Thoughts About Stuff: Ryan Coogler Directing Black Panther

One of my previous articles was that I didn’t think being black was a requirement for directing Black Panther. And while I still think that, I think Ryan Coogler is a creative and talented director and couldn’t be happier he will be at the helm of Black Panther.

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler, director of Creed and Fruitvale Station

Despite this being just his third film, I think there is a lot to like about Coogler’s style and body of work. His previous two movies starred Michael B. Jordan, whom I think is a fantastic actor, but Jordan isn’t solely responsible for how powerful and impactful Fruitvale Station was, and he alone didn’t provide all the energy and resilience in Creed. After making those two movies, it was clear Coogler has a style, and makes very loveable characters, despite them also being very clearly flawed people.

Fruitvale Station
Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz from Fruitvale Station

Which is exactly the type of character you need in superhero movies. As many of them will have stunning action sequences, incredible CGI, and just a lot of popcorn moments. Make no mistake though, the movies that are often more critically acclaimed are the deeper character pieces.

Guardians of the Galaxy was getting to know a bunch of crazy misfits that somehow fit together. Iron Man was a story of redemption after incredible amounts of hubris destroyed Tony Stark’s world. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a Steve Rogers questioning his place in the world after having always believed in structure and order, and having that structure betray him. Ant-Man shows how far a father’s love really goes.

If you’ve seen Creed and Fruitvale Station, those two are plenty of reason enough to be excited about Ryan Coogler. However, consider the fact that the first time this was offered, Coogler turned it down. To me, this signifies that he probably wanted more creative control than Marvel was willing to give, and after having Creed be such a success, maybe Marvel was willing to give him a little more rope. I would hope this means we get to see a product that Coogler himself builds from the ground up and is proud of. So count me in as someone who is excited to see where Coogler goes with T’Challa.

You can check another writer’s thoughts/predictions on Black Panther here.

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