Review: Black Panther

Series: Marvel Cinematic Universe: #18

Series: MCU Phase 3: #6

That’s a very solid movie. The casting is top notch, the style is wonderfully afrofuturistic, and the plot/motivation is interesting enough.

Starting with the plot/motivation, I think that the choice to have Wakanda separated from the rest of the world, all through centuries of slavery and inequality is certainly an interesting one. And I’m not at all alone.

Nakia: I came to support you, and to honor your father. But I can’t stay. It’s just … ! found my calling out there. I’ve seen too many in need just to turn a blind eye. I can’t be happy here knowing that there’s people out there who have nothing .

T’Challa: What would you have Wakanda do about it?

Nakia: Share what we have. We could provide aid and access to technology and refuge to those who, need it … other countries do it, we do it better.

T’Challa: We are not like these other countries, Nakia. If the world found out what we truly are, and what we possess – we could lose our way of life.

Nakia: Wakanda is strong enough to help others and protect ourselves at the same time.

One can argue if the idea of Wakanda is even possible–that the world wouldn’t have noticed–but it’s a good way to mix in with the rest of the MCU.

Speaking of which, oh man, those South Korean scenes. Truly the best part–IMO–of the movie. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/the Black Panther is a great combination of sophistication, physical superpowers, and tech while still feeling from the first that he really is a good person. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia has a lot of good points (see above) and acts as a good foil to T’Challa. And Danai Gurira as Okoye… in a wig (and hating every moment) is spectacular. She has quite the action scenes.

On the other hand, it’s nice to see Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross and Andy Serkis as the absolutely delightfully unhinged Ulysses Klaue. Oh he’s a wonderful first villain. It makes it all the at once better and worse when Killmonger just outright kills him off . They could have done so much more, but conversely, it works.

That being said, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger has so much presence on screen. You can feel that he really means what he’s working towards, that he’s been twisted by a militarist upbrining, and that he really can go toe to toe as the ‘baddie with the same powers’.

Another thing that was a bit weird about the movie–although more of a nitpick–was how ’limited’ a lot of the scope was. We have the one scene in South Korea, but other than that, it was a much more ‘internal’ MCU movie than we’ve seen in a while. Rather than global threats, it was all local politics. Even the final battle was various Wakandan tribes squaring off in a field. Don’t get me wrong, it looked very cool. But the idea that each tribe went entirely with one leader or the other completely and all just started fighting to the death there was … strange.

T’Challa: Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.

In any case, a solid movie, right up at the top of my MCU movies overall/for the year. Man the MCU is doing amazing things. Well worth the watch. Onward!

Random note the first: Man. Chadwick Boseman having been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, around the release of Captain America: Civil War and two years before the release of Blank Panther. He was undergoing treatment this whole time. And he still acted the heck out of these roles. Truly a wonderful man.

Random note the second, I love this joke: There are only two white characters on the movie poster–Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross and Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue. Given that the former was Bilbo and the latter Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, they’re the … Tolkien white guys. Wonderful. :D

I need to watch Lord of the Rings again.