REVIEW: SAVE THE LAST DANCE

CAST

Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
Terry Kinney (Sleepers)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions)
Kerry Washington (Lakeveiw Terrace)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)

Sara Johnson, a promising dancer in high school, hopes to be admitted to study at Juilliard School and invites her mother to attend the audition. She fails the audition and soon learns that her mother was involved in a fatal car accident in her haste to get to the audition.Sara is wracked by guilt and gives up on ballet. She moves in with her father and transfers to an urban Chicago school. Her father is a jazz musician who plays the trumpet and usually plays in nights in clubs. At her new school, Sara is one of a handful of white students but quickly befriends Chenille, a single teen mother who is having relationship problems. Chenille invites Sara to a dance club called STEPPS, where she has her first experience of dancing to hip hop rhythms. At STEPPS, Sara dances with Derek, Chenille’s brother and a student with dreams of ultimately attending Georgetown Medical School. He decides to help Sara develop her dancing skills by incorporating more hip hop into her style. Derek takes a reluctant Sara to the Joffrey Ballet and, afterwards, Sara confides in him about her mother and her dreams. Later, they return to the club and amaze others with their dancing. Having achieved his dream of being accepted at Georgetown University, Derek convinces her to follow her dreams of Juilliard. Eventually, Sara and Derek begin a relationship.At school, Nikki, Derek’s jealous ex-girlfriend, picks a fight with Sara. Chenille tells Sara that she didn’t approve of the fight but can understand the bitterness since Sara, a white girl, is seen as stealing one of the few decent black men in the school. Because of this, Sara breaks up with Derek. Meanwhile, Derek deals with his friend Malakai, who is heavily into the gang lifestyle that Derek is trying to leave. Derek accepts Malakai’s plea for support in a drive-by for the same time as Sara’s audition. Sara’s father has a heart-to-heart talk with her and encourages her to audition for Juilliard again.After hearing what Chenille told Sara, Derek confronts her. She admits what she did was wrong and encourages him to be with Sara. Chenille also warns Derek not to support Malakai knowing the consequences and he will lose his chance to attend Georgetown. Derek turns his back on Malakai to attend Sara’s audition. He arrives at a crucial point to offer her encouragement and moral support. After her audition, Sara is accepted and she rekindles her relationship with Derek. Meanwhile, the drive-by becomes botched and Malakai is arrested. The film closes as Sara, Derek, Chenille, and their friends meet at STEPPS to celebrate Sara’s successful audition.

Overall, I did like this film, it was fast paced, intelligent, easy watching, and a welcome change to the recent films I have been watching lately which all feel much slower, and emotionally heavy. However, the plot gives this film it’s limitations, and although for it’s genre it is up there with the best, it’s not a film that I would say deserves to be forever remembered in film history. But that again, there are only a few that do

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: LAKEVIEW TERRACE

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring)
Kerry Washington (Mr & Mrs Smith)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Jay Hernandez (Hostel)
Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Eva LaRue (CSI: Miami)
Michael Landes (Lois & Clark)

An interracial newlywed couple, Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) are moving into their first home. Chris’s first exchanges with their neighbour, long time LAPD detective Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson), have somewhat hostile undertones, with Abel making comments about Chris’ smoking and listening to hip hop music. The following night, Chris and Lisa have sex in their swimming pool. Unknown to them, Abel’s children, Marcus and Celia, watch them. Abel arrives home and witnesses the spectacle. Angry, he re-positions his home security floodlights to shine into Chris and Lisa’s window, keeping them awake. One evening, Chris and Lisa hear noises downstairs and find the tires on Chris’ car slashed. Suspecting Abel, they call the police, who are unable to do anything because of Abel’s status within the LAPD. Chris retaliates by shining his own floodlights into Abel’s bedroom.Lisa later reveals she is pregnant, creating conflict with Chris, who does not yet want children. Meanwhile, Abel is suspended without pay for abusing a suspect, inciting more fury within him. Chris plants trees along the fence between their properties, which leads to a near-violent exchange, as Abel objects to having trees hanging over his property. When Chris goes to a local bar, Abel enters and tells Chris that his own wife died in a traffic accident.

Abel sends his informant, Clarence Darlington (Keith Loneker), to trash the Mattson’s home to make them uncomfortable in the neighbourhood. Lisa arrives home early, surprising Clarence. They struggle and Lisa is knocked out, but not before she triggers the alarm. Chris races home, followed by a frustrated Abel. When Abel comes upon his hired criminal, he fatally shoots him. Lisa is rushed to the hospital, but is okay. Wildfires are raging in the surrounding hills and the residents are instructed to leave their homes. Abel, who remains behind, enters the Mattsons’ home, hoping to retrieve Clarence’s dropped cell phone. Lisa and Chris unexpectedly return from the hospital before Abel finds the phone, and he leaves. While the Mattsons pack to evacuate, Chris finds the cell phone. He calls the last number dialled and hears Abel answer. Chris realizes Abel is responsible for the break-in, and Abel realizes Chris has discovered the phone.

Abel goes over with his gun drawn, and he and Chris struggle. Before Lisa can escape, Abel shoots her car, causing her to crash into a parked vehicle. After pistol whipping Abel and seemingly knocking him out, Chris rescues Lisa. Hiding his gun behind his back, Abel insists he is unarmed, County sheriff officers arrive on the scenes and Abel tries to insists that he’s unarmed and that Chris should listen to his wife, Chris finally throws Abel off by asking him about his wife’s death and how she had became unfaithful to him, Infuriated, Abel finally pulls out his hidden gun, shooting Chris in the shoulder, prompting Abel to be killed by the deputies in self-defence. Chris survives, and he and Lisa later talk about their pride in their home, neighbourhood, and soon-to-be family.

Director Neil LaBute handles the film well, painting a picture of middle class suburban tranquillity, and then slowly destroying the peaceful scene he has created with a deft touch. This is a small, personal film tackling a very big issue, and it tackles it extremely well.

REVIEW: LITTLE MAN

 

CAST

Marlon Wayans (The Heat)
Shawn Maylons (White Chicks)
Kerry Washington (Django Unchained)
John Witherspoon (Friday)
Tracy Morgan (Cop Out)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Chazz Palminteri (Analyze This)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
David Alan Grier (Jumanji)
Dave Sheridan (Ghost World)
Fred Stoller (The Change-Up)
Brittany Daniel (Sweet Valley High)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)

Calvin “Babyface” Simms (Marlon Wayans) is a very short convict. With the help of his goofball cohort Percy (Tracy Morgan), Calvin plots a jewellery shop robbery to steal one of the world’s largest diamonds. After the successful robbery, the duo are almost arrested, but not before Calvin manages to stash the diamond in a nearby woman’s purse. The thieves follow the handbag’s owner to her home where they discover a couple, Darryl (Shawn Wayans) and Vanessa Edwards (Kerry Washington), who are eager to have a child.

Calvin and Percy hatch a plot to pass Calvin off as a baby left on the couple’s doorstep. Darryl and Vanessa, wanting a child, immediately adopt the baby as their own. However, Vanessa’s dad Francis “Pops” (John Witherspoon) has a bad feeling about Calvin. Friends of the couple find Calvin odd as well. A local goon named Walken (Chazz Palminteri), discovers the deception and demands the diamond from Percy. Percy sells out Darryl and now Calvin, in a series of comedic maneuvers, manages to rescue Darryl and have Walken arrested. Darryl is given a substantial reward for the recovery of the diamond, and since Calvin saved his life, he doesn’t turn him over to the police.

Before he leaves, Calvin thanks Darryl for taking care of him even though he wasn’t really a baby and admits that he thinks Darryl would make a great father for a real child someday. Calvin is about to be out of Darryl’s life for good, as Darryl watches him leave. Calvin is crying hysterically, so Darryl decides to let Calvin stay and from that point on, the two men become the best of friends. The film ends at some point in the future with Calvin and Pops playing with Darryl and Vanessa’s real baby, who looks exactly like Darryl (Shawn Wayans’s face superimposed on that of the baby).

This movie is thoroughly enjoyable. The premise is understandable for all ages and it is just a great romp. Not to be taken seriously its just a funny film.

 

REVIEW: DJANGO UNCHAINED

CAST

Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls)
Christopher Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Critters 3)
Kerry Washington (Save The Last dance)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Walton Goggins (The Bourne Identity)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
James Remar (X-Men: First Class)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Tom Wopat (Jonah Hex)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Zoe Bell (Oblivion)
Michael Bowen (Jackie Brown)
Robert Carradine (Timecop 2)
James Parks (Death Proof)
Michael Parks (Red State)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Evan Parke (Alias)

In Texas in the year 1858, the Speck brothers, Ace and Dicky, drive a group of black slaves on foot. Among the shackled slaves is Django, sold off and separated from his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft. The Speck brothers are stopped by Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter from Düsseldorf, who asks to buy one of the slaves. When he questions Django about his knowledge of the Brittle brothers, a group of outlaws for whom Schultz is carrying a warrant, Ace becomes irritated and threateningly aims his shotgun at Schultz. Schultz, a superior gunslinger, immediately kills Ace in return and leaves an injured Dicky at the mercy of the newly freed slaves, who kill him and follow the North Star to freedom.

As Django can identify the Brittle brothers, Schultz offers Django his freedom in exchange for help tracking them down. After hunting down the Brittles, the liberated Django (who adopted the surname “Freeman”) partners with Schultz through the winter and becomes his apprentice, and Schultz discovers that Django has a natural talent of being an incredible crack shot. Schultz explains that he feels responsible for Django since Django is the first person he has ever freed, and felt more obliged to help Django (whom he described as a “real-life Siegfried”) reunite with Broomhilda. Django, now fully trained, collects his first bounty, keeping the handbill for good luck.

In 1859, Django and Schultz travel to Mississippi, where they learn the identity of Broomhilda’s owner: Calvin J. Candie, the charming but cruel owner of the Candyland plantation, where slaves are forced to fight to the death in brutal wrestling matches called “Mandingo fights”. Schultz, expecting Candie will not sell Broomhilda if they ask for her directly, feigns interest in purchasing one of Candie’s prized fighters for far more than the normal price. Schultz and Django meet Candie at his gentleman’s club in Greenville and submit their offer. Intrigued, Candie invites them to his ranch at Candyland. After secretly briefing Broomhilda, Schultz claims to be charmed by the German-speaking Broomhilda and offers to buy her.

During dinner, Candie’s staunchly loyal house slave, Stephen, becomes suspicious of Schultz and Django’s motives. Deducing that Django and Broomhilda know each other previously and that the sale of the Mandingo fighter is a ruse, Stephen alerts Candie and admonishes him for his greed. Candie is angered at being fooled and having his time wasted, but contains his anger long enough to theatrically display his knowledge of phrenology, which he uses to theorize why the slaves have failed to kill their oppressors, despite ample opportunity. Candie’s bodyguard, Butch Pooch, bursts into the room with his shotgun trained on the two bounty hunters, and Candie explodes in anger, threatening to kill Broomhilda. He offers an alteration of the original deal, with Broomhilda taking the Mandingo fighter’s place at the same price, and threatens her death should the deal be rejected. After business appears concluded, Candie insists that the deal be sealed through a handshake, which Schultz initially refuses but eventually appears to concede. However, Schultz snaps and kills Candie with a concealed derringer. Butch shoots Schultz dead and Django kills him in turn, and an extensive gunfight in the mansion between Django and Candie’s henchmen ensues. Django guns down a great number of his opponents, but surrenders when Broomhilda is taken hostage.

The next morning, Stephen tells Django that he will be sold to a mine and worked to death. En route to the mine, Django proves to his escorts that he is a bounty hunter by showing them the handbill from his first kill. He convinces them that there is a large bounty for criminals hiding at Candyland, and promises that they would receive the majority of the money. The escorts release him and give him a pistol, and he kills them before stealing a horse and returning to Candyland with a bag of dynamite.

Returning to the plantation, Django kills more of Candie’s henchmen, takes Broomhilda’s freedom papers from the dead Schultz’s pocket, bids goodbye to his late friend and frees Broomhilda from a nearby cabin. When Candie’s mourners return from his burial, Django kills the remaining henchmen and Candie’s sister Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, releases the two remaining house slaves, and kneecaps Stephen. Django then ignites the dynamite that he has planted throughout the mansion, and he and Broomhilda watch from a distance as the mansion explodes with the incapacitated Stephen inside, before riding off together.

A brilliant movie. Very entertaining and I loved it. We don’t get many westerns any more so this was a welcome addition to the genre. Tarantino is of course well known for the violence in his films, which renders them as not being for the squeamish, but on top of that they usually feature touches of levity to brighten up the more grisly proceedings. Above all he assembles highly accomplished actors and good stories with some great lines. The cinematography is superb and the music excellent. Oh, and there is some wonderful horsemanship. An excellent film which can be highly recommended.

REVIEW: FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER

CAST

Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Chris Evans (Captain America)
Michael Chikilis (Gotham)
Julian McMahon (Bait)
Kerry Washington (Save The Last Dance)
Andre Braugher (Salt)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Kevin McNulty (Tin Man)
Brian Posehn (New Girl)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
Kenneth Welsh (The Aviator)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
As Reed Richards and Sue Storm prepare for their wedding, a silver object enters Earth’s atmosphere, creating 1 mile wide craters across the Earth. General Hager asks Reed to track and identify its movements. He initially refuses, to appease Sue, who feels he is again neglecting her for his work. However, he secretly builds a radar tracker to locate the object, as the Army requests.
During the wedding, Reed’s systems detect the phenomenon approaching New York City, which suffers a blackout since it emits electromagnetic pulses that cause power outages. Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, pursues the object, discovering it to be a silver humanoid on a flying surfboard. The “Silver Surfer” drags him into the upper atmosphere, suffocating him, and drops him. During his fall, Johnny finds his flame powers fluctuating and barely survives, successfully flying only at the last moment. Later, Sue and Johnny switch powers when they touch, prompting Reed to deduce that exposure to the Surfer has affected Johnny’s molecular structure, allowing him to switch powers with his teammates through physical contact. Tracing the cosmic energy of the Surfer, Reed discovers that a series of planets the alien has visited have all been destroyed.
With the Surfer creating craters around the globe, Reed determines that the next will appear in London. The team arrives too late to stop the crater, which drains the River Thames, but they prevent the London Eye from collapsing after it is damaged by the quake (though Johnny nearly thwarts their effect in the process when he switches powers with Reed). Afterward, Reed and Sue contemplate abandoning their lives as superheroes in order to have a normal life and raise a family, but are unaware that Johnny is listening. Meanwhile, the Surfer’s movements around the globe bring him past Latveria, where the cosmic energy affects Victor Von Doom, freeing him from two years encased in metal. A scarred Doom traces the Surfer to the Russell Glacier and offers to join forces. When the Surfer rebuffs him, Doom attacks. The Surfer retaliates, blasting Doom through the ice, but the cosmic energy of the Surfer’s blast heals Doom’s body.
Doom leverages his experience into a deal with the American military, who force the Fantastic Four to work with Doom. Deducing that the Surfer’s board is the source of his power, Reed develops a tachyon pulse generator that will separate him from it, while Doom works on a machine whose function he keeps a secret. In the Black Forest, the Surfer confronts Sue and reveals he is merely a servant to the destroyer of worlds, and regrets the destruction he causes. The military opens fire on the Surfer, which distracts him and allows the Fantastic Four to fire the pulse, separating the Surfer from his board. The military imprisons the Surfer in Siberia, where they torture him for information. Sue uses her powers to sneak into his cell, where he reveals more information. He tells her his master, known by the people of his world as Galactus, is a massive cloud-like cosmic entity that feeds on life-bearing planets to survive, and that his board is a homing beacon summoning Galactus to the planet. The Silver Surfer has to serve Galactus, who will otherwise destroy not only his loved ones but also his planet.
Using the device he has created earlier, Doom betrays Hager and steals the board from the compound, killing the majority of the Army present there. The Fantastic Four rescue the Surfer and pursue Doom in the Fantasticar, confronting him in Shanghai. During the battle, Sue is mortally wounded. With the Surfer powerless, Johnny absorbs the combined powers of the entire team (inspired by comics character the Super-Skrull) in order to battle the now cosmic energy-empowered Doom. Johnny succeeds in breaking Doom’s controlling device over the Surfer’s board, and Ben Grimm uses a nearby crane to knock Doom into the harbor, possibly drowning him. However, Galactus arrives and Sue dies in Reed’s arms. The Surfer regains control of his board, restoring his power. He revives Sue and chooses to defend Earth, flying, with an extra boost from Johnny, into Galactus. The conflict results in a massive blast of energy that engulfs Galactus, and apparently kills the Surfer as well. Johnny has recovered his stable molecular state after touching the Surfer’s board. Reed and Sue get married in Japan, in an abbreviated ceremony. Receiving news that Venice is sinking into the Adriatic, the team heads to Italy. In a post-credits scene, the Silver Surfer’s seemingly lifeless body floats through space. His eyes then open and his board races toward him, showing that he is still alive.
A great sequel to the first film – good, fun, family friendly superhero action with lots of effects and action and a decent enough story to keep you entertained

REVIEW: FANTASTIC FOUR (2005)

CAST
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Chris Evans (Captain America)
Michael Chikilis (Gotham)
Julian McMahon (Bait)
Hamish Linklater (The Crazy Ones)
Kerry Washington (Save The Last Dance)
Kevin McNulty (Tin Man)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon 2007)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Physicist Dr. Reed Richards is convinced evolution was triggered millions of years ago on Earth by clouds of cosmic energy in space, and has calculated that one of these clouds is soon going to pass near Earth. Together with his friend, astronaut Ben Grimm, Reed convinces Dr. Victor Von Doom, his former classmate at MIT and now CEO of Von Doom Industries, to allow him access to his privately owned space station to test the effects of a biological sample of exposure to the cloud. Doom agrees in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. Reed brings aboard his ex-girlfriend and Von Doom’s chief genetics researcher Susan Storm and her ex-astronaut brother Johnny.
The quintet travels to outer space to observe the cosmic energy clouds, but Reed miscalculates and the clouds materialize ahead of schedule. Reed and the Storms leave the shielded station to rescue Ben, who had gone on a spacewalk to place the samples. Ben receives full exposure in outer space, while the others receive a more limited dose within the station. Back home they soon develop superpowers: Reed can stretch his body like rubber, Susan Storm can become invisible and generate impact resistant force shields, Johnny Storm can engulf himself in fire and fly unaided, and Ben becomes a rocklike creature with superhuman strength and durability. Meanwhile, Von Doom faces a backlash from his stockholders because of the publicity from the space mission, and has a scar on his face that came from an exploding control console on the station.
Ben’s fiancee Debbie cannot handle his new appearance and leaves him. Ben goes to brood on the Brooklyn Bridge and accidentally causes a traffic pileup while preventing a man from committing suicide. Ben, Reed and the Storms use their various abilities to contain the damage and prevent harm. The media dubs them the Fantastic Four. They move into Reed’s lab in the Baxter Building to study their abilities and seek a way to return Grimm to normal. Von Doom, himself mutating, offers his support but blames Reed for the failure of the spaceflight, which has lost him his company.
Reed tells the group he will construct a machine to recreate the storm and reverse its effects on them, but warns it could possibly accelerate them instead. Meanwhile, Von Doom’s arm has become organic metal, giving him superhuman strength allowing him to produce bolts of electricity, and he begins plotting revenge. He drives a wedge between Ben and Reed, who has rekindled his relationship with Susan Storm. Using the machine, Von Doom restores Ben to human form, while accelerating Von Doom’s condition, causing much of his body to turn to metal. Von Doom knocks the human Grimm unconscious and captures Reed.
Now calling himself Doctor Doom, he puts on a metallic mask to hide his disfigurement, tortures Reed and fires a heatseeking missile at the Baxter Building in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Johnny Storm. Sue confronts Doom but is outmatched. Ben arrives to assist her, transformed into the Thing again by reusing the machine (speaking his signature line, “It’s clobberin’ time!”). The battle then gets spilled into the streets and The Storms combine their powers to wrap Doom in an inferno of intense heat, and Ben and Reed douse him with cold water, inducing thermal shock and freezing Doom in place. In an epilogue, Grimm informs Reed that he has accepted his condition with the help of Alicia Masters, a blind artist for whom he has developed feelings, and the team embraces its role as superheroes. Reed proposes marriage to Sue, who accepts. Meanwhile, Doom’s statue-like remains are being transported back to his homeland of Latveria when the dock master’s electronic manifest briefly undergoes electromagnetic interference, suggesting that Doom is still alive.
This is a fun movie and I liked it. It had a solid origin story, some good action, and pretty good SFX. Each character was clearly defined

REVIEW: BLACK PANTHER

CAST (VOICES)

Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Kerry Washington (Django Unchained)
Alfrie Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact)
Jill Scott (Girlfriends)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
JB Blanc (War Dogs)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Taye Diggs (Equilibrium)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Stan Lee (Chuck)

The concept of the motion comic is controversial to say the least. Many comic purists would argue they are pointless endeavors, while others, like myself find them an interesting supplement and even more a way to get those uninterested in comics to seek them out, provided they enjoy the program.

The newest release in the series may be their biggest yet, produced not just for DVD but as six-episode animated series. With “Black Panther,” Marvel adapts Hudlin’s own take on the character from 2005 and the end result will induce much headshaking and confusion.

Unlike the previous two installments in the Marvel Knights Animation line, I had not read the original source material, however, it’s safe to say, with the author being directly involved in the adaptation, it likely follows the comics quite closely. The most apparent change viewers familiar with the motion comic concept will notice is the consistency in runtime. Each episode runs around 18 minutes long and is paced like an episode of a TV-series. There are no more abrupt endings as before and this is a truly welcome change. Also worth noting is the star power in the voice cast. Hudlin has secured veteran voice actors Kevin Michael Richardson and Nolan North, as well as Hollywood stars Alfre Woodard, Kerry Washington, and in the title role Djimon Hounsou. It’s all downhill from this point, with Hounsou’s involvement being the only positive memorable aspect of a disaster of a series.


“Black Panther” is a muddled mess, attempting to weave an origin story amidst a half-baked plot against our hero’s life by a band of largely second (or even third) rate villains. The tone of the entire series is wildly inconsistent; one minute our villains will be bickering with each other in classic Saturday morning cartoon fashion, giving the impression the series is lighthearted, but all this comes following an intro that is decidedly more mature, featuring tribal warriors getting impaled on sinister traps and severed Nazi heads on pikes. Add to that a very mean spirited tone, resulting from most characters not related to Black Panther being either stupid, bigoted, or both and the 132 minute runtime feels achingly brutal.

Comic book fans may immediately take issue with the series’ sad attempt to establish dominance of the Black Panther by having him swiftly defeat Captain America in hand-to-hand combat. The character doesn’t need such a wildly unbelievable fight to appeal to audiences, nor does he need the sympathy formed from broad stereotypes attempting to hold him down because he’s the leader of a small African nation. What should be a fun fantasy tale is instead drenched in an underhanded political theme that is downright tiresome and boring; if more time was given to developing supporting characters, a little bit of preaching would have been tolerable. To Hudlin’s credit, his take on Black Panther or T’Challa (Hounsou) is a fascinating, three-dimensional creation, and his home country of Wakanda is given admirable life and scope. Hounsou brings strong balance of kindness and fierceness to the role, and a scene midway through the series where he removes his mask to speak to a boy who worships him as a god, is one of the more heroic and humble moments I’ve seen in a superhero adaptation.
On the flipside, Kerry Washington, delivers a strangely overacted vocal performance as T’Challa’s sister, while Stephen Stanton is in full on, evil for evil’s sake mode, as Klaw, the main villain, an assassin responsible for murdering T’Challa’s father decades earlier, who returns to finish killing the royal family. The less said of Klaw’s inept cadre of support, the better, but the Vatican Black Knight is worth mentioning of only for the fact his character adds another layer into the theme of the evil Western world; not only does a rival nation want Wakanda overthrown, but so does the US (led by a cartoonish and ignorant General voiced by Stan Lee), and yes, the Pope. As a final insult to comic fans, Hudlin shoehorns in the story of T’Challa’s romance with Ororo Munroe, or Storm as she’s more commonly known. The addition is nothing more than a way to artificially extend the overly long runtime of the series and find an excuse for a few worthless X-Men cameos.

“Black Panther” is heavily dissappointing, and it’s a damn shame, as there is great potential with the character. The writing has a bad pace to it; dialogue driven scenes are sometimes choppy, flashbacks are overused (even as an origin story), and the action sequences often have great buildup but result in a sad whimper in terms of execution; a half-assed inclusion of zombies in the final episode tempts me to a giant stamp of “fail” on the series, but there are more than a few Panther centric moments to elevate it from the lowest possible rating. Animation wise, John Romita Jr’s art style translates horribly to the motion comic format, and some sequences are animated in a amateurish fashion at best; the fact I waited this long to mention it, is a strong indicator of how forgettable it is. There are strong talks that the Black Panther will see life on the big screen and I’ll reiterate again, Hounsou deserves a shot at the role, however, I hope this series is used as an example of what not to do.