Serious question: Were there people out there who weren’t expecting Ryan Coogler’s Afro-futurist take on Black Panther to be anything but transcendent?
The movie’s teaser trailer – released surprisingly early in tonight’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals – was never going to be surprising in terms of sheer quality or the command and breadth of the director’s vision. Instead, I was surprised by something entirely different: I was hoping for a movie made by a PoC, but there’s no other way to describe what we’re seeing here but “A movie of color”.
The framing device of Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue (with an Afrikaans accent, in case you didn’t know) and Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross (American, clearly owing a lot to his stint on Fargo) is crucial for contextualizing the fantastic, space-age, naturalistic, tribal-inspired world we see in the rest of the movie. Not only are they two white foreigners unfamiliar with our hero T’Challa’s home nation of Wakanda (i.e. most of the expected audience), but they’re in a dingy, badly lit room where everything’s black and murky blue – a room with no color.
This is a great wrong-footing of the audience for the explosive, action-packed remainder of the trailer, because it’s not just filled with crazy hovercrafts and car flips and costumes and phenomenal use of Run The Jewels and Michael B. Jordan’s captivating hair – it’s filled with color, in every single frame, in such a panoply of shades and hues and placements in the frame that I really want to stop writing this up and go watch it again just thinking about it. That said, I’ll leave you to the comments with nothing but the teaser poster from earlier today, that now feels more underwhelming than anything else.