Review: ‘Black Panther’ Is Barely A Marvel Film, And That’s A Good Thing
Black Panther is not really a Marvel film. Marvel films are entertaining, but they’re usually sorta paint-by-numbers filmmaking. You know what you’re getting with a Marvel film. They’re essentially expensive episodes of TV that further the main storyline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You know, that main story that the world will end, but it’s saved by one superhero on a planet with many that don’t show up because it’s not in their contract? Then there’s probably a laser or portal in the sky followed by a mid-credit/post-credit scene. This has that latter, but the former is way more complicated than just a giant portal in the sky.
This Marvel film really tackled some major issues in the first 20 minutes, It will make you walk around a museums feeling weird that many of the things there on display weren’t just given to the museum for people to look at, but will remind you that many of the wonders you see were stolen, sold, then resold over and over to different people until the crime is unnoticeable. Watching that is a lot more impactful to your morality than Tony Stark coming home from being abducted, and then eating Burger King. Great scene, but not quite as influential.
Premise: After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
A great example of using a huge budget and voice to speak about important thing to an audience who will show up to watch any Marvel film. Think about it for a second: Do any Marvel movies ever bomb in the box office? No. Even if it’s a bit of a let down, it’s still around $700 or something. This film — including a majority of black actors with a budget of $200 million — determined to tell and amazing story of a superhero protagonist with a crew of mostly badass women surrounding him. It succeeded.
Not only does the film inform, but it most definitely entertains. There’s a segment in there that combined the Q moments in Bond movies with scenes from The Dark Knight where Morgan Freeman is showing Batman all the cool gadgets he can use. I could watch an entire movie filled with “now, check out this cool piece of tech” scenes.
A rare Marvel film, this doesn’t make you walk out of the theater boasting to friends with “Bro, did you see how he flipped around with that SUV?!” No, it makes you walk out of the theaters and think about issues that we deal with now. It speaks louding about immigration, racism, and trying to isolate yourselves from other cultures. Mixing cultures is what makes humanity incredible. Cutting everyone off limits people from learning and growing. As T’Challa states in the film: “Wise men build bridges, fools build barriers” in an obvious dig at President Donald Trump.
The cast is impeccable. Chadwick Boseman is fantastic. After the movie, I watched interviews with him on YouTube. I forgot that his accent in the movie was fake, so hearing him with his natural accent was a bit off putting. He’s that good. Everyone else in the ilm did a great job, but 2 actors in the film made me have to hold off laughter in the theater. Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis reprise their roles from past films, and they were also Bilbo and Gollum in The Hobbit. So that means the major white actors in this film are the two main characters from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. To be honest, Bilbo was kind of a dick at the beginning, so a nicer, more badass Freeman was fun to see.
If ever there was a Marvel film to suggest to go see for fun, but also for a complex opinion piece, I’d suggest Black Panther. It’s me being lame saying that it’s entertaining, but it makes you think on the drive home. What I hope it does is add to the conversation about race and politics. All it takes is one phenomenon to blanket the issue. I think this movie might be the movie to have more people talking. It’s also a great movie regardless, but let’s tone down the after credits stuff? That takes away from being a film that can stand alone.