21 Bridges

Viewed – 04 April 2019. Online rental

I can’t say I was all that taken by Chadwick Boseman in his star-making turn in the overrated Black Panther, but I was open to seeing what else he could do. So we come to this fairly typical thriller … that has Boseman as a seasoned detective with a bit of a reputation for gunning down bad guys over the years, who becomes involved in a manhunt for two crooks after a group of cops get killed. In order to trap the criminals he makes the unprecedented decision to lock down Manhattan by closing all bridges leading off the island. However it soon transpires there’s more to the situation than what first appears.

Boseman’s character history with his father being killed in a similar way, caused this viewer to get invested in the character’s methods. Support cast including a firm favourite of mine, J. K. Simmons and a barely recognisable Sienna Miller both prove interesting. However it’s how the two criminals are portrayed that delivers the movie’s depth and I’d have certainly liked that to have been explored a bit more. Also, an on-foot chase in the middle I must say was heart-in-mouth exciting.

However the movie’s twist sign-posts itself way too obviously early on, which means where it goes turns out (for the most part) predictable. Which is a shame because overall this is slick, exciting and regularly thrilling with plenty of style and energy. Boseman is a decent lead but at times his line-delivery is a bit ‘what did he say?’ but that’s a small gripe, and I was still gripped by his plight. Not a classic then, but a worthwhile, gritty thriller thats I still had a good time with.

Verdict: Good

Black Panther

Viewed – 21 February 2018  Cinema

Following the death of his father, Prince T’Challa aka Black Panther returns home to claim his birth right and become king of Wakanda.  However when news surfaces of a terrorist who has stolen some of his homeland’s resources, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) springs into action to stop his home’s sacred power being used for evil.

Black Panther

This has had a great deal of attention and is now one of the highest rated Marvel movies on RottenTomatoes.com, surprising when the character has never been what you’d call a household name like Thor, Spiderman etc.  For whatever reason this movie has gained such attention, what we actually have is a fairly basic super hero movie with the twist of an African setting and largely black cast.  Panther is an interesting, layered character and fairly refreshing compared to the usual machismo we get with other characters; but with a rise and fall and rise again story ark, I failed to see how this was any different than what we’ve been getting for several years now.  Add to this an underwhelming Michael B Jordan as the villain who’s character is basically a carbon copy of another Marvel villain, and like in Creed has no screen presence and is instead feels miscast beyond his impressive pecks.  Yet we do get a fantastic car chase sequence, decent CGI and some tense fight scenes, along with good support from Martin Freeman and especially Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s sister – who gets all the best lines and funniest gags.

As it stands this was very pretty, often fun but very drawn out considering it’s simple plot, and felt more like an ‘also ran’ in the juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe than anything else.  I still had a good time, but like a lot of heavily-hyped things these days … I also came away wondering what the fuss was about.

Verdict:  3 /5