Marvel’s highly anticipated superhero flick, Black Panther, is finally out. But did it live up to the hype? Are we being tricked into thinking we are seeing a good movie just because we’ve seen nothing like it before? In our Black Panther review we are going to look at the good, and the bad. Let’s take a look. Remember! SPOILERS AHEAD. If you just want to see the rating, scroll to the bottom!
Black Panther takes place shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War. As you may recall, King T’Chaka, the former King of Wakanda, was killed in a terrorist attack during the events of Civil War. This led to the first appearance of The Black Panther, who was out to avenge his father’s death.
We find T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, unable to come to terms with his father’s death and his sudden new role of King of Wakanda. He feels that he’s not yet ready to lead the reclusive nation.
Meanwhile, T’Challa’s cousin, Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, is planning to claim what he sees as his rightful place on the throne of Wakanda. We learn that Killmonger’s and T’Challa’s fathers were in fact brothers. Killmonger’s father was killed by T’Challa’s father after it was shown that he helped thieves steal a supply of vibranium (the precious metal that makes up Captain America’s shield), which is basically Wakanda’s life-blood.
Killmonger not only wants revenge for his father, he believes that Wakanda needs to use its technology and power to bring the world to its knees after generations of oppression.
It’s up to Black Panther to stop Killmonger’s plan to reveal Wakanda’s secret success and cause global war while doing so.
We meet a lot of likeable characters during the course of the movie, each with their own personality and quirk. Here are the most important:
T’Challa/Black Panther- Like I previously mentioned, T’Challa is still reeling from the sudden death of his father and dealing with the pressure of taking the throne. We learn his ideals and the ideals of the nation of Wakanda and how they wish to remain in the shadows. They fear the “colonizers” of the world will want to take advantage of their peaceful way of life. T’Challa struggles between maintaining traditional rule, and bringing his country into the modern age and revealing themselves.
Erik Killmonger- Killmonger is an extremist when it comes to dealing with the injustices of his African-American ancestors. He feels a lot of anger and hate towards white people and the people of his true home of Wakanda. He feels that he was outcast from his rightful home, all because of the crimes of his father. His grudge brings him to start on a mission to take down the throne of Wakanda as well as the corrupt governments of the world.
Nakia- T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend and spy from Wakanda. They have a good relationship with each other but Nakia is more preoccupied with helping those in need than staying back and watching the injustices happen from afar. She is very strong and loyal to T’Challa and his family’s rule of Wakanda.
Okoye- She is a fierce warrior and body guard to T’Challa. She is Wakanda’s best warrior and fears no man. Although she is loyal to T’Challa and his royal family, her main mission is to protect whomever calls themselves king. She does not let her personal opinions or emotions keep her from doing her duty. She is played by Danai Gurira, who you might know as Michonne from The Walking Dead!
The movie is undeniably beautiful to look at. I loved seeing the African culture front and center, even if it’s a fictional nation. The culture was obviously pulled from real life African heritage and it shows throughout the film. The character dynamics are great and Danai Gurira shines as Okoye. She is fierce, strong and can probably take out T’Challa if she wanted to!
It was great to see T’Challa’s personality highlighted, as we were only shown his serious side during the events of Civil War.
The action is great and although the visual effects were good, they weren’t great.
The intro of the film shows us cool and quick history of Wakanda, explains their culture and where the Black Panther power comes from.
Although the movie was good, it wasn’t amazing. It is a very enjoyable movie and you will definitely leave the theater satisfied. That being said, there are a few flaws.
My biggest gripe with the film was Michael B. Jordan’s over the top performance as Erik Killmonger. It was just so exaggerated and somewhat laughable. His anger towards Wakanda and T’Challa is understandable, but the way he chooses to go about expressing that anger is just not proportionate.
We are given a good backstory to the character, which is a nice change since Marvel has a bad habit of putting their villains on the back burner in order to highlight the hero. I think the writer’s or director missed the mark when it came to bringing the audience to understand his anger. I mean, we can see WHY he’s mad but I don’t think we are able to follow that anger to the path he chose to take.
Another thing that sort of bothered me, but didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the movie was the Wakandan technology. It was cool and the effects were great, but there was no explanation as to why they were so advanced. You can’t just answer that question with, “Because vibranium”. It just didn’t make much sense to me. They brushed over a lot of the mythological aspects too.
We see T’Challa and even Killmonger enter the Ancestral Plain which is sort of like magic, but no connection is made to any preconceived concepts. This could have been cool way to connect the concepts of Black Panther to the world of Dr. Strange.
We also learn that T’Challa and all other incarnations of The Black Panther get the power from a “Heart-shaped Herb” that only grows in Wakanda, but are not told how.
It just seemed irresponsible on Marvel’s part. Again, it doesn’t take away too much of the story, but even as casual movie-goers, it’s nice to have some type of logic in a story line.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to see Black Panther in theaters, then I highly recommend that you do. The visuals are amazing, the story is okay and the characters are great. Although I believe that the hype surrounding the release of the movie plays a part in making people think they have to like the movie, I’m not saying it’s bad. Black Panther achieved detailed world-building but can benefit by working on the mythology of the world.
What did you think? Do you agree with our Black Panther Review?