In case you haven’t noticed, Marvel’s 18th live-action MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Black Panther was released President’s Day weekend and has exceeded well above the already popular expectation this movie was going to deliver. From box office numbers, to breaking barriers, and even showing the world that a predominant black cast can bring people to the theatre, this film has proven there is still room for different kinds of storytelling in filmmaking.
Okay, so I am a little late to the game in writing my review. By now, you have probably seen this movie once, twice, maybe even three times to catch every bit of wonderful this movie has brought to most of the world. I myself have only seen it twice. I say only because I think I have another itch to see it just one more time, just in case I missed something from my other viewings. From the many articles already released in favor of this movie, what exactly can I add to the table that you already don’t know?
This review comes from a geek who hasn’t followed this character from comic books or cartoons. The only exposure I have had of T’Challa and the city of Wakanda have only come from the MCU with his appearance in Captain America: Civil War. I was very impressed with his character, his hero alter ego, his fighting and hero capabilities. As a newcomer to this wonderful character, I would have to say that I love this film and the story presented. Which such a limited exposure in the previous film, the question was could this character stand on its own two feet and be a blockbuster smash like the other Marvel hits we have had so far. Especially following the impressive and hilarious Thor: Ragnarok, there might have a been a lot of expectation riding on this one. Here are a few reasons why I enjoyed this movie so much.
Here you have a man, T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, who just lost his Father due to the events from Civil War, and is next in line to take the throne and lead the tribes of the technology advanced city of Wakanda. While handling his new responsibilities, an outsider comes to challenge that by rocking the city of Wakanda by unveiling the secrets of king’s past.
They got this story right. Aside from the action and excitement of being a superhero with the costume and all, we also watched a film that is relatable to the world we live in right now regarding the rich helping the poor and how much help should the rich give back. Wakanda is facing a challenge to help parts of the world that could use their enhanced technology and bring improvements to other cities, especially those populated by the black community. Wakanda stays in plain sight but hidden from the rest of the world to avoid others from utilizing their resources, such as vibranium, the strongest metal in the world, and using it for the wrong reasons. Thus, threatening their peaceful way of life and safety from outside forces.
I really enjoyed this story a lot because we have a movie that actually has a hero needed to save the people from a problem that is capable of happening. No Aliens, no Gods, no other super enhanced being was the threat and focal point of the movie. The scenario brought to our hero is something we can all understand or at least be self-aware of how close to home it is. Nothing wrong with the former, it is just nice to see a different side of being a hero and that includes dealing with real issues going on in the world right now.
Marvel has had a bit of trouble creating and executing a great villain for their movies. While Loki is still around and probably the best villain they have so far, his reasoning for his villainy comes from something that is either repetitive or basic to give credit to an accomplished adversary. The big bad in Black Panther is a man who has seen the injustice and oppression against his own community and seeks vengeance and justice for those who can’t fight for themselves. When you hear his story and reasoning for his actions, you action can sympathize with the man and maybe even side with him. What makes him such an enemy is that his methods are fighting fire with fire practically becoming the same kind of person he is trying to fight. This villain known as Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, showcases that his upbringing is the blueprint on how he views the world and sees only one way for a solution. This is a villain I can get behind. For once, this villain has a reason to do what he does. Right or wrong, he brings up a point of what certain people in the world must deal with to get by. Similar to The Vulture in Spiderman: Homecoming, Killmonger provides a fresh take on how a villain can have more power through his cause than his muscles or power he has over the world.
I am not going to spoil anything regarding the women of this movie, let me just say that the women in this film outshine the men in the film and for good reason. The action scenes, the comic relief, and the best lines are given to the women in the film. Each woman with a unique character, strength, and ability to be noticed is just a start of what these women have accomplished. The importance these actresses including, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira, brought to the table not only showcased how amazing their acting skills are but if it weren’t for them, I honestly don’t think the movie would have been good as it is. It was wonderful to see such beautiful and variety of women in the film. All strong, independent, and smart. It was a pleasure to be able to see them on screen shine and show the world, a woman character, especially a Black woman character can entertain just as much as a man can. In my opinion it’s about damn time.
The costume design and style brought to this film is something I haven’t seen in a movie in a long time. I was very impressed with the fashion in this film. You ask, “how can the clothes they where entertain you while watching a movie?”. Listen to me when I say, the clothes maketh the character. The clothes brought the power and confidence in their words and actions. From the Black Panther suit with more enhanced abilities, to the sophisticated, modern look of a strong warrior, to an undercover spy going to a black-tie event. The wardrobe brought a lot of color to the palette of the movie making it bigger and brighter.
The action sequences are impressive. Car chases, defying gravity acrobatics, and lots of melee hand to hand combat are all present in the action of this movie. It’s also done in a very mature James Bond like style of action scenes that make it a little less cartoony than its previous superhero films. It’s not a better style, it’s just different and that difference worked. The technology that I got to witness in the film also added to the entertainment and fun to the action presented in the film. The special effects also looked great as well. The car chase that happens towards the middle of the movie involving Andy Serkis’s character Ulysses Klaue, who by the way is a riot in his own merit was a delight to see. I think you will enjoy it too.
Overall, writer and director Ryan Coogler (Creed and Fruitvale Station), brings a superhero film to the big screen different than most you would see. This isn’t the first attempt to change the pacing or execution in a superhero or comic book film, but what I am very proud about is that there is another black superhero that we can now cosplay during conventions and Halloween while using the color of the skin as an essential part of the look. There are little black boys who are able to look at someone that looks like them be a superhero and look up to. Witnessing little black kids take photos in front of the poster or big 3D stands of the character while imitating them puts a smile on my face. I am proud to see that in a world that is dominated by men in Hollywood, we see a movie with strong women characters that seems to be in the front seat as much as the men are. I am also proud to see that a movie with more than 90% of the cast are black and can still make some money, proving that against all odds, black people have the capability to bring their story to the screen and bring interest to all type of people and not just black people to the movies.
Let me point out that if you are not black and you want to see this movie, you can see this movie and understand everything you see. The movie is not written only for black people to watch. I repeat, the movie is not written only for black people to watch.
This movie is a standalone movie, giving you more development into the character of T’Challa, his family, and his involvement in the bigger picture of the MCU timeline. This solo film managed to achieve a lot without having an official origin story as the rest of the Avengers so far. Which also says that we can still get a movie with Black Widow, Hawkeye, or even Falcon. I would love to see a standalone movie with the Falcon. Go see this movie as soon as you can, I highly recommend this movie to anyone and everyone who has even just a glimmer of interest in seeing what the hype is all about. There will be some that may not see the greatness of this film and that is okay. There are those who want to see more of a traditional Marvel movie and may not see this is a good example of one. What you can’t deny is that Black Panther is going to be around for a long time and his presence is just as important as the rest of the roster. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. #wakandaforever
5 out of 5
Thank you for reading my extended review. Hopefully there isn’t a lot of spoilers to your liking. I hope this encourages you to watch this film. Please comment below what you thought of the film and why you liked or disliked it. I know that I didn’t cover everything this film brought to the world but as far as entertainment, this movie passes with flying colors. Hopefully I can cover more of it in my new podcast coming soon. Stay tuned for that. Remember, every movie has at least one fan. I’ll see you at the movies.