“T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.“
Finally, the movie that everyone has been anticipating is here. Marvel Studio’s Black Panther. Everyone is picking out their Afro’s, ironing their Dashikis and, no lie, tonight I saw a woman dressed like she was going to a Nigerian wedding. This movie is bringing a lot of Black pride. The question is, does it live up to the hype? Yeah, it does.
At first I was a bit concerned with the direction the movie was headed in. It seemed to be telling a few tales, jumping around different timelines and scenes, but the early disjointedness eventually lined up to tell a very compelling story.
The look and feel of Wakanda was spectacular. The land, the technology, and the art was visual eye candy that merged a futuristic city with a land still tied to its roots. This was a major theme of the movie.
I did feel there weren’t enough actual Black Panther moments, but it didn’t hurt the movie at all. If you see a Spider-Man movie, you always wan’t more Spider-Man and less Peter Parker, but these characters were so engaging, seeing more Black Panther wasn’t as necessary.
As far as acting, this film had a great star-studded cast, but the definite standouts were Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira (Michonne from The Walking Dead). It’s rare to see Jordan playing the bad guy, but he owned the role of Killmonger and his radicalized agenda. Gurira brought a level of bad-assery I was not expecting and you can tell she put a lot of work into fleshing out Okoye, Black Panther’s number one bodyguard.
The one flaw I found with the film was the motion CGI. The Black Panther character, for example, at times came off too rendered and sometimes appeared to be anatomically distorted. The interaction with the environment at moments felt off, but it wasn’t overly distracting. The saving grace is that it’s a comic book movie so they can get away with more from that aspect. Luckily the acting was so good it pulled most of your attention away from these shortcomings.
I also like that there were several little nuggets, messages, and takeaways in the movie and it doesn’t whitewash the real-life history and struggles Black people have faced. It looks at it through several different lenses and leaves it open to honest discussion. This was a good addition to the MCU, and I look forward to seeing Black Panther kick ass throughout the next few movies!
Overall Grade: B+
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Black Cinema
Director: Ryan Coogler
2 hours 14 minutes
Review: Godzilla vs. Kong
Godzilla vs. Kong reminds me that I was an idiot as a child. I allowed the 4:30 Movie too significant a piece of my brain pie. I existed in a headspace where The Planet of the Apes and Gamera were more science than fiction. I was certain skyscraper-sized monsters lived in the woods a few blocks away, and that ghosts were under my bed. Somewhere in possibility-land, a black and white Lon Chaney slowly becomes a werewolf in a handful of dissolving frames.
Cut to my final form, and I can’t help but think these movies are just a total waste of time and resources. Sure, the effects can be impressive but often they have as much weight as a video game. Buildings smash into dust, an actor says a line against a green screen, then Kong sits on a throne like a stereotypical king. Ah doi!
Sure, the hollow Earth with upside-down mountains in the sky is cool – but where’s that sun coming from? The MechaGodzilla fight has some great effects, but you can watch those on Youtube without having to sit through a bunch of lines like “Kong bows to no one.”
Maybe I just can’t enjoy normal human things anymore.
Now that Captain America is Black…
Now that Captain America is Black
- Bucky Barnes will change his name to Summer Soldier Buckquan because “Nah son! we ain’t doing sh*t in the winter!”
- Fearing for their lives, Police officers will fire 751 shots at Cap in the 4th of many incidents to come.
- In a new altered timeline, Thanos will win due to Cap being detained by a routine traffic stop. “How can you afford Vibraniun on a government salary? Please step out of the vehicle sir.”
- Captain America will form a Rap group with Black Panther called “Black-America.” The group will not be received well but will eventually have all their intellectual property stolen for decades to come without any due repar… I mean royalties. #MESSAGE
- Racists will be utterly confused when they tell Captain America to “Go back to where you came from.” Equally confused, Cap will pack up all his belongings and stay put.
- Cap will be accused of stealing Thor’s hammer the next time he picks it up.
- Cap’s shield will be replaced with a Vibraniun PlayStation Controller since black men are more comfortable throwing that.
- The battle decree will officially be changed from “Avengers Assemble” to “Yerrrrr! It’s on sight!”
- After 40 years of service, Cap will travel back in time to 1998 to finally get that last dance with his true love, Laura Winslow. They will Cha Cha Slide to “Before I let Go” as the credits role.
- Upon retirement, those jaded with having an Af-Am do such an amazing job will appoint a failed real estate charlatan to take up the mantle. The New Cap will immediately try and grab Scarlet by her “Johansson” and declare himself the best Captain America that ever did it during his inauguration.
Chadwick Boseman Forever!!
It is clear that Chadwick Boseman chose iconic roles like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Black Panther with deliberate intent and for a specific purpose. In an age where positive roles for Black actors is often sparse, Chadwick managed to land and portray historical figures that made most respect his talents if not revel in his ability to transition effortlessly for one character to another. Even I had to give his African accent a solid B+ (It’s the highest grade the Nigerian Standards Bureau can give for an African accent to a non African FYI.)
Holding out and preparing for these dynamic roles came with both great frustration and incredible resolve I’m certain. Not to mention the taxing ordeal of battling Colon Cancer as the grueling scheduling of filming and increasing responsibility for positive representation loomed. Even under extreme duress, Chadwick’s commitment to others appeared to outweigh his own tribulations, unbeknownst to us all.
Black Panther may have been just a movie to some and that may be because some can easily rattle off 10 movies with a king of non Af-Am origin. It represented a lot more to others. Albeit imagined, imagery on cinema often accomplishes more to augment the social narrative and society itself than actual reality. If negative stereotypes influence perception then positive ones absolutely have the same converse effect.
Even in jest, the cultural misappropriation of raisins in potato salad on SNL skits directly spoke to the tampering of black culture to which T’challa championed, represented and aptly responded “Oh hell Nah Karen!”
If you don’t understand the relevance of representation, it’s probably because you are thoroughly represented. After all, no one is ever grateful for every breath they take until they are gasping for air.
R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Thank you for breathing life into the possibility of Black excellence.