A few months back, I said I was suffering from ‘superhero fatigue’ after a mental 2017 for comic book movies. Yet, Marvel manage to draw me in every time no matter how many times I say I was going to ‘take a break’.
I wasn’t overly hyped for Black Panther in recent months, as only a dabbler in comic books (I do keep meaning to get back into them but like many things, I don’t get round to it.) So apart from his appearance in Civil War, I’m not all that knowledgeable on the King of Wakanda. Sure, I was impressed with his appearance in Civil War, but didn’t know at that point whether he could carry his own movie.
It came round to around February time, and the critics were lauding it, I make a point of not letting other critics influence my own opinion so don’t seek out reviews of my own accord, these were pushed in my face on Twitter, normally, such an explosion of critical acclaim means one of two things: 1. Critics have been heavily bought over by exclusive screenings with rewards for good reviews or 2. The film is actually, genuinely good. In this cynical world it’s sometimes hard to tell, but let’s see what our first full-length trip to Wakanda ended up bringing us.
Following the death of his father in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) must return to Wakanda to prove his worth as a king, and as a Black Panther. His reign doesn’t start smoothly however as Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) resurfaces, with a deadly team in tow, including someone with a particular interest in the throne of Wakanda…
Every-time I go see a Marvel movie, there’s a small part of me that want it to dip in quality so I can justify maybe not watching the next one, yet quite recently, I haven’t been able to say that, Guardians Vol 2 succeeded in building on the success of the first film and Thor:Ragnarok succeeded in being a MUCH better film than the first two Thor films and Black Panther succeeds on building a new world that is much more interesting than most of what we’ve seen in quite some time.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. This is a film deeply entrenched in African culture and visuals. This has caught some slack, disappointingly it seems for all the wrong reasons. I for one, think it’s incredibly refreshing to see a film entrenched in African culture and predominantly black, for so long we’ve been used to seeing Hollywood so whitewashed that this can come as somewhat of a culture shock. But is, in every way possible, a step in the right direction for equality in film, because it shows that not only do you not need a predominantly white cast to make money, but that you can make possibly even more money by casting outside of the usual whitewashing, and I look forward to what it brings, as I was incredibly interested in the world they built.
Anyhow, enough of the soapbox, how was the film? Good, really good, actually. The film seems to come from a place of genuine love, the world built is teeming in passion and life, not only how the landscape looks but the characters too, how much it genuinely borrows from African culture I couldn’t say but it makes me interested to find out more.
What of the characters then? Well Chadwick Boseman is a particularly great choice in casting, he seems genuinely incredibly talented and like he’s loving being part of this world but the cast boasted incredibly fleshed out and interesting characters, the movie is fit to bursting with interesting characters, that’s one of the few nit-picks I have, the film has all sorts of interesting characters, almost too much as it turns out as they vie for screen time when the most interesting aspect of the story, T’Challa and Killmonger, is unfolding.
All this of course can be built upon in the sequel and I’m sure there will be a sequel, especially after is incredibly successful opening weekend.
Killmonger might also be the best Marvel movie villain we’ve had so far, someone with actual goals and in a warped way, justification. He is my favourite type of villain in that he’s completely justified in being angry and in his broader villain-y, he’s just going about it in a way that portrays him as the villain of the piece. Also, Michael B Jordan is a great casting choice, he’s an outstanding talent.
In summery then, Black Panther isn’t something I can discuss at length without spoiling it’s plot and characters, but I can say that the critical consensus was correct, this is a spectacular movie, rich in detail and made with genuine love, if like me you are suffering with ‘superhero fatigue’ this will go some way to curing it.