Marvel Studios Black Panther

Black Panther: Continues the long line of strong African-American Performances

There’s been a lot of hype coming out of the latest Marvel superhero film. After the premier screening of Black Panther, fans have gone crazy over the first publicized comic book superhero. The movie deserves every bit of hype as the trailers have it looking like a thing of beauty. Both in content and visual effects. However, the buzz behind the film is a little cause for concern. When it comes to big-budget films, they’re often linked to being their first of their kind. Unfortunately, by commanding the attention of the masses they’ll often upstage the performances that helped pave way for their success.

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The shift in Hollywood has developed for some time now. Every since the “#Oscarssowhite” blew up Twitter, it brought to light the lack quality roles to African-American actors and actresses. While there’s still ground to be made up come award season, there has at least been progress when it comes to casting talent. While everyone is excited as they can get for the next big superhero film, Black Panther won’t be the film where it all started. It might be the first time a major studio has taken a gamble on a big budget film, but don’t discredit the foundation that has been laid over the past few years by game-changing actors.

While Michael B. Jordan might have been part of the forgettable Fantastic Four reboot he’s no stranger to superhero films. He played Cyborg on DC’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, often called one their top animated films. Outside of comic book roles, Jordan and director Ryan Cooler have laid their own foundation. The duo has had overwhelming success with Creed, the long-awaited Rocky franchise spinoff. After their hit Fruitville Station gained success at the Sundance Film Festival, it would go on from a limited release to worldwide gaining steam along the way. Having worked so well together, it will be no surprise if Jordan’s Killmonger steals the show.

Marhershala Ali has been phenomenal in damn near everything he touches lately. From the Oscar-nominated Moonlight to the season one villain “Cottonmouth” in Luke Cage, to his role in Hidden Figures, and his upcoming role in HBO’s critically acclaimed True Detective there seems to be no end to his level of talent. Even those roles are just naming the few he did in the past 2 years alone. The soon to be 44-year-old has put his stamp on the entertainment world. Producers will continue to cast him with the rest of the box office draws in Hollywood.

Everyone knows actor John Boyega for his role as Finn(FN-2187) in the Star Wars films but missed out on one of his more powerful roles as Bambi in Imperial Dreams another massive hit out of the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. The film takes you through the life of a fresh-out-of-prison gang member trying reform and bond with his family. Boyega even had critical success before Imperial Dreams and Star Wars with his role in Attack the Block. Boyega’s star has risen for some time.

Those are just the male actors. There are also plenty of female roles that dominate television on shows such as Scandal or How To Get Away With Murder. There have been movies like Hidden Figures and The Help to name a few.

Chadwick Boseman and the rest of the cast deserve every accolade coming their way from this film. After his appearance in Captain America: Civil War fans have hoped for this film. Black Panther could go on to smash box office records. It’s already setting the pace for pre-sale tickets. However, the hype around the film is minimizing the work that has gone into making a movie like this happen. Hats off to Disney. They finally had the stones to pull off a movie of this magnitude. Black Panther might be a “cultural phenomenon” but it’s hardly the only groundbreaking work being produced in the entertainment world. Young and talented actors and actresses are portraying amazing roles on both the big and small screens. You don’t need the budget of a Marvel/Disney release to see cinema changing movie roles. You just need to venture outside your comfort zone.

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