The recent entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been shown to be greatly accepted by the many moviegoers and reviewers/critics (however you want to call them). It has gotten many high scores and is garnered to be up there as one of the best Marvel movies to date. I am not entirely agreeing with this, but I am with it being a good movie. Which is why I’m making this review, so beware of what could always be taken as small spoilers and let’s get this started.
Taking place shortly after the ending of Captain America: Civil War, the Black Panther T’Challa has come home to become crowned king in his home of Wakanda after the death of his father T’Chaka in a bomb attack. It is shown throughout the movie that T’Challa adores his father and holds him in high regards, but as the story progresses, it is not quite so clear as to how much of a saint he was in the first place.
Later in the movie a man named Killmonger arrives in Wakanda, wanting to take the throne away by birthright and lead the people towards a different path than what Wakanda has previously always done, what always have been their way.
The movie takes a great deal to show Wakanda for its beautiful nature and social culture that surrounds the people as we are being shown just how much of the African culture we all know, with a more futuristic approach (reminds me a little of how Thor Ragnarok was with its city). But the director also goes into utilizing a good mixture of action and humor amongst its cast as they dabble in topical themes and not being too stereotypical.
For a film that touches on many very real and very serious topics, I always expected Black Panther to be an entirely solemn affair. Some parts are, but it’s also an entertaining adventure film about an action hero with awesome gadgets and a super-suit, a fun film with many laugh-out loud moments, and a gorgeous movie with a distinctive visual style that can’t be mistaken for any other big-budget movie. It’s a testament to director/co-writer Ryan Coogler’s skill that he juggles all these elements without his film ending up totally inconsistent. Black Panther has made a larger-than-life crowd-pleaser that works so well because it keeps itself grounded in what is very human, emotional, and relatable for us movie goers.
Probably the one thing I loved, absolutely loved about this movie, which is also why I believe it is the very core that keeps it all together. Is the culture of Africa being shown, how tribal-esque the whole idea of what the Black Panther is and how you attain the title to become one. How the people, even with so much technology and knowledge still can be as faulty as we normally are as humans.
The other thing that is worthy to point out from the aspect of the main character T’Challa, is that he is not having an origin story here, but more akin to a life lesson as he must know what it means to be a king of a people and a hero/legend to a country. It’s all in the good old saying that Uncle Ben once told us; “With great power comes great responsibility”.
So much of that theme is brought to light here – and with such power and resonance – thanks to Michael B. Jordan’s striking turn as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. Like the X-Men’s archenemy Magneto, Killmonger is the more violent, extremist mirror image of the superhero protagonist. If T’Challa is about maintaining traditions and keeping Wakanda’s advanced technology and Vibranium safely hidden from the outside world, then Killmonger is driven by a deep-set need to right wrongs and exact justice – which are usually the motives associated with the superhero, not the supervillain. And that’s what makes him so compelling and, ultimately, such a deeply moving character. The best villains are said to be the ones the audience can sympathize with, and Killmonger certainly fits that bill. He is the strongest villain (figuratively speaking) the MCU has produced since Loki.
Killmonger’s arc helps illuminate the larger, real-world issues Black Panther explores. A variety of topics – isolationism, the haves and have nots, social justice, and the legacy of colonialism – all add up to make this the most timely, political, and important Marvel movie to date. Black Panther sets the stage for a bigger, more important conversation coming out of the theater beyond just what it might set up for some future MCU installment.
On a quick side note, since I went in and saw this movie with two other friends, we couldn’t help but laugh when ever the characters would say the word “way”. That is probably because of how much it was used throughout the internet with Ugandan Knuckles, but the good thing is it didn’t take away the enjoyment we had when watching the movie.
Yet, I must say that the movie isn’t perfect. There are some pacing problems, with a rather slow start that isn’t being kicked into a higher gear, until the main cast takes a trip to another country. Also some places in the movie with the topics being covered and how the characters pursue them, do feel too overused and becomes a bit of a drag, but it’s not dragging the entertainment value down too much, but just enough that you notice it.
I’m not entirely sure what it is about this movie that makes it something to be certain to watch, but overall in the end I think that it’s best to settle for the culture is what makes this movie so good. There’s just something about the African culture which clearly shines in almost every single scene of Black Panther, that not only does it want me to see more but also know more about the country itself (even though Wakanda is made up and sounds a lot like Uganda).
So, if you like superhero movies but aren’t afraid of it being with a different lead than we have been used to in many previous movies or series from Marvel. Then Black Panther is something for you, that will surely bring you on a journey which has sorely been missing from these types of movies in a long time. However, do be aware that it still follows many of the basic elements that garners a superhero action movie, still it doesn’t get hold back a lot by this and overcomes it at many places.
Score: 8 out of 10
Nevertheless, I do want to hear your guys thoughts on this movie if you have watched it or are planning to. Write it down in the comments and let us have a discussion.
Stay Cozy and have a nice day!