This May marks the ten year anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If they continue to release films like Black Panther, they can keep making movies for the next hundred years. I cannot give enough praise to Black Panther. It is one of Marvel’s strongest offerings and shows why they have been able to succeed in building their universe whereas others like Universal and Warner Bros have struggled. Mightily in the case of Universal. They continue to add breadth and depth to their universe.
A preview ran before Black Panther for Antman and Wasp. Both of these are MCU movies about superheroes, but Antman is a playful heist franchise. Black Panther is a whole other monster dealing with themes about leadership, blood, racial identity, and tradition.
Black Panther is not a character I’m heavily invested in. He’d pop up in the comics I read like Spider-man or the Avengers. I always enjoyed him because he was cool. He was the king of an African isolationist country with futuristic technology. I never got into his comics because I never made the effort to. I knew his backstory and the origin, going into this movie. I went into this expecting another solid Marvel origin movie, but it took itself off the path.
Very violent. People get cut up by swords, stabbed with spears, shot in the head. It has a little politics in there but it’s never allowed to overpower the movie. You’re not beat over with the head of a message. I loved the sets and costume designs for this movie. It takes from African culture and adds a sci-fi twist to it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of sci-fi and worlds different than ours. I was impressed that they were able to give Wakanda its own identity that set it apart from the Asgard of the Thor movies and the alien world seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.
From a craft standpoint, I liked how willing Ryan Coogler was to put T’Challa through the winger. This guy gets messed up in this movie. He finds out dark secrets and gets the crap kicked out of the him. He’s a good protagonist because of how vulnerable he is throughout the film. He’s a man made king by the death of his father, unsure if he’s ready for the throne He faces tough questions once he is king and discovers the right answers by the end of the film. I hadn’t seen any of his other films (Creed is on my to watch list but I’ve only seen Rocky 1). I will make an effort to watch the rest of filmography.
As a first generation African immigrant, I was often caught in between two cultures as a kid. The American Black culture and African culture. This movie was a unique experience as it had those two worlds clash with each other through the conflict between, T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. T’Challa is African-born, raised in tradition, surrounded by family. Killmonger is American and has experienced the prejudices that go on in this country. He’s lost everything and wants to get even. I loved how far Coogler was willing to go with Killmonger to make him sympathetic but also show how destructive his line of thinking was. Michael B Jordan owned the role.
I give this film a strong recommendation. It’s a good movie with a memorable villain. I’m interested to see how this film does in the international box office. Domestically, it’s looking to break records. Superhero movie exhaustion is not here yet and it may never come.