Benjamin Wollmuth is a lover of literature who enjoys sharing his thoughts on everything from movies and video games to books and music.
The Black Panther
Before we begin, I have to admit: I have thought that Black Panther is super cool for the longest time. Ever since I saw his sleek design in the comic books, I've been obsessed with his stealth and fighting skills. A Black Panther movie had been something I really wanted for quite a while, so when I heard Marvel was finally making it happen, I got pretty excited. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. Yet, like most movies I have high expectations for, I wish I could have seen more. "More of what?" you may be saying to yourself, either out loud or in your head (or not at all, and you're really just telling me to stop assuming). Well, whether you asked it or not, I will be getting into it here, while also sharing why I think this film is super cool.
I was super excited to see more of T'Chala after seeing what he could do in Captain America: Civil War. Chadwick Boseman does such a fine job as the character and brings a lot of character to the character (does this sentence make sense?). Basically, I think that Boseman was a great choice.
The character of T'Chala has a fine arc in the film. As the new king, he learns from his father's mistakes––as well as Killmonger's––in order to be the best king for his nation, as well as bring help to other nations who need it. He truly wants to do what is best for his people, but he also learns to do what is best for the world.
Stealthy & Sleek
Now, as I said before, I fell in love with Black Panther because of his sleek suit and fighting style, and this film has both. Firstly, I think both suits––the one used in Civil War and the one used here––are super cool. I love the purple and black color palette that blends in with the darkness. Possibly my favorite scene in the film comes right towards the beginning, where T'Chala attacks an armed convoy at night to save Nakia. That right there is what I want from a Black Panther movie: stalking prey and using stealth to hunt in the night. I guess I just wish there had been more of that. Yeah, the scene in South Korea takes place at night, but it is not exactly stealthy. It looks cool, don't get me wrong. However, I just wish we had gotten more scenes like that one at the beginning.
The other heroes of the film––including Okoye, Nakia, Shuri, and Everett Ross––are all great, too. Will Everett Ross appear in a future MCU film? I sure hope so, because he kinda disappears after this one. Maybe he will make an appearance in Black Panther 2.
Yes, there are technically two villains, and I'm going to start by talking about the lesser of two: Klaw. Now, I use the term "lesser" because he is in the movie less than Killmonger, and I personally wish we could have seen more of him. I find him truly menacing and feel that Andy Serkis did a truly outstanding performance. I just wish he hadn't been killed off and that we would have been able to see him fight alongside Killmonger in the final battle at Wakanda. I don't think they wasted Andy Serkis' talent, per se. I just think they could have done more with the character rather than killing him off. Hell, he is one of Black Panther's most notable villains in the comics, after all.
The true villain of the film is Killmonger, masterfully played by Michael B. Jordan. He is menacing. He is powerful. He is downright insane. Yet, he has a strong personal motivation that makes sense. He was abandoned by his people and king––the same king who killed his own father. While his idea of giving out free weapons to everyone oppressed is pretty irrational, it's also understandable given what Killmonger has seen. Yes, he carries the trope of being the hero's complete opposite. However, he manages to have personality and, as I said before, an understandable motive, which makes him stand out among many of the MCU villains.
The World, Social Commentary, and My Biggest Negative
I must say, the set designs for this film are some of the best that the MCU has to offer. The blending of modernity with traditional African culture is just beautiful. I wish we could have seen more of the city––or even more of the land––that Wakanda has to offer.
Now, the social commentary is something that makes this film stand out. This is a movie Marvel wanted to use to bring the African community together, as well as shed light for those who aren't as knowledgeable when it comes to how oppressed black individuals feel. Watching Black Panther at a time like this––a time where the Black Lives Matter movement is at its strongest––hits differently. You can watch this film for pure entertainment, sure, but the message behind it is what is truly important. I'm glad Marvel put a movie like this out there, especially one that manages to tell a pretty good story.
Now, here comes my biggest negative, and it probably will not shock you in the slightest: the final battle. More specifically, the CGI. That's all I'm going to say because every movie critic and their dog has talked about how unfinished the CGI looks in the final battle. You notice it once, you notice it always. Sometimes it's distracting, but I try to block it out.
The Verdict: 8.5/10
Yes, I wanted to see more of Black Panther hunting in the dark. Yes, I wanted to see more of Klaw. Yes, I think the CGI at the end of the film should have been given more time. However, the film manages to have an outstanding main antagonist, magnificent set design, awesome fight choreography, and a truly beautiful message. I really hope that Black Panther 2 explores more of Wakanda because I think it's one of the most beautiful places the MCU has ever visited.
The film makes me want to see more of what the Black Panther has to offer, and trust me, that is a good thing. Do I think this movie could have given us more? Yes. However, for the first solo outing of a character who I have loved for a long time, I think this film does a fine and entertaining job.
I am going to give Black Panther an 8.5/10.
Check out my last Infinity Saga review!
- 'Spider-Man: Homecoming': My Favorite Spider-Man Film - Infinity Saga Chronological Reviews
This is a review in which I explain why "Spider-Man: Homecoming" is my favorite Spider-Man movie. Spoilers lay ahead.
© 2020 Benjamin Wollmuth