From being the first African-American Supreme Court Justice to his work in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case, Thurgood Marshall has cemented himself as one of the most prolific Americans of the 20th century.
But the latest film "Marshall" goes back even further, showing Marshall during his early days as a lawyer working for the NAACP. With one specific case in Connecticut serving as a backdrop this is a film that may not provide as much insight into the future Supreme Court Justice as one might hope for, but it does establish what made him tick while delivering a pretty solid courtroom drama.
That case involves a Greenwich socialite (Kate Hudson) who accuses her African-American chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) of rape and attempted murder.
Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) arrives ready to defend Spell, but - when he barred from speaking by the court's judge (an effectively stern James Cromwell) - he turns to a local lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) to be his voice in the courtroom.
The trial itself serves as most of the film, and director Reginald Hudlin makes sure those scenes pop with some crowd-pleasing moments that keep audiences guessing throughout.
Jacob and Michael Koskoff's script delves a little deeper, a film that explores racial and religious discrimination - themes that still resonate today.
Boseman, who has also played James Brown and Jackie Robinson, brings Marshall to life in an interesting way - almost like that of a super hero. It's a unique approach, but one that fits the film quite well.
But it's Gad who proves to be the biggest surprise in "Marshall." It's some of the best work of his career, with Gad showing a side we haven't seen onscreen previously. His on screen chemistry with Boseman is what makes "Marshall" tick - giving a story that many may not have been familiar with beforehand a broader audience.
You may not learn too much about what made Marshall such an important historical figure, but "Marshall" the film makes for a good starting point to seek out more information.