How Michael B Jordan solved Marvel’s villain problem

He might just be the best thing about 'Black Panther'
Michael B Jordan in Black Panther
[Image: Marvel Studios]

Considering that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has now grossed over $13.5 billion at the box office across 17 films, it feels rather harsh to be nit-picking over its shortcomings.

 

But, while there is no end in sight for Marvel’s success, there is one criticism that repeatedly crops up whenever a new installment is released. That’s because most of its villains have been rather underwhelming.

 

Even Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, the one villain that has drawn the most acclaim, has now become a tad humdrum after so many appearances, while the likes of Kurt Russell (“Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2”), Cate Blanchett (“Thor: Ragnarok”) and Michael Keaton (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”) have each shown glimpses of their undeniable talent in the most recent Marvel blockbusters, but have failed to leave a lasting impression.

 

Step forward Michael B Jordan, whose performance as Eric “Killmonger” Stevens in “Black Panther” is so superlative that it immediately makes him one the most memorable MCU villains yet.

 

Not only is Jordan powerful, smart and fiendishly skillful, but at points of the blockbuster you genuinely wonder how Chadwick Boseman’s titular character is going to emerge victorious.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Michael B Jordan over the phone about his performance as Killmonger in “Black Panther,” in particular his process for developing the villain, how he made him so vicious, and how he got into the right mindset.

“Without a doubt he is the darkest character I have played," Jordan immediately admitted. "As a ‘villain’ I wanted people to emphasize with Killmonger and where he was coming from.”

“But my preparation was mostly mixed martial arts and weightlifting. It was getting my body right and letting my hair out. I also meditated and prayed on certain people and ancestors that had been here before and embraced it.”

“People like Tupac, and Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and used them to add to the performance in any way that they could.”

Jordan also admitted that he kept a journal as Eric “Killmonger” Stevens throughout production, something that he has done for all of his characters.

“I created a back story and I wrote a journal for him, from the character’s earliest memory to the first moment of the script. I write a journal so that I know where he is coming from and going.”

You can now take in Michael B Jordan’s performance as Killmonger in all of its glory, because “Black Panther” has finally been released. You better make sure you see it, too, because literally everyone else is going to. 

 
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