A solo movie for my favorite Marvel superhero? Yes pease!
First introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther has had movie audiences excited to see him in his own movie ever since his debut. When we started getting designs and trailers from the movie, fans were excited but wary. The roster of current superhero movies is decidedly white, so there were concerns as to how well a black superhero would be presented and received. Were the fans right to be concerned?
Let’s find out!
At first glance, the story doesn’t appear to be anything spectacular. T’challa is nervous and unsure if he is fit to be the heir to the Black Panther powers then bad guys show up to threaten everything he cares about. However, there’s one important detail that changes everything: the scope of the story.
T’challa isn’t just a superhero, he is a king, a king of the most technologically advanced nation in the world that has kept itself hidden for fear of its resources being misused. And Wakanda is more than just a place in this film. The first fourth of the movie is mostly spent establishing the cultures of Wakanda and the fascinating political issues it faces. Yes, you read that right, Wakanda has more than just one culture, it has five distinct cultural groups or tribes that make up its citizenry and council. We will touch on these more in the visuals sections, but rest assured, these tribes play an important role in the movie.
In tone, this movie feels more like an episode of Game of Thrones than a superhero movie, and I mean that in the best way. The fighting was spectacular, but everything between the fights was just as interesting if not more so. It raised fascinating and relevant social and political questions while also providing answers to those questions, which is more than even Blade Runner or Captain America: The Winter Soldier ever did.
The twists and turns keep you engrossed at every turn, with clever humor to add levity. Some of the commentary was a little heavy handed, but fit with the tone of the movie.
Story gets a 5 out of 5.
Of course, much of what made the story work was the characters. Each one is deep, complex, and filled with nuance. It is impossible for me to pick a favorite or to go into much detail without going into spoilers. T’challa is a great protagonist, his supporting cast is spectacular, and Erik Killmonger is perhaps the best written villain in the MCU yet. Sorry Loki, but you got nothing on Erik.
Characters get a 5 out of 5.
Afrofuturism! Afrofuturism everywhere!
Wakanda is one of the most colorful and distinct science fiction settings I’ve ever seen. Where most fictional cities just have silvery or white buildings, Wakanda is full of color and graffiti and incorporated the natural landscape beautifully. Those tribes I was talking about earlier? Each one is given a distinct color pallet and style of dress based on actual African styles.
The only criticism I have is that the CGI is not as good as it could have been, but that is a small complaint compared to the rest of the spectacular attention to detail in everything else.
Visuals get a 4.9 out of 5.
Final Thoughts and Score
I absolutely loved this movie! As both a fan of Black Panther and a fan of anthropology, this movie was everything I could have wanted and more.
Go see it! Go see it first chance you get!
Final score is a full 5 out of 5.
Please let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments down below! Please keep it spoiler free.
If you have any requests for what you want us to review next, put those in the comments too!