“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