Movie Review
Marshall poster
By Craig Younkin     Published October 15, 2017
US Release: October 13, 2017

Directed by: Reginald Hudlin

PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and some strong language.
Running Time: 118 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $9,150,000
Boseman brings life to this character, whether it's Marshall's perceptiveness or his gift of gab.
Whether it's the Godfather of Soul, the first black baseball player, or the first black superhero, it's fair to say Chadwick Boseman is becoming one of the best actors of his generation. So there were high hopes for this bio-pic about NAACP Civil Rights lawyer and first black Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.

The film looks at one of the first cases of his career; a black chauffeur accused of rape by his white employer in Connecticut. Josh Gad is also in the film as a Jewish lawyer roped into being lead on the case when a judge decrees Marshall can only assist. This is important as the Gadd character has never tried a criminal case before.

You keep expecting Boseman to get that nomination sooner or later. "Get on Up" should have been his ticket, but "Marshall" while pretty good in most areas, just doesn't feel like it has enough weight to it. I wish they did go with a bigger case of his, or just go all out and go with the one he's known most for – Brown v. Board of Education.

The movie becomes another case of a black man being railroaded by a biased and corrupt system built on fabrications. For some that may be enough to hold them; the court room scenes that take up most of the movie are often rousing if not predictable. This is all pretty easy-going though – by the second half it's pretty much a comedy the lengths most of the white people in this movie will go to in order to hide their prejudices.

At times it almost feels like they’re trying to start a Thurgood Marshall movie Universe here – like this one may not be that good but we'll tease you with some of the better stuff to come if you want it. But even so, Boseman brings life to this character, whether it's Marshall's perceptiveness or his gift of gab, he's cool because he knows he's the smartest guy in the room at any given time. Josh Gad has his moments but he still can't seem to fully get out of the goofy sidekick role. We'll have to see how he does in "Murder on the Orient Express."

Oddly enough this is a bio-pic that comes across more as a crowd-pleasing good time than something that's going to be remembered at the end of the year, which is fine. I laughed, I was invested in the court trial mostly, the performances, including from Sterling K. Brown as the chauffeur are very good. Yet you just feel like it should have done more.
Craig's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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