Ryan Coogler Black Panther

It’s no secret that Marvel Studios’ superhero films are often not “just” superhero movies. While they obviously have that element firmly in play, they often represent a variety of genres and styles of filmmaking filtered through the superhero lens. ‘Ant-Man‘ is a heist film… with superheroes. ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘ is a John Hughes-style high school drama… with superheroes. You get the idea.

‘Black Panther’, the first Marvel movie of 2018, has been getting attention for all sorts of reasons. Whether your interest is driven by the film’s unique production design, its diverse (and incredibly talented) cast, or simply the really cool trailers, there’s something for everyone. But one thing that hasn’t generated much ink yet is the movie’s stylistic influences. If ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is a seventies-style political thriller that happens to star Captain America, what, then, is ‘Black Panther’?

Speaking with Fandango, director Ryan Coogler recently weighed in on how he would characterize the film:

“I think it’s a bit of an espionage thriller. I think it’s a little bit of a family drama. He’s dealing with the loss of his father, so similar to any film that deals with royalty, you have a family element and you have a political side, too. It works as a political drama as well.”

Coogler then continued, elaborating on his approach and influences:

“For me, I try to pull from a wide variety of films. I love watching movies, man. I’ve been a fan of watching movies way before I even knew I would ever make them. I’m definitely from the school of studying films. My favorite film is a film called ‘A Prophet’, a French film that was released almost a decade ago not, which seems a bit crazy. Any time I’m making a movie, I’m always leaning on inspiration from that one.”

‘A Prophet’ deals with secret societies and cultural ties, so that was a big influence [on ‘Black Panther]. I also watched a lot of Coppola’s work from the seventies. We were looking at all of that stuff and also watched a lot of the James Bond films, but not the new ones. I wanted to watch the ones that were made in the sixties and seventies. I watched ‘Goldfinger’ for the first time, and I just thought it was really interesting in terms of how James Bond was handy.

Helmed by ‘Creed’ director Ryan Coogler, ‘Black Panther’ will be the eighteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film, which stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis, will arrive in theaters on February 16, 2018