Not gonna lie- Black Panther is probably the most important superhero film we’ll ever see. I would hope maybe that wouldn’t be the case, but, as it stands right now, it is.
Director Ryan Coogler did something incredibly special with this picture, combining his vision and sensibilities we’ve been seeing from him since Fruitvale Station and Creed into the Wakanda tale. You’ve hopefully seen the trailers by now, so I won’t be spoiling anything for you if I talk about the characters revealed there.
We (the audience) knew the story of T’Challa and his rise to Kinghood was going to be an important chapter in the MCU, sort of setting the tone for his continued involvement with the Avengers going into Infinity War. What we WEREN’T expecting was the backbone of The Black Panther and T’Challa to be the Women of Wakanda.
Ok ok, we kind of knew from the trailers that the Dora Milaje, Ramonda, and Shuri weren’t just your average female sidekicks in a superhero flick, but I was wasn’t prepared for just HOW important they were. I would argue that without them, T’Challa isn’t as strong nor is he the true hero.
As a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, I’m afraid most (not all, not me) viewers might say it’s a step backwards from the ultimate action of Captain America: Civil War. It’s very like Iron Man, setting the tone of the title character and giving backstory while furthering the plot.
But also as a superhero film, it’s freaking leaps and bounds ahead. There are political jabs and social consciousness unlike anything else we’ve seen. And finally, FINALLY, we get a damn good villain (again). It’s been said a few times across other outlets that Michael B. Jordan‘s Killmonger is right up there with Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki, but I would say that Killmonger is even BETTER.
You understand his motivation, you don’t completely disagree with his reasoning, and you honestly can’t look away from him on screen. He’s magnetic, and there are times he really does overshadow T’Challa, as he’s supposed to. Also, it’s pretty great to see Jordan get another shot at a Marvel character in the grand tradition of second chances. (You’ll recall he was the Human Torch in the horrible Fantastic Four recent film).
SCORE: 4.5 out of 5, viewed in Dolby Atmos non 3d, will be seeing again many times
The costumes, the action, THE WOMEN. The women, the women, the women. I cannot stress enough how important the Dora Milaje and other females around T’Challa are. They are his strength, they are his soul and heart.
The script at times needed a little bit more oomph, not going to sugar coat it. There was also a few times where the CGI and animation (which were pretty impressive on the whole) didn’t look finished.
My absolutely biggest problem with this film was the poor fight foley. The sounds of the punches and grunts were not well mixed into the rest of the film, they were in the same vein as Hercules and Xena.
Hopefully, Black Panther will continue to shatter box office records and point out the need for this type of Superhero film. Representation matters. Black Panther opens worldwide on Friday February 16th.