There is no shortage of excitement for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the sequel to the 2018 hit Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Black Panther, which was released in November 2022. The film featured reappearances from the original cast with additional characters. Black Panther wowed Marvel fans with its narration of the newest king of Wakanda, T’Challa, and his efforts to protect his people. It made history for being the only superhero film to garner an Academy Award nomination.
The movie is celebrated for its epic costumes, nail-biting drama, and themes centred around race and identity. So, whether you’re starting a movie marathon or simply want to re-experience the thrill of watching a crime-fighting saga similar to Black Panther, these movies, well-enjoyed by Marvel fans, are a perfect match.
I Am Legend (2007)
In I Am Legend, Will Smith plays Robert Neville, a scientist plagued with the task of finding a cure for a manmade virus that has wiped out almost all of mankind. Racing to search for a cure, Neville is forced to face off with the zombie-like vampires the virus has turned society into, as well as the post-apocalyptic elements of a world he once knew.
The story of the movie channels the ‘never give up’ attitude of a strong man who has hope that all mankind can be restored in its rightful order. This is also reflected in Black Panther, and the message is conveyed just as strongly.
Determined to succeed alongside themes of perseverance, Creed is a telling of Adonis Creed, the son of heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, as he embraces his legacy as a boxer. As Adonis seeks mentorship from his father’s rival and old friend, Rocky Balboa, the story is a prequel to the beloved Rocky Balboa franchise.
The movie not only stars Michael B. Jordan, who played Killmonger in Black Panther, but also depicts the challenges of walking in the shoes of a well-known and respected predecessor. Several themes shine through both films, but one would definitely have to be the father-son relationship. Even though Apollo Creed is absent during the part of Adonis‘ life the film shows, his presence keeps having an influence on him as the latter realises that starting small rather than from the fame of his father, will cause him to prevail.
The Godfather (1972)
Unless living under a rock, every movie buff is familiar with the story of The Godfather, as it has, since its release in 1972, influenced a plethora of films and popular media. It has classic themes of loyalty, crime and justice, and the power that controls family relations. A decision by the head of a family-led mafia, Don Vito Corleone, ultimately puts the family in greater danger.
A lot of elements created through research done by director Ryan Coogler on The Godfather, are also seen in Black Panther. At its core, it’s a film that displays the secret life of a man, T’Challa, in an elusive country that no one knows much of, who works with his family, and once his father dies, he must take over that position of power.
The Woman King (2022)
It follows the story of Agojie, an all-female army tasked with protecting their kingdom in West Africa in the 1800s, and it stars Viola Davis as Nanisca, the general of the army. With skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen and faced with a new threat, Gen, Nanisca trains the next generation of recruits to fight against a foreign enemy that’s determined to destroy their way of life.
There aren’t many films about the history of Mesoamerica, but one that’s particularly gripping is the 2006 film Apocalypto. Directed by Mel Gibson and starring an indigenous cast, the movie tells the story of a young man named Jaguar Paw whose family is threatened by ruling Mayans from the larger city. Jaguar Paw puts his family in hiding but is taken as a human sacrifice to one of the Mayan pyramids.
On the journey he meets a young girl suffering from smallpox who prophesies the end of the Mayan civilization, pointing out the dying maize fields and razed forests. Though Jaguar Paw escapes and saves his family in the end, the film concludes on an ominous note, with Spanish conquistadors closing in on the shores of the peninsula.
When it comes to superhero movies, before Black Panther and Black Adam, another sleek, Black superhero graced the big screen, Blade. Eric Brooks (Wesley Snipes), the human-vampire hybrid, who was born after his mother was bitten by a vampire while pregnant, inherits all of their abilities but none of their weaknesses. Using his powers, he dedicates his life to killing vampires as Blade, the vampire hunter.
The 1998 Blade is definitely more of a bloody horror superhero film, with loads of violence and gore throughout, so be forewarned if you have a weak heart. The success of the original led to two sequels: 2002’s Blade II and 2004’s Blade: Trinity. Resurgent interest in the character has also led to a reboot in the MCU, with Mahershala Ali taking over the role of Blade in a film set to release some time in the near future.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The story begins with political pressure mounting to establish a system of accountability when it comes to the actions of the Avengers that result in collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. While Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) vehemently disagrees and supports oversight. As their differences escalate into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are caught in the middle and must pick a side.