Marvel Silver Age superhero Black Panther first appeared in comics in the July 1966 issue of the hit series Fantastic Four. The character was the first superhero with an African heritage. The recent movie of Black Panther (2018) was a success from its first appearance in Los Angeles on 29/01/2018. The project had been announced as early as 1992 when actor Wesley Snipes was interested in playing the role. After several failed attempts to begin the film, it was finally put in production in 2016-17, with director Ryan Coogler. In his youth, Coogler had read the original Black Panther Marvel comic book series and took and took making the movie as a matter of personal importance: “(the film) is just as personal to me as the last couple of films I was able to make... I feel really fortunate to be able to work on something I’m this passionate about again”.
So too, director Coogler was determined to make the film distinctive, a different viewing experience to the standard Marvel movie. Working thus with his preferred collaborators, Coogler explained what he saw as the popular appeal of the Marvel strategy:
“What Marvel’s doing ... is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that’s a great creative challenge to me—to make this movie as personal as possible. It’s going to be my most personal movie to date, which is crazy to say, but it’s completely the case. I’m obsessed with this character and this story right now, and I think it’s going to be very unique and still fit into the overall narrative that they’re establishing. I grew up as a comic book fan, and the same things used to happen in the comic books. You’d have Wolverine’s books, and they’d be so much darker and more brutal than the X-Men books, but they’d still fit in when you open the pages of the X-Men book. It’s new to movies, but it’s not new to storytelling.”
The investment in the screen version of the Marvel strategy proved worthwhile. Black Panther became the first film in the popular Marvel comics series t feature a mostly African-American cast. Soon grossing over $1.2 billion worldwide, it is the most successful movie of 2018 to date. Indeed, it is the 5th highest money-making film in the US ever made. Within weeks of its release on cinema screens, Black Panther proved more popular that previous Marvel fan favorites Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man.
Neglected Virtues: Black Pantther (2018)
Publication date: 02.04.2018
Marrvel moviedom's first African superhero
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