Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Intense Heroism of Chadwick Boseman

Almost as shocking as the news of Chadwick Boseman passing away, was the revelation that the actor had spent the past 4 years battling colon cancer. This timeline means that he was diagnosed in 2016, the year that he debuted as King T’Challa in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. And it means that after his diagnosis, Boseman filmed and appeared in Marshall, Black Panther, 2 more Avengers movies, 21 Bridges, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods & the upcoming film Black Bottom. This output is immense coming from an actor who had been making major Hollywood films for only 2 years before his big Marvel break. A superstar run that seems all the more miraculous in light of the knowledge that he pulled it off while quietly undergoing surgeries & rounds of chemotherapy.

Given his stature today, it may be surprising to recall that Boseman didn’t land a significant movie role until he was in his mid-30s. A graduate of Howard University and the British American Drama Academy, he mostly appeared in one-off parts on television until he was cast as the baseball legend Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic 42. The only other person who had played Robinson in a movie before was Robinson himself, and yet here was a virtual unknown taking on the part with confidence and grace. So much of the film, directed by Brian Helgeland, deals with Robinson’s struggle to control his anger as he’s subjected to racist abuse by fans and players, and Boseman’s performance simmers with heroic restraint.

 From there, he was cast in two more biopics, playing two other Black Americans of colossal historical importance: James Brown in Get On Up (2014) and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017). The actor’s work as Brown is particularly astonishing; Boseman captures all of the singer’s live-wire onstage energy, doing all of his own dancing and some of his singing. Perhaps the biggest achievement is how the performance felt a million miles away from his work as Robinson. Boseman played one of the 20th century’s most famous athletes and one of its greatest singers within a single year, and had given two performances that could not have been more different.

This versatility and talent made an entire industry take notice. When Boseman was promoting Get On Up, he got a call from Marvel Studios—they were preparing to introduce the character of Black Panther into their successful cinematic universe, and there was only one person they wanted. “You hear people say this all the time … but he was the only choice,” Marvel producer Kevin Feige later said in an interview. Black Panther, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, was the first African superhero in American comics, a milestone figure created in the 1960s. But Boseman’s performance in four Marvel movies vaulted the character to total global celebrity.

"The Batman" Will Show the Beginnings of Catwoman, Riddler & Penguin Before They Realized Their Iconic Villain Potential

“We’ve only shot 25% of the movie,” said The Batman director Matt Reeves today during his DC Fandome panel, “but there was no way I couldn’t show part of the movie.”

And alas, we have a lot here to watch in the first teaser of The Batman, which doesn’t give an exact release date for 2021, even though Warner Bros. slated it for Oct. 1, 2021 (by the way, if you’re questioning the studio’s dedication to exhibition post COVID, their trailers for Tenet, The Batman and Wonder Woman 1984 are clearly billed at the end ‘Only in Theaters’. Bravo on that).

“The hell you suppose to be?” asks the leader of white-painted face gang to the Dark Knight.

“I’m vengeance,” says Robert Pattinson’s Batman.

Shooting halted in mid-March due to the pandemic, but The Batman is going back before the cameras in the UK next month at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. Set construction began last month.

During the DC Fandome panel, Reeves said that his Batman is Batman Year Two.

“It’s not an origins tale, but you’re meeting him in the early days. A lot of the other (cinema) stories showed he had to master his fear and himself, to become Batman,” said Reeves, but in his movie “we met in the middle of this criminological experiment and watch him make mistakes.”

Coming Soon - "Ghostbusters: Afterlife"

After being evicted from their home, two children and their single mother move to a farm in Summerville, Oklahoma, inherited from their late grandfather. When the town experiences a series of unexplained earthquakes, the children discover their family's link to the original Ghostbusters, who have become something of a myth as many have long since forgotten the events of the "Manhattan Crossrip of 1984", and the secret legacy that their grandfather left behind.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife was originally scheduled to be released in the United States on July 10, 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been delayed to March 5, 2021. The film will be released in IMAX, RealD 3D, and Dolby Cinema.