Though “grit” is something that most people avoid in their coffee or hummus, it’s become the flavor du jour for comic-book movies involving heavily-armored batmen and humorless supermen. Marvel’s proven more adept at blending the heavier elements of its superhero fare in with the lighter comedic bits, most notably in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so the news that Black Panther will be among its grittier offerings isn’t a bitter pill to swallow.
The occasionally-worrisome superlative was dropped by Chadwick Boseman in an interview with Comic Book Resources at Comic-Con in July. Boseman, who made his debut as Prince T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, explained that his own superhero movie preferences lean toward “darker” films, though he didn’t specify which ones. But they definitely do not include Ant-Man, which, despite being delightful, is not on the more “graphic” end of the spectrum. Accordingly, Boseman’s promising that Black Panther will be a “grittier” movie than we’ve ever seen from Marvel.
I’m glad that the tone of [Black Panther] may be a little grittier. I just wanted to establish that from the beginning, that that’s what we were doing. That that’s what I intend to do. I feel like we’ll end up in a place that I’ve always wanted to be when I look at superhero movies. Those are the ones I like the most. It’s exciting to do that.
Black Panther is already making history for being the first blockbuster superhero film to have a black director—Ryan Coogler—and a predominantly black cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead). But Boseman’s confident that the film will appeal to all viewers: “It’s going to be a big deal because there’s not just black people or people of African descent that want to see it, I think everybody wants to see it.”