– by David Kozlowski

Marvel’s Black Panther film is highly anticipated for a wide variety of reasons, including its all-star cast, its up-and-coming director, and the cultural and social significance of the central characters. Additionally, the setting of Wakanda represents another new corner of the MCU — an opportunity to explore a new continent and a new people. The movie also expresses an optimistic and inspirational viewpoint, predicated upon education, technology, and science. Black Panther may or may not be trying to make a larger social statement, but it’s pretty apparent that this film represents far more than just Marvel’s first African-American superhero.

The character was first introduced on-screen in Captain America: Civil War (2016) as something of a wildcard. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Wakanda emerged upon the world stage — against the backdrop of rising, global super-terrorism — as a powerful force for justice, and in just a few months we’re going to see what kind of impact both will have on global audiences too.

Related – Black Panther Teaser Trailer: It’s Hard For A Good Man To Be A King

During a recent Florida political event, involving the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, organizers combined a talk on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) with new footage from Black Panther. Seems like an odd pairing, right? However, consider the message this film is sending: a small nation built upon STEM principals takes a leadership role on the world stage. Kids are going to flock to this movie and maybe even come away with inspirational messages about education, heroism, and opportunity for under-served communities. Such is the power of film; when intelligently and gracefully applied, movies can stimulate conversation and even affect change. Very cool.

OK, so what about the footage? According to The Root, the action starts in a casino where T’Challa and his Dora Milaje guards encounter super-villain Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and his mercenaries. They interrupt a clandestine deal with U.S. gov’t representative Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), and much violence and gunfire ensues:

“The action is kinetic, like a mixture of Coogler’s fight scenes from Creed and the manic bullet ballets from Kingsman movies. Okoye and Nakia pull out spears and start fighting off henchmen, and T’Challa is diving over tables while Klaue is shooting at Ross, T’Challa and everyone else to make his escape. T’Challa effortlessly makes a 20-foot leap into the upper balcony to chase after Klaue, only to have to dodge a slew of lasers as Klaue’s hand transforms into a cannon of some kind.”

Sounds amazing! We remember from Captain America: Civil War and the first Black Panther trailer that T’Challa’s vibranium-based costume actually has a lot in common with the Iron Man armor. Not only is T’Challa’s suit bullet proof and packing retractable claws, it also has stealth capabilities, can propel him over large objects, and enables vertical climbing (a la Spider-Man). All of this was evident in the footage shown at this panel.

If all of this doesn’t excite you, here’s another description of action that suggests the Black Panther is up against a wide array of antagonists:

“Next you see Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T’Challa prepare to battle… It’s clear that in the movie, King T’Challa will be challenged several times for leadership of Wakanda in ritual combat… A red battle suit similar to Black Panther’s form around Killmonger, and he leaps at the king. They fight, kicking, punching and swinging, before falling off a waterfall together, fighting all the way down into the cloudy waters below. In what appears to be another leadership challenge, M’Baku (Winston Duke), the leader of the White Gorilla Cult, steps out of a cave into the sacred lake to battle T’Challa. He’s much larger than Wakanda’s king and wears a large mask that resembles an ape.”

The Root relates that after the footage there was much cheering, lots of laughter, a few tears, and strong desire “to make a time machine to get to February faster.” Black Panther is a movie that should blow up the MCU (in a good way) for the hardcore fans, but it might also engage a whole new audience who hungers for a different kind of hero, someone who reinforces the value of concepts like STEM, while also representing their community too.

What excites you about the upcoming Black Panther movie? Let us know in the comments down below!

Black Panther hits theaters on 16 February 2018.

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SOURCE: The Root

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.