9.5/10 stars for Marvel’s Black Panther

**WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS SOME MINOR SPOILERS FOR BLACK PANTHER**

Wakanda is a beautiful and vibrant example of exquisite world-building. It looks incredible – as a stunning fantasy landscape, a technological wonder, but also as a country buzzing with tradition and culture. The costumes, weapons, architecture and even the people’s gestures (the crossing of the arms, the dancing before the duels, etc) all contribute to a stunning world more developed than anything we have seen in the Marvel universe to date.

Part of this is achieved through the outstanding cinematography. There are numerous shots that render the viewer speechless, the beauty and raw power of certain scenes is mesmerising. The music contributes to the overall feel of the movie perfectly, a blend of the modern and traditional – mixing the familiar epic sound of Marvel’s soundtracks with more primitive tribal music.

The real strength of Black Panther is the cast and the outstanding characters they play. Every actor on the screen is exceptional. Chadwick Boseman, of course, is the quintessential Marvel superhero. He is honourable, just and righteous, a perfect king for the nation of Wakanda. Boseman’s acting is both profound and charming, achieving a great balance between the intensity of the fight scenes, and the playful banter he shares with his sister.

T-Challa-Shuri-Black-Panther

Michael B. Jordan’s Eric Killmonger, though bitter and disillusioned with the world, is charismatic and sympathetic. It is difficult not to relate to him. Danai Gurira as General Okoye is strong and determined, fiercely loyal to Wakanda (and would make an excellent partner to Captain America – just imagine the honour the two of them would ooze on screen together!)

Letitia Wright’s Shuri almost steals the show in her own right. A wonderfully developed character, she is funny and has some of the best moments in the film. Her intelligence, reflected in her ingenious inventions, rivals Tony Stark’s and, as a team, they would be formidable (she would also be more than capable of keeping up with his witticisms). But the best thing about Shuri is the joy she radiates when explaining her creations. This is a woman who shows pride in what she accomplishes and isn’t ashamed to show excitement at her own achievements. She is a science geek, without falling into the typical geek stereotype (she can even seriously kick ass when she needs to).

Shuri-Black-Panther

But all of these things apply to numerous Marvel films. Excellent acting can be said of The Winter Soldier or Civil War. Humour is wonderfully represented in Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok. Black Panther has these things, but what makes it truly shine is the maturity of the storyline. This is no simple origin tale of a superhero. Really, T’Challa becoming the Black Panther is only a minor plot point. The true theme at the heart of this film is the plight of African nations.

Black people all across the world, and throughout history, have suffered at the hands of colonialism and prejudice. Relegated to third world status, many of Africa’s countries struggle with poverty, but Wakanda is wealthy, accomplished and more technologically advanced than any place on Earth. If it were to reveal its true self to the world, Wakanda would undoubtedly be ruined and so the rulers of the country have kept it hidden from prying eyes. But doesn’t Wakanda have an obligation to share its resources and knowledge with those suffering around them? This is the true question at the heart of the film – embodied by Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia. As a moral philanthropist, Nakia wishes to see the nation of Wakanda spread its wealth to those who need it most, even if it means piercing the blissful bubble that has protected them for centuries.

Ever since the film’s conception, it has been heralded as groundbreaking for its depiction of black characters. In this it is truly admirable and revolutionary. But the representation of black people isn’t its only triumph. Black Panther also excels in its portrayal of female characters. Instead of a single ‘strong’ woman as a token gesture (as Black Widow can sometimes appear), the female characters in this film are integral to the plot and indeed drive much of the narrative. Female warriors, commanders, scientists, inventors, diplomats are all woven into the plot and, most crucially of all, without the need for explanation. Okoye isn’t the ‘first ever’ female general, or the leader of the ‘all-women unit’ of the army. She’s just the general, because she is. And that is a huge step forwards.

There are very few negative aspects of the film. It is easily a top tier Marvel movie and one that won’t be easy to top (although Infinity War will give it a good try). There are only a few areas in which it loses points. Firstly, there isn’t really a need for armoured rhinos! They look good, but they don’t add anything and seem to be thrown in for visual spectacle and nothing more. The film is already stunning enough without war rhinos!

Secondly, the love story between T’Challa and Nakia seems a little weak and unnecessary. It doesn’t really add anything to the movie (though they do make a gorgeous couple!).

Finally, though Black Panther is a fantastic film in its own right, it doesn’t really feel like a Marvel movie. The recent films in the MCU have all linked together very well, with characters and artefacts crossing paths and interlinking, ready for Infinity War. Aside from a few minor things, this film doesn’t link with the others at all – making it an unusual choice of movie as the last before Infinity War. Civil War or Thor: Ragnarok would have been much better for warming up the fans before the main event.

But, these points aside, there is very little that can be criticized in this outstanding movie. Overall, Black Panther easily achieves a 9.5/10.

Han Solo movie film poster Star Wars dm cain immersive fantasy fiction

7 upcoming movies for fans of extended universes

It’s an interesting time for geeks the world over as science fiction, fantasy and superheroes take over our screens. The Marvel and DC phenomenon has exploded in recent years, showering us with a whole range of excellent (mostly excellent…) films and series to enjoy. Once, comic books were viewed as for the geeky underbelly of society, the single, lonely nerd in the basement, but that has changed drastically. Now, people from all walks of life indulge in superhero adventures and science fiction journeys.

Directors and producers have seen the huge success of these movies and capitalised on the potential, bringing the huge interlinking worlds of the comics to the big screen, drawing viewers in and get the geeky blood pumping around our bodies. The Marvel universe is a fine example of this, with each film cleverly weaving in and around the others, characters crossing paths and even fighting one another (as in the excellent Captain America: Civil War).

For the modern viewer, a single film just isn’t enough anymore. We expect more from our movie experiences and each trip to the cinema gives us not one evening’s entertainment, but rather a small chunk of something that will keep us entertained for years – a glimpse into a wider world.

Here’s a rundown of the extended universe movie treats we have in store over the coming months and years:

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Han Solo movie film poster Star Wars dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
Star Wars spin-off movie Solo: A Star Wars story promises to be a rollercoaster ride of adventure, cocky smirks and general roguish scoundrel antics

Star Wars Episode IX

Star Wars episdoe 9 IX film movie dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
Following the outstanding sequel movies, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, episode IX will bring an end to the Skywalker saga. It promises to be a thrilling and yet heart-wrenching goodbye to this incredible story arc.

Avengers:Infinity War

Marvel MCU Avengers Infinity War movie film dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
The culmination of every Marvel film to date, Avengers: Infinity War will bring action on an epic scale

Black Panther

Black Panther MCU Marvel film movie dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
A ground-breaking triumph for the Marvel universe. Black Panther’s early reviews are excellent and the movie promises to bring a mature and complex edge to the MCU

Ant Man and the Wasp

Ant Man and the Wasp MCU Marvel film movie dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
Ant Man is a fun character and his chemistry with The Wasp is great – it will be interesting to see these two together.

Venom

Venom Tom Hardy MCU Marvel film movie dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
Dark, brooding and intense at the best of times, Tom Hardy is an excellent choice to play Venom in all of his terrifying insanity.

Black Widow

Black Widow MCU Marvel film movie dm cain immersive fantasy fiction
Black Widow is an intelligently written character who happens to kick ass too. It’s about time she had her own movie.

Tell me in the comments section, which of these are you most looking forward to?

 

For more on world-building and immersive fantasy fiction sign up to D.M. Cain’s newsletter

cropped-immersive-fantasy-fiction-website-header4-png1.jpg  Immersive fantasy fiction profile picture - smaller

 

Avengers:Infinity War trailer review

The new trailer for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ was released yesterday.Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet:

Here’s a quick run-down of what I made of it – the good and bad parts.

PROs:

That music <3

1 - Infinity war trailer review Audrey Horne Twin Peaks

The epic combinations of characters:

2 - Infinity war trailer review Iron Man Spiderman Doctor Strange

Thor and Rocket together (squeeeee!)

3 - Infinity war trailer review Thor Rocket Raccoon

This amazing shot:

4 - Infinity war trailer review Spiderman

CONs:

I’m not convinced by the new style of Captain America’s shield. It has potential but I really miss the iconic circular shield

5 - Infinity war trailer review Captain America Black Panther

Personally, I’m not a big fan of Doctor Strange, so I’m hoping he’ll be used sparingly, and if he is used a lot, he’ll be used well

6 - Infinity war trailer review Doctor Strange and Iron Man

Do you agree with my pros and cons? Do you have different ideas? Let me know what you think!

Solo: A Star Wars story trailer review

The trailer for ‘Solo: A Star Wars story’ was released yesterday.Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet:

Here’s a quick run-down of what I made of it – the good and bad parts.

PROs:

  • This incredible shot:

1 - Millennium Falcon star destroyer Star Wars Solo trailer

  • ‘I’m gonna be a pilot – best in the galaxy’ – this line sent chills down my spine

2 - Star Wars Solo trailer Han

  • Shiny, clean Millennium Falcon interior!

3 - mIllennium Falcon interior Star Wars Solo trailer

  • I do like the look of Alden Ehrenreich as Han – he’s got the little smirk just right.

4 - Han Star Wars Solo trailer

5 - Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover Star Wars Solo trailer

  • Some kick-ass Falcon moves

6 - Millennium Falcon shot Star Wars Solo trailer

CONs:

‘I was kicked out of the flight academy for having a mind of my own’ – This line seems really cheesy to me. A bit like he thinks he’s too much of a maverick to play by the rules

7 - Robert Downey Jr Star Wars Solo trailer

Emilia Clarke looks sadly under-used (though I acknowledge that this is just a short trailer so it’s difficult to tell for sure)

8 - Emilia Clarke Star Wars Solo trailer

Do you agree with my pros and cons? Do you have different ideas? Let me know what you think!

Is this the most adorable and geeky thing you’ve ever seen?

Anybody who knows my family knows that we are enormous Star Wars geeks. My six year old son is already a die-hard fanatic and his six month old sister is well on her way.

So, this Christmas when we should have been making festive footprint art, we decided instead to go for something a little more… ‘us’. This is the result!

Let me know – which is your favourite? I really like Boba Fett and the little porg <3

Star Wars footprint art

Star Wars footprint art
The top row of footprints are by my son, Deacon. The bottom row are baby Lucia’s.

A Chronicle of Chaos for 0.99!

A Chronicle of Chaos is available to buy for just $0.99 / £0.99 from July 21st – July 27th. After that, the price returns to $4.99 – so why not grab a copy of this epic fantasy now!

BUY IT HERE!

Chronicle of Chaos 34 final file resized title and shield changed DPI flat.jpg

BLURB:

“The new book in DM Cain’s epic Light and Shadow fantasy series certainly plunges us in at the deep end. The heart of this book—its true essence—is prejudice and love, persistence, and stubbornness.” Stewart Bint, author of In Shadows Waiting and Timeshaft.

A brutal war has raged for centuries. The Brotherhood of Shadow and The Children of Light each yearn to rule the planet and will stop at nothing to defeat the other. Now, from the deepest bowels of Hell, the Brotherhood has summoned demons to fight for them. The demons could end the war once and for all, if only the Brotherhood can keep them under control.

Prophecy, destiny, honour, and glory: Chaos, a soldier in The Children of Light, fights in the name of all these things and could achieve them if he wasn’t so arrogant. He believes he is the best warrior in the land, until a fateful coincidence puts him at the mercy of the demon, Anathema.

The two warriors, demon and human, strike up an intense rivalry, but their obsession to destroy one another only leads them closer together. When the forces of Heaven and Hell collide, where will their loyalties lie?

Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

https://www.facebook.com/dmcain84/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dmcain84/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7888430.D_M_Cain

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

The Light and Shadow Chronicles symbol no. 8 – Valhalla Elite

Chronicle of Chaos 34 final file resized title and shield changed DPI flat

The cover for my newest novel A Chronicle of Chaos features a shield with eight symbols carved upon it. Each of the symbols represents a different army, faction or group of people within the series. Over the next eight days, to complement the release countdown, I will be posting about each of the symbols to give some background on the armies you can expect to learn about in Chaos and the upcoming novels in the series.

The LAST symbol I will be talking about can be seen on the bottom left of the shield:

Repaired shield Valhalla

 

This is the sigil of Valhalla Elite, a small band of elite soldiers within the Brotherhood of Shadow. This battalion of soldiers was set up by one of Vincent Wilder’s sons by the name of Silas.

After suffering greatly at the hands of Raven Lennox and Avalanche, Silas set up a Brotherhood equivalent of the elite faction, naming it Valhalla Elite. Most of the soldiers in this unit are other children of Vincent Wilder and his many concubines.

Characters from this army that you can expect to see in A Chronicle of Chaos include:

Silas Wilder – Silas takes few things in life seriously and instead chooses to indulge in all manner of pleasures. Underneath his complacency, he is intelligent and cunning but his mind is starting to falter, giving way to visions and delusions. After a chance meeting with the Brotherhood’s shadowy adviser, the Bavelize, Silas decides to do everything in his power to exact his revenge upon Raven Lennox, before his waning sanity gives out completely.

ValhallaSymbol2

A Chronicle of Chaos is now available from Amazon!

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D4YAD96/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01D4YAD96/

Previous posts:

Cover art and symbols designed by Irina French: facebook.com/irinafrenchdigitalart/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7888430.D_M_Cain

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

The Light and Shadow Chronicles symbol no. 7 – D.U.S.K.

Chronicle of Chaos 34 final file resized title and shield changed DPI flat

The cover for my newest novel A Chronicle of Chaos features a shield with eight symbols carved upon it. Each of the symbols represents a different army, faction or group of people within the series. Over the next eight days, to complement the release countdown, I will be posting about each of the symbols to give some background on the armies you can expect to learn about in Chaos and the upcoming novels in the series.

The SEVENTH symbol I will be talking about can be seen on the left of the shield:

Repaired shield DUSK

 

This is the sigil of D.U.S.K – the Democratic Union of Separatist Knights.

D.U.S.K. is an independent nation set up by a mixture of deserters from both the Children of Light and the Brotherhood of Shadow. Disagreeing strongly with the politics of the eternal war, these people left Alcherys and Meraxor to set up a nation where everybody would be treated equal, regardless of their background, race or family history.

There are no characters from this faction in A Chronicle of Chaos, but stay tuned because they will be featured in an upcoming novel in the series!

DUSK

A Chronicle of Chaos is now available from Amazon!

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D4YAD96/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01D4YAD96/

Previous posts:

Cover art and symbols designed by Irina French: facebook.com/irinafrenchdigitalart/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7888430.D_M_Cain

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

The Light and Shadow Chronicles symbol no. 6 -Brotherhood of Shadow

Chronicle of Chaos 34 final file resized title and shield changed DPI flat

The cover for my newest novel A Chronicle of Chaos features a shield with eight symbols carved upon it. Each of the symbols represents a different army, faction or group of people within the series. Over the next eight days, to complement the release countdown, I will be posting about each of the symbols to give some background on the armies you can expect to learn about in Chaos and the upcoming novels in the series.

The SIXTH symbol I will be talking about can be seen on the left of the shield:

Repaired shield BofS

 

This is the sigil of The Brotherhood of Shadow. The largest army on the planet belongs to the Brotherhood of Shadow, a dark cult ruled by the Bavelize – a mysterious smoky creature of unknown origin.

Residing in the huge forested country of Meraxor, the Brotherhood of Shadow are ruled by Vincent Wilder, an immortal warlord locked in eternal battle with Callista Nienna – the leader of opposing army the Children of Light.

In A Chronicle of Chaos, the Brotherhood have summoned four demons to fight for them in a hope to shift the balance of power in their favour.

Characters from this army that you can expect to see in A Chronicle of Chaos include:

Vincent Wilder – Cold and merciless, Vincent has ruled the Brotherhood of Shadow for over 130 years.

The Bavelize – Very little is known about the Brotherhood’s shadowy deity, aside from the fact that it only appears to select few, and even then after completing a specific ritual. It appears to know many things outside of a human’s understanding and has the power to travel between realms with ease.

Brotherhood

A Chronicle of Chaos is now available from Amazon!

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D4YAD96/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01D4YAD96/

Previous posts:

Cover art and symbols designed by Irina French: facebook.com/irinafrenchdigitalart/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7888430.D_M_Cain

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/