Black Panther Origins
May 11, 2018 by Tyler Wong
As you all should know, the Black Panther movie was a big hit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But did you know how it was created and what it was inspired by?
The Black Panther’s name is T’Challa, and was created by comic book legend Stan Lee during the civil rights movement in 1966. That was a time when the equal rights movement was gaining momentum, so more representation for people of color, more specifically African-Americans, is what Stan Lee was driven by in order to create the comic books for the character. Another reason that gave Stan Lee the drive to create the Black Panther was to give a role model for young black comic book readers, as well as having someone, not just someone of color but someone of their own race be represented as a superhero. As time went by, the co-writer Jack Kirby developed various superheroes and villains around it such as the collaboration with the Captain America storyline. A few years later in 1967, Stan Lee adapted Captain America into the comics to join Black Panther as supporting character and part of the Avengers.
The more technical side of the Black Panther’s character is another big part of the movie/comic book. What many fans are asking about is: what gives him his powers and what is his suit made out of in the movie? We see T’Challa drink a purple juice and see his skin glow, those are the effects of a special plant called a Heart Shaped herb. The herb is affected by the metallblites and alien elements from the metal that makes Iron Man and Black Panther's suit as well as Captain America's shield, vibranium. When affected by the herb, Black Panther gets enhanced strength, speed and animal-like spirit senses.
Some of the villains Jack Kirby developed for the Black Panther comics were also based on his race, such as Killmonger, Venomn, and Windeagle. Killmonger was featured in the movie as his cousin N’Jadaka. His comic book history goes back to 1973. His father was gang pressed of assisting one of Wakanda (Black Panther’s home) enemies, Ulysses Klaue (Klaw). After an attack N’Jadaka’s father was exiled and sworn revenge against T’Challa’s father T’Chaka. Horatio Walter (Venomn), another Black Panther villain, gained his powers when he was walking in an abandoned alley and a gang member, Bruce Morgan, infected him with modified snake venom, similar to what gave Spiderman his powers. He then gained the power to control and possess snakes while testing his powers by befriending some snakes. He was attacked and was saved by Killmonger and convinced to join forces. Windeagle was a member of an organization called the Dragon Circle. He was attacked by the Black Panther when they made a heist of stealing vibranium from the Wakandan Embassy. He barely made it out alive when he blew up their getaway car.
Along with Black Panther enemies come supporting characters. The most notable one is his bodyguard and head of his guarding legion the Dora Milaje. She accompanies T’Challa on many of his missions as his bodyguard. Another supporting character is a member of his council, his second in command W’Kabi. In the movie we see W’Kabi aid Killmonger against T’Challa, but in the end was forced to surrender because of the defeat of Killmonger. Last but not least is one his superhuman allies Captain America. He was the first to encounter him when he was on his New York days when he was working with the Avengers.
Last but not least, is what is next for the Black Panther? Well, the Black Panther is going to appear in the climax of the Marvel universe, the movie Avengers: Infinity War. He will be serving as an ally for Captain America's side of the Avengers in defending Wakanda from Thanos, the Black Order, and his army to prevent him from gaining the last infinity stone. Okoye, his sister Shuri and another second in command M’Baku (man ape) will also appear in the movie, also serving as allies.
So even though Black Panther was a cinematic treasure, a box office record breaker, and one of the greatest superhero movies, there is still a great history on how it was created.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Door Decorating
March 23, 2018 by Amalia Lebowitsch and Una Dorr
If you were walking around MS 447 near winter break, you would see a door covered with snowflakes, Christmas trees, snowmen, and menoras, and you’d probably wonder why. The answer is not just because the school loves to get ready for the holiday season (though of course we do), but also because we also love to have a friendly competition!
“It was really fun and exciting to have the freedom to decorate a space. I also really like decorating in a winter theme, [because] I love the winter season, and I don’t normally get to decorate in the winter season,” said a sixth grader who decorated the quiet room door.
All around MS 447, doors were decorated with fun and creative objects, all related to winter in some way. Kids were grouped together trying to make the most beautiful door possible, using materials from home. Each group of contestants was given lunch periods and office hours to work on the door that they had chosen, though it was not mandatory to spend all your time decorating. But most people did, because it was a fun activity to take up long lunch periods and extra time after school! But, though everyone was given the base of a decor theme (winter wonderland), we were allowed to build off of this beginning and create a new, original idea. Some contestants chose to base their door off of popular movies, like Charlie Brown Christmas Special, or A Nightmare Before Christmas. Many people did winter scenes, like a group of ice-skaters or a cozy cottage in the snow. No matter what a group decided to create, each door ended up looking unique, festive, and always beautiful.
If you won the competition, then you didn’t only get the satisfaction of winning, but also a pizza party! This gave each group a little more consentive to put their all into it, and it certainly showed on the walls! One group showed their creativity by taking what was inside the room, and showing it on the door! As it was the door to the quiet room/library, they decorated the door with snowflakes and little drawings of well known books that they had drawn.
In the end, Room 337’s door won the competition and will be receiving the pizza party and the thrill of winning. Everyone did an amazing job, though the brilliant Nightmare Before Christmas theme really stood out in the hallways! Over all, the competition made the building sparkle, and it’s hard to wait for the competition to happen again next year.
Spring Break Staycation
Black Panther Movie Review
May 11, 2018 by Sophie Miretsky
Black Panther was a really extraordinary movie for me, because it really showed me the world through a different lense. It was an amazing idea to reintroduce the world of Wakanda and the Black Panther to 2018. It was the perfect combination of rich culture and worldbuilding with amazing graphics and computer generated imagery (CGI). But the most important thing about the movie in my opinion was the importance which is what my article is about.
Superheroes are role models for kids all around the world. They're supposed to represent the heroic goodness in every human being. But what Marvel and other big companies didn't realize before Black Panther is that not all people are properly represented. Can you come up with any major superheroes aside from Black Panther who have darker skin? Well I wasn't able to so I looked it up; have you ever heard of Abar? He was actually the first black superhero ever, being created in 1977. Abar was created before Superman, however, some people still refer to him as the “Black Superman.” Even though Abar wasn't ever very popular, he symbolizes that people were slowly getting the right idea. According to research from the University of South Carolina, “African-Americans represented 13.6 percent of characters in major movie films in 2017.” That's not talking about only main characters, it's including background people that don't make a difference in a movie. 70.8 percent of white characters were also represented in 2017. It seems unfair that not all kids can see someone who looks like them star on TV.
In Black Panther almost all of the cast and crew have dark skin. And one of the sidekicks is white instead of the classical white hero, black sidekick combo. And to top all of this off, in the movie we see some fierce women warriors who show that they can defeat an army of men and are very respected by all the characters in the movie. Not only that, but the women make a lot the technology, which shows that they are smart as well as strong. Another thing that I found unusual in Black Panther was all the traditional African clothes. I thought it was beautiful to see all these traditional clothes on the characters. Black Panther is extremely popular right now, which in entices other producers and directors to start creating and advocating for other films like it. Black Panther tickets sold for about 242 million dollars total over the holiday weekend, and made more money than all prior Marvel movies. All of this makes Black Panther more like a role model for future films both within the franchise and around it. From Black Panther’s success we can learn that being creative and representing other cultures pays off. I hope that Black Panther can be an inspiration to others and that we have many more movies of similarly amazing and culturally amazing movies to come.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Overview
January 18, 2018 by Tyler Wong
After two years of waiting, we finally have the next chapter of the Skywalker saga. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second to last piece of the puzzle before the final chapter, Star Wars: Episode IX. Does this movie live up to the hype? Here is a breakdown of what happens in the movies, along with some final thoughts about how this movie lives up to the rest in the saga.
Even though Star Wars fans expected the movie to open with a continuation The Force Awakens, and Rey's introduction to Luke Skywalker, we actually begin with an major battle between the First Order and the resistance. The resistance was evacuating D Quar after destroying the Starkiller base, when General Hux arrives with a First Order dreadnought battleship, which drops out of hyperspace. But Poe Dameron leads a strike team to destroy the lead ship. With some tricky moves, he buys enough time for one resistance bomber to destroy the ship.
Next, we pick up where the last movie ended, with Rey finding Luke on the planet Ahch-To. Rey hands Luke his famous lightsaber, and the audience is shocked as he promptly throws it away. Luke continues to avoid Rey, refusing to train her as a Jedi master, but eventually agrees to three lessons. During training, Luke despises Rey for not resisting the dark side. Rey is also contacted by Kylo Ren through the force and Rey tries to convince Kylo Ren to leave the dark side.
Meanwhile, the resistance is in trouble and are being tracked by the First Order. After a few hyperspace jumps, the First Order’s entire fleet manages to catch up with them, including Supreme Leader Snoke’s ship. Kylo launches an attack on the lead cruiser. We also see him refusing to fire on Leia's ship, as two support fighters proceed to fire away, blowing up the bridge as well as the hangar and almost killing Leia. We wonder what causes Kylo to hesitate, and if he is still able to return to good. Luckily, Leia uses the force to survive the bridge incident, but her injuries leave her in coma and she can no longer lead the resistance.
Rey’s friend Finn, along with a resistance worker Rose Tico, tries to seek out one of Maz Kanata's associates to disable the First Order's tracking device. Poe Dameron, suspicious of the decisions made by Vice-Admiral Holdo, who has taken over command of the resistance, supports Finn and Rose's plan. After many mishaps and risky moves, Finn and Rose arrive on Canto Bight, and find a hacker, DJ, who offers to help them. Meanwhile, the resistance ships are being destroyed and their fuel is running low. Unable to wait for Finn and Rose any longer, Poe decides to take matters into his own hands against Vice-Admiral Holdo, who he discovers is evacuating the ship and moving everyone to transport vehicles. Poe and his followers detain Holdo, but he fails to stop her when Leia emerges and stop him. Leia orders the rest of the transports ships to leave, as Holdo chooses to stay behind to captain the ship.
The most thrilling part was when Kylo Ren, using the force to contact Rey, reaches his hand out to Rey and they physically connect, which convinces her that Kylo still has hope. Rey listens to Kylo's version of the night he left Luke's training and turned to the dark side. But when Luke finds out that Rey is speaking to Kylo Ren, she confronts Luke about what really happened that night. It turns out that Luke was trying to prevent Kylo from becoming too ambitious, but failed and that's when Kylo Ren burned down the Jedi temple and killed all the remaining Jedi. Rey tells Luke that she believes that she can turn Kylo and bring him back, which Luke denies is possible, and after she leaves the island, Luke decides to destroy the remaining Jedi artifacts and end the Jedi forever. As he is about to burn down the ancient Jedi tree, he stops himself, but is then visited by the spirit of Yoda, who sets fire to tree and all the artifacts. Luke and Yoda talk about Luke's fear of failure as a Jedi Master, and Yoda imparts the wisdom that "the greatest teacher, failure is."
When Rey arrives on Snoke’s ship to confront Kylo Ren, she ends up being captured. Snoke is about to kill her, when in a strange turn of events, Kylo uses Vader's lightsaber to cut him in half and kill him. In an epic battle, Rey and Kylo work together to defeat all of Snoke's guards. Rey believes that Kylo will join the Jedi now, but Kylo tries to persuade Rey to join him and rule the galaxy. She refuses, which leads them to a duel over the lightsaber, breaking it apart as Rey escapes, and Kylo finally declares himself the new supreme leader.
Meanwhile the resistance transport ships are being destroyed one by one, and DJ betrays Finn and Rose, causing their mission to fail and be captured by Phasma. Sensing that the transport ships will all be destroyed, Vice-Admiral Holdo uses a sends the ship on a lightspeed collision course against the First Order fleet, which tears the fleet’s ship in half. This gives the resistance time to retreat to an abandoned planet, Crait. Meanwhile, still on the First Order ship, BB-8 provides a distraction by shooting lasers at the guards. Finn and Rose escape their execution, and Finn is able to land a solid blow to Phasma's helmet. We finally get to see her unmasked as she goes down with the ship, and Finn, Rose and BB-8 make their escape to Crait.
In the final battle scene on planet Crait, Poe Dameron and Finn launch an offensive attack on the First Order's main weapon with ski speeders, in an attempt to hold them off until help arrives. But luckily, Rey and Chewbacca arrive in time on the Millennium Falcon, drawing the attackers away from the speeders. When Poe orders a retreat, Finn and Rose almost die trying to make an attack run, but luckily Rose crashes her speeder into Finn, saving him. With no artillery defenses left and no allies coming to their aid, it appears that all is lost.
Suddenly, Luke Skywalker appears in the resistance base and he is reunited with Leia. Luke decides to confront Kylo, and walks outside the base as Kylo order his troops to fire on him, but seemingly nothing works and Luke is unharmed. When Kylo leaves his ship to confront Luke, they have an epic battle. As Kylo makes his final blow, he hits Luke but his lightsaber passes through him, leaving him unharmed. Kylo realizes that Luke has never left Ahch-To, and this is simply a mirage. Luke tells Kylo that he will not be the last Jedi and vanishes both on Crait and on Ahch-To. The rest of the resistance retreats through the caves with the help of crystal foxes, and Rey pulls them out of the cave as they escape on the Millennium Falcon. Rey tells Leia that the rebellion will rise again.
So in the end, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was action packed and definitely lived up to the other Star Wars films. With a satisfying ending, it ties up many loose ends, and leaves us wondering if the the resistance will make a come back. We also have a clear introduction to the next chapter, which comes out in 2019. Now that Luke is gone, is Rey truly the last Jedi? We will find out in episode IX.
Justice League: Behind the Scenes and Summary
January 11, 2018 by Tyler Wong
After a lot of DC comics movies: Man Of Steel, Wonder Woman, and Batman V Superman: The Dawn of Justice, we are ready for another one. Justice League which came out on November 17th, represents the DC hero team: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg
The origins of the team go back to Batman V Superman: The Dawn Of Justice. According to IMDB, Bruce Wayne (Batman) discovered the team while tracking Anatoli Knyazev (Kgbeast), a Russian weapons trafficker and found a partnership with Lex Luthor,(head of Lexcorp and, Superman’s arch enemy). At a party held by Lex, he met Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), she had hacked his computer and discovered his research on metahumans, people with superpowers such as: Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) herself, Barry Allen (The Flash), Arthur Curry (Aquaman), and Victor Stone (Cyborg).
When Lex tried to blackmail Superman into killing Batman and failed, he tried to kill Superman himself. Lex used the technology from the crashed Kryptonian ship ( In Man Of Steel) to create a Kryptonian creature using General Zod's body and his blood. That’s when Diana joined the fight. After an intense battle the three of them fought off Lex’s monster Doomsday, but after many direct hits and frontal attacks from the heroes, it wasn’t enough to stop it. But Superman was able to fight close enough to Doomsday, and stabbed him using a kryptonite spear, to kill the beast. But Superman honorably sacrificed himself in the process.
The movie takes place right after Batman V Superman. According to ‘creators.io’, and ‘reddit.com’, who confirmed the plot. Long ago, an alien warlord Darkseid was conquering planets using the mother boxes (sources of individual power, each of them control a different source: omega power, technology, and terraforming). When he found Earth, he sent his general Steppenwolf with his army of parademons as an alien invasion. The olympian gods, The Amazons (Wonder Woman's race,) the Atlanteans (Aquaman race), and the Green Lantern Corps (Green Lanterns allies) fought back against him, The heroic armies fought through Darkseids army and the Gods tore the mother boxes apart and drove Steppenwolf back to his planet, Apokolips.
When he (Steppenwolf) sensed Superman's death, he returned to Earth to hunt for the mother boxes, to deliver back to Darkseid. That leads to the Bruce to recruiting Barry, Victor, and Arthur in his fight against Steppenwolf. Bruce used the mother box that was used to revive Victor, to revive Superman with its power. Using the Kryptonian scout ship combined with some speed force energy from Barry all put together with the mother box successfully revived him. But when Superman mistook them for an enemy, they were able to regain his memories. At the final battle against Steppenwolf, the team tracked him down to a village in Russia. But even though they were able to get through the parademons but he still got them fighting on the ropes. Luckily Superman arrived and overpowered him. Wonder Woman and Aquaman destroyed his axe and disabled his control of the parademons and forced him to collide with the boxes killing him and destroying Apokolips when he teleported away.
In the end, the Bruce decided to rebuild his old hall as a base of operations for the team and expand a table for future heroes. The future members would be: Green Lantern, Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, Vixen,and The A.T.O.M. But on the dark side, Lex Luthor broke of prison and convinced a concept to Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) that they should create a league of their own: The Legion of Doom. The members of the Legion Of Doom would be major enemies of the team such as Deathstroke, Scarecrow, and Riddler (Batman enemies, Black Manta, (Aquaman enemy) Sinestro (Green Lantern enemy) Reverse Flash, Weather Wizard, Gorilla Grodd, Mirror Master and Captain Cold (Flash enemies) The Cheetah (Wonder Woman enemy), and Lex Luthor, Metallo, Brainiac, Livewire, and Silver Banshee (Superman enemies). In the end, Justice League opens up a world of endless possibilities for the DC universe to build upon.