T'Challa (Black Panther), after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
I really liked Black Panther. Not as much as Thor: Ragnarok or Captain America: Winter Soldier (which set the bar high indeed), but definitely in the top 5 MCU films so far. There's definite elements of an origin story to it, but they were well handled, being fitted smoothly into the flow of the story. Wonderful world building, landscapes, vistas, Kirbyeqsue city shots, and a magnificent African feel, with marvelously colorful clothing and jewelry. Lots of good characters, a well drawn villain, and enough touches of humor to keep it light, yet still making an effective moral and political statement ("In these times it is better to build bridges, than barriers"). I'm planning on seeing it again soon.
It’s my favorite scene in the movie and it’s the most important scene in the movie. It’s also the scene that made the least sense to other people going in, which is why it’s a wonderful victory for me.
I think that in superhero movies, they fight other people, they fight villains. So when I started to really hunker in on the significance of No Man’s Land, there were a couple people who were deeply confused, wondering, like, ‘Well, what is she going to do? How many bullets can she fight?’ And I kept saying, ‘It’s not about that. This is a different scene than that. This is a scene about her becoming Wonder Woman.’
It’s about her. We’re not angry at the Germans. We don’t care about the Germans and neither does she. This is what she needs to do to get across [No Man’s Land], and so it’s about her.
I agree. I too found this scene of Diana going over the top to charge into the no man's land between the trenches to be the most powerful and most moving scene in the film. I couldn't articulate it the way Patty Jenkins did, but it is easy for me to see how the higher ups didn't "get it", didn't see how important the scene is to forging Diana into Wonder Woman, how important it is to her becoming the hero. It this lack of understanding what a hero is that has lead to the tone, and frankly, the failure of the DC movie franchise to produce a good superhero film. Until now.
Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
I sawWonder Woman in IMAX 3D on opening weekend. It was well worth it. Despite being written by Zach Snyder, Wonder Woman demonstrated that DC superheroes can move to the screen in the modern world and be HEROIC (how hard is it to do that? apparently very hard for Mr. Snyder). I would put Wonder Woman on par with the first Captain America film (sharing some of the same issues of an origin story, but shining through nonetheless) making it comparable to the mid-range of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is at the top of the stack in the DC cinematic universe. It's a keeper. I'll be picking it up on Blu-ray.
Writing a purely heroic character doesn't seem straightforward to me, but recently it's come along. I haven't seen the movie yet, but want to and am curious about this aspect. (No spoilers!)
Chris -- I won't claim to be able to answer the question about what makes a character, or real person for that matter, a hero. But it has to start with wanting to make the world a better place and a willingness to work and sacrifice for it. Superheroes have the advantage that their efforts to help people are beyond the ability of us normals.
The problem with Zach Snyder as the source of truth for the DC movies is that his view is that superheroes make the world worse, that they bring more suffering and evil by their existence and actions than they can improve or better the world. This is clearly shown in the Superman movies by Mr. Snyder. Superman clearly causes far more suffering and damage in the films than he ever did in the comics. I for one see superheroes as a force for good. I hope I demonstrate that in my superhero novels.
My comment/question is really how to do that well within the context of a story which usually requires some type of transition or internal challenge to the character (beyond that of the explicit world ending problem being faced)
Superman/Captain America/Wonderwoman from a movie standpoint always seemed to be a challenge: They can't fail in the large, they have to remain "true".
I'm *NOT* a comic-book guy at all, but that's what I always saw as the difficulty with the Superman series (though I loved the Superman movies as a kid) That Captain America and (some versions) of the Superman universe have done well makes me happy. Now we even are going to get a good version of Wonder Woman from the looks of it, and that's exciting.
Chris -- In order to avoid spoilers here, I won't be able to be very explicit. The character arc for Diana (as versus her later identity as Wonder Woman) does provide a transition/challenge unlike the mature Wonder Woman. It has more in common (as I note in my comment on the wiki page) with the first Captain America film. I don't know how deliberate parallel is (probably not deliberate at all, but there is only so much you can do with character origin stories like this). (Go see it, and we can talk more explicitly about it, as I'm interested in your view.)
It's interesting that you put Captain America in with Superman and Wonder Woman, as, at least from the 21st century movie perspective to date, they are very different. Okay, I'm not going to lump Wonder Woman with Superman (quite yet) as the movie shows that a different approach was used. While I always have the "meta-information" that Captain America isn't going to fail by the time the movie is over, there is generally the feeling that things are in question during the course of it. I just don't get that feeling with Superman.
Back to your question/comment about transition/challenge/failure, I think in the MCU that it feels like the characters go through the wringer and come out the other side as better people, even if they end up with PTSD (Tony Stark being an example of this) and the world is better off. In the Zach Snyder rendition of the superhero world, the characters don't feel like they have changed all that much and the world is worse off to boot. This is different in comic-book land as the villains never really go out of the picture, so there seems to be an ever increasing villain-entropy effect.
On February 3rd, 1947 a supernova wavefront changed everything. A previously unknown galactic civilization intervened saving the majority of life of Earth. In the wake of the Galactics’ intervention, people started to develop powers declaring themselves superheroes and supervillains. Thirty seven years later Michael Gurick watches his superhero father die, and vowed to revenge by Dispensing Justice.
I recently came across a posting at SuperheroNation.com laying out a list of 40 superhero cliches and tropes and it got me thinking about the tropes I use (or abuse) in my Nova Genesis series. So I put together a table of tropes based on B. McKenzie’s list.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Much like the first book, there are a lot of excellently drawn characters and dialogue, and a wonderful plot. Penny is an excellent protagonist — probably a better one than Michael was in the first book, ’cause Penny has a lot more common sense and charisma than Michael did.
You don’t get to choose what piece you are, only how you play the game…
You’d think that being stronger and tougher than everyone else at Centurion High would go down in the plus column. And it had, as far as the athletic crowd was concerned. Enough that the jocks forgave Penny for her preference to hang out with a small clique notorious for being hardcore board-gamers and role-playing eggheads. But it seemed like a small consolation.
Maybe it’s because Penny just wants to be appreciated for her brains rather than her brawn. Or maybe she hangs out with the nerds because of Michael. Michael—her childhood best friend and the boy-next-door—certainly appreciates Penny for her smarts—and maybe, sometimes, she wants him to appreciate her for more than that. Penny’s been spending a lot of time with Michael recently, helping him to take up his dead father’s superhero identity. Besides, despite Michael being a straight up genius, he’s “common sense” challenged.
If that wasn’t enough, Penny’s superhero mother has ramped up her passive-aggressive campaign to convince Penny to take up the mask and start crime fighting; her two younger sibs—almost as strong and tough as Penny—are superhero crazy; a series of mysterious attacks seems to be targeting Penny directly; and her other best friend is dating Michael.
More updates to The Red Rook and Dispensing Justice book covers. The design continues to evolve. In addition to the silhouette’s with glowing “chest icons“, I’ve added a back cover theme based on each prior book in the series. Check them out at:
Just received an email informing me that Dispensing Justice was chosen as an Honorable Mention in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult books category of the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
Go and check out Dispensing Justice’s first review on Amazon. It was posted by an old friend of mine, Paul Turnbull. I’m still struggling with the notion of being a published author, so I feel very flattered by it. But you can judge it for yourself and tell me what you think.