The world is changing. Soon there will only be the conquered and the conquerors. You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.”
I don’t know how to review this cinematic masterpiece with having only seen it once. Black Panther is not your ordinary Marvel film. It is such a beautiful and layered story. It wasn’t just an action movie, but a story of a man who has to make tough decisions. This movie was POWERFUL and IMPACTFUL. There were so many messages that resonated and I’m sure resonated even more for the black community as a whole. I loved the characters, the cinematography, the music, the themes, and feminism. Yes, Black Panther is so freakin feminist that I would even argue that it’s more feminist than Wonder Woman. The pacing was perfect and I wasn’t bored for a second.
At some point the characters stopped being characters and the actors brought their own authentic personalities to the role, it felt like. T’cholla (Black Panther) and his family were utterly heartwarming. Shuri was my favorite! I will have to dedicate an entire blog post just to write about her character. Seriously. Furthermore, the visual effects were astounding. The world-building of Wakanda was breath-taking. The scenes in South Korea were so lit. The chase scenes reminded me of the later Fast and Furious films.
It’s not magic. It’s technology.”
I really liked how Black Panther refrains from violent acts for the sake of violence. At some points, it does feel like the movie is holding back because the movie lands softer on its feet than other Marvel movies. What I mean is, Black Panther doesn’t make the story as simple as the hero vs. the villain. It’s villains against villains and eventually one of the villain’s own self-fulfilling desires is what ends him. It might feel underwhelming at first, but I thought it was an excellent way for Black Panther to separate itself from other Marvel movies.
Black Panther didn’t sugarcoat on the themes. European colonization and the issue of Western influence is a prevalent topic in this film. Black Panther is not subtle about calling out White People™. Speaking of… Throughout the film Wakanda is constantly dismissed as only being a third world country and therefore cannot have anything to contribute to Western society. While Wakanda is fictional, real countries in Africa are also stereotyped as being a place of savages and uneducated or unintelligent people. Many people still think the entirety of Africa is just a jungle. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Technological advancements and cities exist within Africa. My biggest hope is that Black Panther will break stereotypes about Africa as a whole.
My only qualm is that I expected a greater climax. I like when suspense is included in action movies (i.e. What’s going to happen next? I’m on the edge of my seat. I didn’t see that coming! I’m scared now). I also didn’t expect for certain characters to become irrelevant so quickly. Erik Killmonger is this movie’s main “villain”. His role in this film was completely unexpected. However, when you see it, you’ll understand how his character actually served as a counter-argument to the philosophy of Wakanda. While he serves a purpose, the villain’s demise was just a tad predictable to me.
Maybe I expected the film to have a dark edge (my first favorite superhero movie was Christopher Nolan’s Batman after all), but instead it was more light-hearted and left me feeling more hopeful by the end. Maybe a tad too hopeful? That being said, my personal expectations did not take away from my overall positive experience with the film and the film’s narrative. Black Panther was extraordinary and important and relevant and SO MUCH MORE.
Have you seen Black Panther yet? What did you think? Do you have plans to?