Nerd Confessions Podcast: Tommy Slommy wishes he could line his clothing with vibranium this week as we cover Marvel’s latest film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Black Panther! Is it true that the Michael B Jordan steals the show from Chadwick Boseman? Is Danai Gurira just as great as when she played Michonne in the Walking Dead? How did we end up with Ryan Coogler, the director of Creed as the director for this film? Is Black Panther too political?! What happened with the Facebook and Rotten Tomatoes mass down vote scheme and accusations hate speech? We cover all this and more so watch or follow along with us as we discuss!

Our friend Jun Park joins us in our discussion of Black Panther to help give his keen insight on Korea since South Korea was a major filming location in the film.

Listener Confessions this week we feature @liam6797 again since he was disappointed we didn’t mention his Youtube channel, Liam Bennett, link in his bio on instagram. We also have some great Artwork of our own Ellie, by @manual_hernandez_animations on Instagram who is doing portraits on request! Send him a DM if you would like to see yourself in his art style as well.

Now available on iTunesStitcherYoutube and below:

Show Notes

Marvel’s Black Panther 2018 and Vibranium

What is Black Panther?

We’ve all been anticipating the background story of Black Panther since we first saw him in the film Captain America: Civil War. Black Panther is the film that gives us just that. We get to see Wakanda, an African city hidden from the world that was never colonized and instead developed all on it’s own. Yet despite being all on their own they became far more technologically advanced than any other world power. The film does more than this though, we get to follow T’challa as he claims the throne through Wakanda tradition after the death of his father which was saw in Civil War. From there we are taken to deep underlying meanings that are rarely explored in superhero movies and end up with a film that has fun action moments, but thought provoking story as well.

Vibranium is one of the most important plot points of the film and in the Marvel universe we’ve seen multiple different kinds of vibranium. Vandranium is a metallic substance of extraterrestrial origin and what is behind all the advancements of Wakanda. Wakanda lines their clothes with the material and it is what makes up Black Panthers impenetrable suit.

  • Wakandan Vibranium: Not only a kinetic energy absorbing material, it is also a mutagen. It has mutated some Wakandan natives and also changed plant life such as the plant eaten by the Black Panther Cult. There are limits to how much energy vibranium can absorb, but these are not yet known. In the film they show for the first time on screen the suit will expel any energy absorbed.
  • Antarctic Vibranium: Better known as Anti-Metal, it produces vibrations at a wavelength that breaks down the molecular bonds of other metals, causing them to liquify. It was used by The Plunderer who called it the Plunder Stone. Like Wakandan Vibranium, it is also a mutagen.
  • NuForm, Artificial Vibranium: Created by the Roxxon Corporation it mimics Wakandan Vibranium but will degrade to Antarctic Vibranium unless tempered through the use of Microwave bombardment continually.
  • Reverbium, Artificial Vibranium: Created by Horizon Labs, it rapidly amplifies and projects sounds which was weaponized for use by Klaw for use of amplifying his sonic powers.

Antarctic Vibranium is the lesser known of the two natural Vibraniums, but it was actually introduced first in the DareDevil comics. Wakandan Vibranium is more well known due to being used in the construction of Captain America’s shield which has Vibranium, steel and an unknown third substance. The creation of the shield was an accident and the attempt to recreate the shield actually resulted in adamantium which is most well known for its use with Wolverine’s claws and bone infusion. Captain America’s shield has come to be called Proto-Adamantium as a result.

Production

June 1992 Wesley Snipes was expected to star in a role as Black Panther after finishing Demolition Man. By 1996 after negotiations with Columbia pictures and Stan Lee’s dissatisfaction with any of the scripts, the project was shelved. As we know Wesley Snipes would later portray another Marvel superhero, Blade in 1998.

October 2011 Marvel hired documentary writer Mark Bailey to write the script for Black Panther. There were discussions to introduce Wakanda into the MCU as early as 2010’s Iron Man 2.

October 2014 Kevin Feige announced that Black Panther would be released November 3rd 2017 starring Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman didn’t even have an interview. Poor Wesley Snipes.

May 2015 Marvel approached Ava DuVernay to direct the film, but she later turned down the job stating that Marvel has too many restrictions for it to be one of her films. October F Gary Gray was also considered, but instead would later direct Fast and the Furious 8.

December 2015 after Ryan Coogler directed the very successful film, Creed, Marvel approached him after previously turning down his negotiations and he landed the role as director. Coogler began working on the screenplay along with Joe Robert Cole.

Principal photography had begun by January 21, 2017, at Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, under the working title Motherland.

Additional filming took place in South Korea, with the city of Busan serving as the setting of a car chase scene, involving 150 cars and over 700 people.Filming in Busan began on March 17, 2017, with shooting occurring at the Jagalchi Fish Market, and filming taking place by Gwangalli Beach on March 21.

Industrial Light & Magic with the help of many other small studios completed the visual effects of the movie.

Previsualization was completed by the Digital Domain and The Third Floor.

Ludwig Göransson was hired to compose the film’s score by April 2017. Göransson traveled to Senegal and South Africa to record local musicians to form the “base” of his soundtrack. Kendrick Lamar produced the film’s curated soundtrack, titled Black Panther: The Album, along with Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith. Coogler chose Lamar for the project because his “artistic themes align with those we explore in the film.”

Black Panther premiered at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles January 29th 2018. The film would release later in the United States to the public on February 16th 2018.

Notable Cast

  • Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (Black Panther): The same Black Panther we saw in Civil War with an amazing accent! A notable difference in the character between the MCU and the comics is that T’Challa is just now becoming king and in the comics he had been king since childhood.
  • Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens”: While he may not have been great in Fantastic Four, he was fantastic in Creed and he continues that trend in this movie, nearly stealing the show from Chadwick Boseman and portrays a villain you can really sympathize for.
  • Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia: Love interest of T’Challa, she has a love for the world outside of Wakanda that is unusual for the Wakanda culture. You’ll recognize her voice from Star Wars where she voiced Maz Kanata.
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye: Michonne from the Walking Dead and she continues that same badass portrayal of her character in this film as part of the all-female special forces of the border tribe in Wakanda.
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri: Little sister of T’Challa and plays a role in the film a lot like, “Q” from James Bond, always creating some sort of new gadget to show off on the film. She has a lot of roles coming up like Infinity War and The Commuter, but previously she was mainly in TV shows.
  • Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi: T’Challa’s best friend and head of security for the Border Tribe. A lot like Letitia he’s an English actor and hasn’t been in many movies, he’s been in lots of TV Shows such as Black Mirror and Doctor Who.
  • Forest Whitaker as Zuri: Sort of a holy man role, perfect for Forest Whitaker!
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross: While it is odd to hear Bilbo Baggin’s with an American accent, Martin Freeman plays an American CIA agent who was formula a pilot and winds up caught in the middle of Wakanda conflict.
  • Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue or Klaw: Full name Ulysses Klaue is the son of a Nazi war criminal and was tasked by Hitler to infiltrate Wakanda and discover its secrets.He originally appears in the Fantastic Four. That was obviously changed for this movie, but he has a similar role and still fires sonic beams which are explained through the, “magic,” of vibranium instead of just being a power. Andy Serkis portrays a very crazy wacky eyed villain not a far stretch from Gollum.

Reception

Before the films release Facebook shut down a group who before being shut down had 4,000 and more people saying they were interested or going to an event with the goal of down voting the Black Panther. The event stated:  “Given the massive success of the audience review rigging on the Rotten Tomatoes site for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and due to the sudden rise in those disgruntled with Disney business practices among other factors especially due to the corporate manipulations which created falsified bad press for the DCEU, I feel that it’s time to strike back at all those under Disney and bring down the house of mouse’s actions for paying off the critics that hurt DC Comics on film and for other parties affected by them. I’ll be making events like this for Infinity War and the Netflix shows etc so we can rally together to truly make a difference. Share this with your friends and all potential sympathizers.”

This later prompted a response from Rotten Tomatoes which stated “We at Rotten Tomatoes are proud to have become a platform for passionate fans to debate and discuss entertainment and we take that responsibility seriously. While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech. Our team of security, network and social experts continue to closely monitor our platforms and any users who engage in such activities will be blocked from our site and their comments removed as quickly as possible.”

Opening weekend Black Panther achieved $235 million. That place it in top three opening weekends of all time, under Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($288 million)  and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($241 million). Without inflation adjustments of course.

Right when the movie launched immediately on Rotten Tomatoes the user reviews war enraged before people even saw the movie. Many reviewers already had an agenda that wasn’t based on the actual merits of the film at all.

The Rotten Tomatoes audience score dropped as low as 74%, but has risen backup and currently sits at 77%. Unlike Star Wars The Last Jedi it appears to have broken away from the negative stigma overall.

Rotten Tomato critics currently have the movie at 97% from 303 critic reviews.

IMDB currently has the movie rated at 7.9 out of 10 with 89.819 user reviews.

What do we think?

Was the Wakanda technology too tacky and stereotypical of futuristic sci-fi movies? The city looks a lot like Dubai.

All great movies have political commentary for the time they were made, but is this film too political? Maybe a bit in some parts.

What do we rate it? 9 out of 10.

That’s it for this week!

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