Chadwick Boseman will soon be a household name. The budding star was introduced as a leading man playing Jackie Robinson in 42, but his true claim to fame is Black Panther. The film of the same name will hit theaters on February 16 and, based on early reviews, it looks to be another hit for Marvel Studios.
Boseman has been climbing up the ranks for the past seven years, and he already boasts an impressive filmography. Early in his career, Boseman worked almost exclusively television. More recently, however, he has become a full-fledged movie star. In preparation for the release of Black Panther, let’s look at Chadwick Boseman’s best roles to date.
Released in 2013, 42 follows the story of Jackie Robinson, who led the racial integration of Major League Baseball. At the time, Boseman was a relatively unknown actor, but his portrayal of Jackie Robinson put him on the map. The film centers on Robinson’s historic debut on the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the bulk of the story focuses on his relationships with his new teammates, and with legendary Dodgers GM Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford.
The film celebrates Robinson, but it also tells the story of the men who supported him. When Robinson first joins the team, he is met with hatred by teammates and fans alike. With the support of Rickey, he eventually cements his place on the team, and in history. Boseman is incredible in the role, and delivers a multi-faceted performance. 42 may have been Boseman’s first big role, but it was just the start of a promising career.
In his theatrical follow-up to 42, Boseman starred alongside Kevin Costner in Draft Day. The film follows Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver (Costner) on the morning of the NFL draft. For the most part, Draft Day operates more like a political thriller than a sports film, but it’s anchored by great performances.
Boseman plays Vontae Mack, a college linebacker who is Weaver’s first choice in the draft. Weaver and Mack’s relationship is a crucial facet of Draft Day, and Boseman played his role perfectly. Sure, it wasn’t the largest role, but Boseman was the standout in a cast filled with seasoned actors.
Get On Up
Get On Up really solidified the actor’s abilities as a leading man. The film depicts the life of James Brown (played by Boseman), but it’s a typical biopic. With a non-linear narrative, fourth wall breaks, and a heavy reliance on Boseman’s charisma, this is a unique film. Portraying an iconic figure isn’t easy, but Boseman totally transformed into James Brown.
In addition to depicting his career, Get On Up showed Brown as a the man. Yes, he was a brilliant performer, but he was also a manipulative perfectionist. Boseman nailed all facets of Brown’s personality in a way that was both realistic and relatable. The actor was praised for his electrifying performance, which is among his finest roles to date.
Captain America: Civil War
Although it was technically the third Captain America film, Captain America: Civil War was basically another Avengers film. The movie is still about Captain America; however, the events of the Civil War changed the entire landscape of the MCU. Loosely based on the popular Marvel Comics storyline, Civil War focuses on the growing conflict between Captain America and Iron Man.
Although Cap and Iron Man are the centerpiece of the film, Civil War also introduced 2 major Marvel Comics character, Black Panther and Spider-Man. The introduction of Spider-Man into the MCU was a big deal; however, Chadwick Boseman’s debut as T’Challa/Black Panther stole the show. He didn’t have a ton of screen time, but Black Panther was central to the plot. Boseman delivered a riveting performance that had fans clamoring for a Black Panther solo film. Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait much longer to see Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther again.
Released last year, the Reginald Hudlin directed Marshall was Chadwick Boseman’s return to biopics. The film chronicles the early career of first African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (played by Boseman). Although Marshall had a long and incredible career, the film centers on the trial of a chauffeur named Joseph Spell, who was accused of rape by his white employer.
For the most part, the film is a tense courtroom drama propelled forward by amazing performances. Boseman is terrific as Thurgood Marshall, but the supporting cast, which featured Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown and Kate Hudson, all brought their A-game. Critics and audiences praised Marshall for telling a riveting and important story that shines a light on a crucial time in American history. Marshall definitively proved that Chadwick Boseman is one of the best up-and-coming actors working today.
Make sure you catch Black Panther when it hits theaters on February 16, 2018.