The world is hit with news of the shocking and devastating death of Chadwick Boseman at age 43. The Black Panther star died following a quiet four-year battle with colon cancer. Known for his powerful portrayals of legends James Brown and Jackie Robinson, as well as his groundbreaking role of T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The beloved actor passed away just before the upcoming release of Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, an adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name. It was already expected that his performance as Ma Rainey’s (Viola Davis) ambitious trumpeter Levee would put him in the awards conversation.
While Boseman made a name for himself with biopics like 42 and Get On Up, he will be remembered for being a trailblazer in the superhero world.
Beginning with 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Boseman ruled as King T’Challa for four movies, most notably Black Panther. The film from writer-director Ryan Coogler is arguably the most successful superhero film of all time. Between earning over $1 billion at the box office, scoring Marvel both its first Oscar win and Best Picture nomination, and providing a hero for a community that rarely gets to see themselves wearing capes and saving the world.
Having worked on eleven movies between his diagnosis and his death, we take a look at 5 of his best that you could watch in memory of King T’Challa.
1. Black Panther.
Love it or not, this is Boseman’s movie. The film is one of the best in the long-running franchise and certainly among its most visually thrilling. Chock full of excellent performances, Ryan Coogler brings something special to this film. Coogler does some excellent world-building while inserting fully fleshed out characters that from the get-go we have an emotional attachment to. That’s a very hard thing to do, and the movie crushes every aspect. Boseman and his entire kingdom nailed it 100%. Considering we all want no one but him as the king of Wakanda, wonder how Black Panther that initially set for release in 2022 will play out.
2. Avengers Infinity Wars.
Don’t you just love the hope representation that came with T’Challa’s appearance in the MCU movies, particularly when the war was almost lost and the portholes appeared and there he was with his entire army ready to kick some action? As much his screen playtime is limited in Infinity Wars, King T’Challa is a symbol of hope in leadership we all need. The boost of adrenaline we all wish we have every time we hit rock bottom, and most of all a respectable, cultural representation of the blacks in the frontline.
3. Get On Up
Boseman expertly navigates the larger than life personality that was James Brown. Nailing every aspect of the character, Boseman is electrifying. The movie winds through Brown’s life touching on the dark and the light of one of the kings of soul music. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer also offer up excellent supporting work. Though it often feels a little unfocused from Tate Taylor‘s direction, Boseman’s work is always what keeps you invested.
Tackling his third biopic, Boseman steps into the shoes of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Judge. Rather than that aspect of his life, the movie focuses on Marshall’s early days as a lawyer, trying a case in Connecticut. Boseman gives a quiet but confident performance in the film and, the cast around him is excellent as well. The movie harkens back to the days of great courtroom dramas. Reflecting upon some topical social themes, Marshall succeeds on that promise without ever being heavy-handed.
Baseball icon, Jackie Robinson broke all kinds of barriers. Boseman plays Robinson in this biopic. Though the movie ultimately plays it a little safe, it’s fascinating none the less. Director Biran Helgeland never goes too deep but does an admirable job of exploring the man and the incredible story around him. Harrison Ford is surprisingly solid as is the rest of the supporting cast. Robinson legacy is done with justice in this riveting portrait of an American story.
The world misses you already!
If you’re reading this, please take a minute to say a prayer for the family he has left behind.
CRDT: Boombuzz Kenya
R.I.P King T’Challa.