumes don’t necessarily translate well to the big screen, and that’s why the movie costumes have a much more technologically-flavored feel to them.  They reflect the science needed to bring an armored tactical suit to life.  I’m not going to say go see Black Panther when I’ve not seen it myself, but I have it on good word from friends that it does indeed rock (the press would back that up), so if you’re a theatre person, go check it out.  If you’re not into going to the movies, check out Chadwick Boseman in the James Brown biopic Get On Up.  He’s great as the King of Soul, although way too attractive (James Brown was incredibly funky, but he wasn’t a real looker).  I try to keep these posts short for readability, so that’s it for now.  Support Black Panther, we need more diversity in films – especially those marketed to a mainstream audience.