Tag Archives: Ryan Coogler

Black Panther (2018) Review

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Michael B. Jordan as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens
Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia
Danai Gurira as Okoye
Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross
Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi
Letitia Wright as Shuri
Winston Duke as M’Baku
Angela Bassett as Ramonda
Forest Whitaker as Zuri
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
Director: Ryan Coogler

After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

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Black Panther was one of my most anticipated films of 2018. Not only was it a Marvel movie and one focussing on Black Panther (who became one of my favourite MCU characters after Civil War) and not only does it have a fantastic cast, Ryan Coogler directed it. Coogler had already established himself as a director to pay attention to after Fruitvale Station and Creed, so naturally I was excited to see him work on a comic book movie. Black Panther definitely had the potential to be one of the best MCU films and having seen it, I can say that it didn’t disappoint.

Black Panther is yet another Marvel comic book movie and there are aspects of it that feel like a Marvel movie but yet it feels quite fresh and new. After the first few scenes, I was riveted with Black Panther through to the very end. The characters were really memorable and established very well. The themes explored in the movie was really effective and the social commentary was applied well and didn’t feel forced at all, they were very well integrated into the story. The MCU often had a problem with its humour, but Black Panther’s was effective for the most part and most importantly didn’t kill any dramatic or emotional moment just for a joke. Black Panther also doesn’t feel like it’s too connected to the rest of the MCU, there are character’s like Martin Freeman’s Ross and Andy Serkis’s Klaue who were in other Marvel movies and there may be a brief reference to the MCU but on the whole it’s standalone. On another note, there are a couple of post credit scenes, I liked them both but the first of them really should’ve been part of the actual movie itself. I’ve noticed that recent MCU movies such as Thor Ragnarok and Captain America Civil War have post credit scenes which don’t just tease the future movies but are also important to the actual movie itself, so when these scenes are placed after the credits it feels like they just didn’t know where to put the scene. I just wished that they would handle these scenes better.

The characters in Black Panther are great and Coogler has a fantastic cast playing them. Chadwick Boseman is once again great as T’Challa/Black Panther. T’Challa is quite a different character compared to the other MCU heroes, he is more serious and isn’t a constant humorous quipper like some of the more recent characters like Ant Man, but he does have moments of levity. More importantly though, he is a king and so it feels very fresh and new watching this type of character in the lead role. With his solo movie, T’Challa once again shows himself to be one of the best characters in the MCU and Boseman again killed it. The supporting cast with Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and others do quite well, Letitia Wright was particularly a stand out as T’Challa’s sister. It’s common for Marvel villains to not be that great, every so often you’ll have a Loki or a Vulture but on the whole, they just end up being passable. Thankfully, not only is Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger great, he is one of the best villains in this cinematic universe. He is very well established and written and you can really understand why he does the things he does and maybe even agree with his views, even if you don’t agree with his methods. Aside from an early scene though, he’s mostly just in the second half of the movie, however he absolutely steals every scene he’s in. The other villain is Andy Serkis as Klaue (who was established in Avengers Age of Ultron in a rare motion-capture-less role) and he is very entertaining when he’s on screen.

Ryan Coogler once again shows himself to be a really great director. The action scenes were great, very well shot and choregraphed. Coogler also portrayed the fictional country of Wakanda greatly, from the production design to the costume design, everything feels different from anything you’ve seen. There are some truly great cinematography at times. The music was also really good, one of the more memorable score of the MCU movies. There were some action sequences that took place at night that were difficult to see and the CG as times looked a little fake, especially with some of the big action sequences, however they aren’t close to being the worse CG ever. Despite these aspects, most of the direction was great.

Black Panther was really great and surpassed my expectations. Yes it’s entertaining and watching the action sequences are enjoyable but it’s really the story and characters that stood out the most to me. It separated itself from other Marvel and comic book movies and is really something special. I don’t know yet if I’d call it the best MCU movie but it’s at least in the top 2, and after many movies since Captain America The Winter Soldier, that’s saying a lot.

Creed (2015) Review

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Creed

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Michael B. Jordan as Adonis “Donnie” Johnson Creed
Sylvester Stallone as Robert “Rocky” Balboa, Sr.
Tessa Thompson as Bianca
Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed
Wood Harris as Tony “Little Duke” Evers
Tony Bellew as “Pretty” Ricky Conlan
Director: Ryan Coogler

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of the famous boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in a boxing match in Rocky IV. Adonis wasn’t born until after his father’s death and wants to follow his father’s footsteps in boxing. He seeks a mentor who is the former heavyweight boxing champion and former friend of Apollo Creed, the retired Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky eventually agrees to mentor Adonis. With Rocky’s help they hope to get a title job to face even deadlier opponents than his father. But whether he is a true fighter remains to be seen….

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I haven’t watched many of the Rocky movies, I only really watched the first one; so although I was interested in seeing this movie for stars Michael B. Jordan and returning Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone as well as director Ryan Coogler, Creed wasn’t something that I couldn’t wait to see until I heard tremendous acclaim. Everyone is saying that this is the best Rocky film since the original, as I haven’t seen any of the other films I can’t attest to that, but I’m sure that’s the case. However calling Creed a Rocky movie or a boxing movie for that matter, is cutting it short in how incredible it is.

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Ryan Coogler was an interesting choice as director for a Rocky film, seeing as how he only did one film beforehand but as I said earlier, calling Creed a Rocky movie is cutting it short. He did an excellent job with this film. First of all the writing and dialogue is spectacular. I really liked the character of Adonis, he was going through a journey similar but different from Rocky. One thing I like about this is that Adonis is trying to make his own mark on the world without riding the coattails of his father’s name while this movie fights to make its own place in cinema without riding the coattails of the Rocky name. This is what I’m hoping Star Wars: The Force Awakens does, to be great as the previous movies but at the same time is its own thing as well. I also like how you don’t have to have watched the previous Rocky movies or any boxing movies in order to love it like I did.

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Michael B. Jordan shows once again that he is a great actor. He sells both the physical and emotional aspects and this might be his best performance to date. Another person that should be mentioned is Sylvester Stallone. He is absolutely incredible in this movie, I don’t know the last time I’ve seen him give a performance this good. I actually think it’s possible to be nominated (and perhaps win) for best supporting actor, I don’t usually think of these sorts of things but he’s that good.

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The scenes were incredibly well shot, all the environments look dark and real and this really added to the tone of the film. There aren’t many boxing scenes in this movie but when it’s there, it puts you right in the middle of the action. There are many highlights, the end fight was good but the fight I personally thought was the best was the one previously where I swear, all of it is done in one shot. I don’t know if there was any camera tricks used but it looked authentic and real and even if it wasn’t done in one shot, it’s incredible that they made it look like it.

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Creed is hands down one of the best films of the year. The real performances from Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone as well as the great story by Ryan Coogler, makes it an unforgettable experience. Even if you aren’t a big Rocky fan or a big fan of boxing movies, you should check it out as soon as possible. I don’t know if there are going to be any more Creed movies but if there is, I’m definitely looking forward to them, Jordan, Stallone and Coogler have made an amazing movie and one of the best of 2015 for sure.