Black Panther was pretty good…

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Sebastian Blum, 1522157296:5

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The land of Wakanda is that of a seemingly third world nation, however, is instead the most technologically advanced and one of the most beautiful countries known, or in this case not know to the world. Living off their precious metal and with their ruler, the Black Panther. Now, is this movie worth the 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is it worth the sudden movement it has started. In short: no.

Black Panther starts off with a flashback that predictably ties in with the future of the plot and helps build the motivations of the supposedly amazing villain that is Erik Killmonger. After that, it jumps to present day and the movie begins.

First off, the movie has some wonderful cinematography. Rachel Morrison’s use for aspect ratio so that it may fit in the entirety of Wakanda in a single shot is nothing short of beautiful. The colours used of the different tribes, so that it acts as eye candy is more than welcome. The films use of the colours black, gold, purple, and reds really bring out the life of Wakanda and its people, however, its characters don’t do so much the same. Though Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, and Andy Serkis show off their acting potential, much of the cast doesn’t. Many characters such as the ones played by Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, John Kani, and Martin Freeman come off as very unsympathetic and sometimes outright silly or boring. It is not so much that they are unlikeable, however, they are very limited in showing any kind of real emotions or even motivations. Daniel Kaluuya’s character, W’Kabi, may be the worst of them all. Coming from a different tribe to that of T’Challa’s, he gives a brief reason of what he expects of the new Black Panther and when it is not done, he seems to go on a baby sook and basically becomes a traitor.

The world of Wakanda, though shown on the technological side and some of the political is never fully explored, which is quite disappointing. Here is one of the most beautiful spectacle’s ever put into the MCU, and the viewer never gets to ever know it. An example of this is the tribes. The main tribe, other than T’Challa’s, is that of the cave dwellers with their leader being M’Baku. The tribes are poorly fleshed out and serve only for the progression of the plot and to cause conflict. They pretty much stand in the background and look pretty. Even the strong warrior women led by Okoye feel somewhat underdeveloped, even though they are fascinating to watch and to marvel at. All in all, Wakanda could have been shown a little more instead of just being eye candy. It would have been interesting to learn more about their ways, what they do for a living, etc. But this all might be asking too much from a two-hour superhero movie.

Critics have been saying that Erik Killmonger has been the best villain since Heath Ledger’s, Joker. This is not only a ludicrous statement to make, but also is an insult to Heath Ledger. Erik has been claimed for being seen as empathetic and that his motives are so clear that they make you question who the “real” villain is. Unfortunately, though clear, he is not very empathetic nor is he a very good villain. Compared to most villains in the MCU universe, he is absolutely brilliant, but only just barely. The film’s way of making you somewhat care about him is the fact that they make him speak in a way that seems rebellious and that he is clear on what he wants to achieve. The film forces a “tragic” backstory that has been very closely replicated countless times. The film also pulls a “rightful heir” card that is as impactful as hitting a tree with a pillow. Erik is nowhere near as impactful as the Joker because at least with the Joker’s plan in The Dark Knight, it seriously blurred the lines between good and bad, however, the lines trying to be blurred in Black Panther are mediocre at best.

Upon release, this movie was praised as being a “black movement” because it was the “first time” a black hero was portrayed on screen. First, there was the movie Blade, though it might not have been brilliant, it was still a movie with the main hero that was black. Second, this movie isn’t and shouldn’t be a black movement. The film does no enough to be considered as a black movement. It does not show enough African culture, though the film takes heavy inspirations, and the film does not make any comments on current day society about black exclusion or racism. The film does make references to slavery and the fact that the movie’s whole cast basically consists of a black cast, can be seen as a black movement, but it can’t because it is not aiming to do that. It is a superhero movie and should be seen as so. If one wants to see a black rights movement movie or that show racial discrimination, there are plenty that consist of, Roots, Selma, 12 Years A Slave, Malcolm X, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Fruitvale Station, a film directed by the very same person that made Black Panther, along with Creed, Ryan Coogler. Some further go on to say that black people, more so children, have now a hero to look up to that is now their colour. However one does need to look up to a superhero, a fictional character to have a hero. The real heroes are the ones that fought against racial discrimination, like that of MLK or Malcolm X. You could say that that is not a valuable point to make since they are just children, but in the end, raise your child how you want to, and let them look up to whoever they want to, fictional or not. It’s a free country.

The Black Panther is nowhere near a great movie, but it’s not a terrible one. It is a feel-good movie that is probably best to watch for a relaxing weekend. The film offers more than the other MCU films, but not enough to make it properly stand out. It is a step forward in the right direction for the future of the superhero genre, but after 18 MCU films, it still follows a too well-known formula that should have been broken. Ryan Coogler is a very talented director, however, he could have done more to break this superhero formula, like that of Logan, due to his experience with fairly serious dramas.

All in all, the movie is a marvel to look at, interesting enough to watch, but more is to be expected from the future.

 

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