Review: Black Panther
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I walked into the theater to see Black Panther with my excitement in check. I constantly reminded myself that this movie, no matter how big the hype, is still a Marvel movie. This is the same studio that gave us some not so good movies like Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, yet also made some fun films like Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
With that in mind, I still was excited to see this movie with amazing actors like Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o, and more, I couldn’t help it. Director Ryan Coogler, in my opinion, was the most compelling reason for me to see Black Panther.
After Fruitvale Station and Creed, this is Coogler’s third collaboration with Michael B. Jordan and Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson. With this movie already shattering box office records and the droves of people going to see it, it’s obvious Marvel Studios has another smash hit in their hands.
When I walked out of the theater, I thought that as far as Marvel movies go, it’s one of the best. As far as a movie in general, it’s alright. Black Panther is a must see due to how unlike any other Marvel movie it is, but that does not make a good movie.
I love the introduction to Wakanda and the depiction of it. The soundtrack takes on traditional sounds for the film which fit well with the style of Wakanda and adds for some great contrast when Killmonger, a character against the traditions of Wakanda, is on screen. The costumes and production design are amazing. The various colors that people wear, the cityscape of Wakanda, the weapons they carry, the technology, all of it is amazing.
The characters are all great as well. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa was great; he brought real heart and vulnerability to the character. A standout character is Shuri, the younger sister of T’Challa played by Letitia Wright, as someone who is always making new technology for the nation, she dislikes tradition and makes fun of her brother for embracing it. The relationship between Shuri and T’Challa is natural and fun to watch — one of the best parts of the movie.
The best character in the movie by far is the villain Erik Killmonger. Michael B Jordan’s charismatic performance brings out the best parts of the movie and is perhaps one of the best Marvel movie villains ever portrayed on screen.
This movie, as great as it was for a Marvel movie, is not a perfect movie. The first scene in the movie is a flashback scene which I really enjoyed except that it is split up in two parts across the movie. If the movie had had this scene in full at the beginning, the impact of the payoff halfway through the movie would’ve been much more significant.
I know that this movie is already a little over two hours long, but I wanted more Killmonger. Killmonger’s reason for coming to Wakanda is personal and understandable which makes him a really compelling villain. His first scene is a perfect set-up for his character, then he’s gone for a third of the movie.
A certain part of the second act of the movie, though very well shot and executed, felt too familiar to the Marvel movie formula, but thankfully this movie changes significantly after this part.
Overall Black Panther is a fun movie that has a few problems, weird pacing, and not enough of Killmonger, but is hopefully a big change to the way superhero movies are structured and viewed.