Let’s get this out of the way: BLACK PANTHER is already the best film of 2018, one of the MCU’s best films to date, and really proves that Warner Bros. and DC need to get their shit together and fast. Believe the hype, this movie is pretty fantastic. What I really love most about the MCU right now is that while they slowly have tried to reinvent themselves from their same old schtick and formula, starting with Guardians Vol. 1, they are gradually progressing with Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and now seem to be kicking it into high gear with this. While some of the same threads of the MCU formula are still in there, co-writer and director Ryan Coogler makes Black Panther is own animal, bringing in new cultural and ethical elements into the franchise oh and uh, maybe finally solving the MCU villain problem.
If you don’t think MCU (hell even DC right now) has a villain problem, you are up dumb shit creek. What villain do you truly love in the MCU other than Loki and Vulture? Yes, Black Panther has the best MCU villain thus far with Erik Killmonger. That’s right, even better than Loki and Vulture for me. While Loki has that charm that Tom Hiddleston swoons both males and females with, and while the Vulture was played with some balls and class by Michael Keaton, neither of the two had a very legitimate reason for being villains or any true emotional wait. Loki just wanted to rule, and Vulture wanted to make money. Erik Killmonger has the best reason for doing what he is doing, and you actually feel for this villain, and Michael B. Jordan’s fantastic performance brings everything together. Don’t worry, I know I put spoil free at the top, so I won’t reveal his motivations, just to say that they have worked the best out of all the MCU films.
To make this spoil free, let’s write a short two sentence abstract statement about the plot. Black Panther takes place about a week after the events of Civil War. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to adjust to being the new king in Wakanda with enemies old and new surrounding him. That’s all I will say. The plot slowly builds around all of these fantastic non-one dimensional characters and then once true revelations are revealed, goes into all out hyper mode. My one criticism with this film, let’s just get it out of the way, are some of the special effects in the climax. All the effects building to the climax are top notch and amazing, but let’s say that the climax has a few CGI shaky moments the film could’ve used maybe just a couple of more days of touch up on. Mainly having to due with the Panther suits and how the characters heads sort of wobble, knowing that they are actually probably wearing green screen suits.
But that is a minor quibble, because everything else is astonishingly good. While Chadwick Boseman is already a fantastic actor, and is probably going to be this generations Denzel, it is really the ladies of Wakanda that steal the show and the entire movie out from under the men, other than Michael B. Jordan of course. Danai Gurira, who you may know as Michonne on The Walking Dead, plays Okoye, one of T’Challa’s royal guards, and her fierceness and determination makes a lot of scenes more believable and well rounded. Lupita Nyong’o plays T’Challa’s love interest, and she has a couple of scenes to shine, and so does Angela Bassett as T’Challa’s mother. But the real scene stealer is T’Challa’s sister, played by Leticia Wright. If this were a Bond film, you could say that she is the Q of Black Panther, designing and making all the cool tech you see throughout the film. But it is her jokes and one-liners that make her the star, and hopefully she is in every Black Panther film as much as this one.
You have other characters to, like Martin Freeman as the one token white guy throughout this film that just gets dragged along for the ride. He’s there as a story/plot representation of the audience, seeing everything for the first time in wonder. You also have Forest Whitaker, who is there in just a couple of scenes to provide plot information. And Andy Serkis is in this, who is so fantastic with his very small role that you wish he was in the film a little bit more, where you could say he really solves the Marvel villain problem. Also, you have recent Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) who plays a Wakandian that is on a different tribe. His role is small too, however everyone does have an important part to play at some point or another and even though some of the roles are very small, all of the character progression and growth is so well rounded, it makes the characterization of Baron Zemo (the main villain in Civil War) look outright childish.
This movie does a whole boat load of things right. It not only brings a solid story with it, it also combines cultural significance and heritage of a people and uses it in the best way I have ever seen out of a comic book film. It is really hard to talk about it without getting into spoilers, but lets just say you’ll know what I mean when you see and hear it . This film is gorgeous. Wakanda is a place where I would want to live myself. The city with it’s technology is the best mini world I have seen in the MCU thus far, and I can’t wait to see more of it, because you know this film is going to do well by all the ticket tracking that Fandango has done thus far (it is expected to hit possibly $180 million this weekend in the U.S. alone.)
Do I need to mention to stay after the credits? If I do then you are kind of…well…stupid. I mean seriously, does anybody need to tell you this anymore? I snicker when I see people leave right after the credits, because by now you know that there will at least be two, one mid way and one at the very end. I do like though that these final two after credit sequences lead to more story progression with Black Panther and Wakanda other than just trying to nod and wink at future films. Anyway, if you don’t see this movie as fast as you can, you are either and idiot, or just don’t have the time, the latter of which is okay. Seriously, this film rocks, Wakanda forever!!!