There are people in the world who think superhero movies are beneath them.
These are the same kind of people who recline their chairs onto someone’s knees for the entire duration of a one hour, mid-morning flight and who see it as their duty to point out typos in emotional Facebook posts.
They also probably enjoy kicking puppies and wrinkling their noses up at rainbows that magically appear after a sun shower, but I’m yet to find definitive proof to back up either of those claims.
But cutting yourself off from an entire portion of cinema, especially a portion that is currently shaping our pop culture lexicon as the dominate media form available on the big screen, does not make you clever and it does not make your taste more discerning than that of others.
All it means is that you can’t appreciate stories being told in different ways, that you can’t accept that important issues can be cleverly explored in a way that embraces both light and shade.
And that makes me sadder than watching the final cut of Halle Berry’s Catwoman.
So, if you listen to what I’m about to tell you about Black Panther and you still think this movie is beneath your viewing habits, then maybe there is no help for you in this world after all.
Oh, and you should also know that Oprah herself walked out of this movie and instantly declared it “phenomenal.”
But, eh, what would she know, right?
Listen: The Binge host Laura Brodnik explains why The Shape of Water is one movie you just can’t miss.
Black Panther takes place after the events of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, but creates such a rich and layered universe that you don’t have to have watched that film in order to be instantly pulled into the plot of this one.
The movie follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a newly crowned African king of a secret Utopian city called Wakanda, who fights evil-doers dressed as a masked wildcat.
His biggest foe comes in the form of the villainous Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), an ex-military hit-man who has a mysterious past connection to Wakanda and is hell bent on overthrowing (and killing) T’Challa in order to launch a full-scale international race war.
Though Black Panther is as visually epic and high voltage as you’d expect a hero driven blockbuster to be, the issues explored within the film are very much grounded in reality, making the stakes unusually high.
In this film there are no faceless alien warriors to lazily knock off one-by-one, and no giant power beam bursting into the sky to signal the final act, which are both tropes that can be lazily tacked on to the end of superhero flicks (ahem… Avengers…).