‘Black Panther’ Trailer Breakdown: Welcome to Wakanda
The Black Panther trailer feels like a breath of fresh air in an environment crowded with superhero movies – no comic book adaptation has ever looked like this. Heck, no movie has ever looked like this. Even with a few familiar Marvel Studios trappings on display, Ryan Coogler’s movie looks to blend superheroes and afrofuturism and all kinds of intrigue into something…well, new.
And if you’re new to this corner of the Marvel universe (or just want to take a closer look), we went through the trailer frame-by-frame for an extended breakdown. Join us, won’t you?
The trailer opens with something we won’t see much in the rest of the trailer: white guys. However, these two white guys should be familiar to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the left is Everett K. Ross, a CIA agent who was initially introduced in Captain America: Civil War. On the right is Ulysses Klaue, a black market smuggler and arms dealer who first reared his loathsome head in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Despite these characters being introduced elsewhere, both are commonly associated with the Black Panther world in the Marvel comics. And this is not the first time actors Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis have shared a big scene together – they previously had a showdown in The Hobbit, where they played Bilbo Baggins and Gollum, respectively.
This shot offers our first glimpse at what makes the fictional land of Wakanda so very cool and special. In most genre stories, wealth and technology seem to immediately westernize a nation of people. But not here. Instead, the secretive country of Wakanda is distinctly African while also being technologically advanced to the point of full-on science fiction.
This is best summed up by T’Challa having an audience on a waterfall with people in traditional robes and garb…after he was dropped off by his personal super-jet. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wild afrofuturism featured elsewhere in the trailer. According to Entertainment Weekly, this is the Warrior Falls, where kings are coronated. As you may remember, T’Challa’s father died in Civil War – this must be the ceremony to give him the throne.
These opening shots also introduce our hero in style. First, we see some kind of heavily armed convoy making their way through the jungle. It’s not clear who these people are, but Wakanda’s borders are closed, which surely makes them intruders. They could be smugglers, looking to steal some of the nation’s precious vibranium (which is the source of Wakanda’s wealth and tech in addition to being the stuff in Captain America’s shield). Could they be in league with Ulysses Klaue, who was smuggling vibranium in Age of Ultron?
Black Panther is revealed in the treetops by the glow of a flashlight, leading to some action beats that feels more like something out of a Batman movie than a Marvel movie. T’Challa is much faster and much stronger than the average human (we’ll touch on that in a moment), but surprise and fear are two key weapons in his arsenal. He makes quick work of these guys.
Much like how the post-Avengers MCU movies went out of their way to remind audiences that Captain America has literal super-strength and can kick cars like tin cans, this trailer reminds us that Black Panther is strong enough to fling a foe into a car so hard that it crumples.
Civil War didn’t have time to stop and breathe and explain what the deal is with T’Challa and why he can stand toe-to-toe with the Avengers. The new film will surely rectify that. In the comics, the Black Panther mantle is passed down over generations and the current bearer of the title has a special connection with the Wakandan Panther God and is allowed to eat a special Heart-Shaped herb that increases everything from strength to agility to senses. Despite the sci-fi tinge of Wakanda, there is a mystical streak running through the Black Panther world that could easily tie into the likes of Doctor Strange and Thor.
And finally, we see who is watching Ross interrogate Klaue: T’Challa himself and Okoye, his chief of security played by The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira. She’s a member of the Dora Milaje, a group that we will see frequently throughout the rest of the trailer.
Welcome to Wakanda! Cut off from the rest of the world and sitting on the world’s largest supply of vibranium, the nation’s capital puts every other city in the MCU to shame. As we will see in other shots, the city has not lost its heritage in a maze of futuristic skyscrapers.
Underneath that paint is Academy Award winner Forrest Whitaker, playing Zuri, a Wakandan shaman and an important religious figure. As he is present for when T’Challa arrives on Warrior Falls, we can assume that he is the one directly in charge of the new king’s coronation.
We’ll see more of him soon, but the man under this mask is Erik Killmonger, played by Ryan Coogler regular Michael B. Jordan. We’ll talk more about him soon. But once again, the combination of his futuristic armor and tribal mask is unlike anything we’ve seen before in the MCU. In fact, the mask is a reference to his costume in the comics (but don’t expect him to wear it too often in the film).
And he has a gang. And some explosives. And that graffiti on the wall suggests that we are definitely not in Wakanda.
The post ‘Black Panther’ Trailer Breakdown: Welcome to Wakanda appeared first on /Film.
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