Black Panther Review

Black Panther is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it is taking the world by storm! It has already made more in its first 4 day weekend than Justice League made in its entire run! Holy cow! It is also one of the most highly praised superhero film ever with a 97% on rottentomatoes.com.

So is it worthy of such results?

Yes, for the most part I would say that it is. With Black Panther you have a thoughtful, extremely well cast comic book movie that feels different and fresh. In much the same way director Ryan Coogler injected energy into the Rocky franchise with Creed, he has done  with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Black Panther.  It isn’t as funny as Thor Ragnarok, which I prefer but it feels unique and engaging.

The best part about Black Panther is the characters. We were introduced to T’Challa (Black Panther) in Captain America Civil War but here we see him as a young, insecure ruler who is just discovering the burden and secrets his father had to shoulder as king. His father has chosen to protect the beautifully realized kingdom of Wakanda from the rest of the world. They have an asset called vibranium (which if we remember in Age of Ultron Ulysses Klaue was after and we see him again played by Andy Serkis) If this vibranium gets into the wrong hands will cause great destruction, so it makes sense why they want to hide it away from the world.

However, the Wakandans are still using the vibranium to develop new and powerful technology.  This is mostly led by T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright who is adorable in the role).There is also a powerful flower that grants strength to whomever earns the mantle of leadership.

Unfortunately for T’Challa conflict comes into Wakanda in the form of Michael B Jordan’s N’Jadaka or Erik ‘Kilmonger’ Stevens. He has a different philosophy of leadership. He believes that Wakanda is a disgrace for hiding from the world and failing to help those who are suffering with their wealth, technology and vibranium. It’s a totally valid point of view that makes the conflict between the two interesting. It kind of reminded me of the conflict between Koba and Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Kilmonger has a point of view.  The problem is he takes it to a hateful place of wanting to conquer others and not just help the despondent. This always makes for an interesting villain when the kernel of their motives is true but they take it to a dark place. It then becomes interesting to see how the various members of Wakanda respond to Kilmonger’s leadership and philosophy. Some remain loyal to country and some loyal to T’Challa. That to me was fascinating.

Like I said earlier, the casting for this film was amazing. I loved Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B Jordan as Kilmonger (so hot), and Daniel Kaluuya (from Get Out) as W’Kabi who has an interesting character arc. The women were all awesome. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia is the love interest, Letitia Wright as brainack Shuri, Angela Basset as T’Challa’s mother Ramonda and many more. I would love to see a whole movie about the main 3 ladies of Wakanda!

Some people have complained about the cgi and the action. Honestly, just like with Wonder Woman, I could care less. If the characters are good that’s what matters to me. I was absorbed and entertained so much that it didn’t bother me.

My only real problem with the film is there is a section in the middle where Black Panther is gone and that’s where things began to drag a bit. I really missed T’Challa and his interactions with the women, Kilmonger and others. It began to feel a little exposition heavy in those moments.

If they had tightened things up a little bit and added a touch more humor than I would have it in my top 5 Marvel movies. As it is, I have it solidly in my top 10.

Black Panther is on the violent side for a Marvel movie so I would not recommend it for kids under 8. But for older kids go and then talk to them about the themes of the movie and what they think good leadership does. Do you hide away and protect your people or do you open yourself up to others in order to serve? It’s an interesting question from a darn good comic book movie!

Overall Grade- A-

Spiderman News!

spiderman

We can all now be grateful Amazing Spiderman 2 was such a dud.  Without it we would never have gotten the exciting news of yesterday.  It’s something comic book movie fans never thought would happen.  Marvel and Sony have reached a deal to allow Spiderman to be in the MCU.  This means we will probably see Spidey in the Marvel Civil War movies.  Thor 3 and Black Panther have now been pushed back by a year in their release dates.

I know some people liked the recent reboot but I was never a big fan.  Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were good but the stories and especially villains were cluttered and uninteresting.  Plus, all the constant Sony product placement drove me crazy.  Sony will still own Spiderman and they will have some creative control but Marvel will hopefully be able to fix Sony’s big mistakes.

I think what could be really cool is they did motion capture for the flying sequences.  This would help it feel like a real person flying through the air instead of a computer graphic.  I also hope they cast someone who bridges the gap of nerdy Peter Parker and suave Spiderman.

My personal choice would be Logan Lerman and his name has been floating around.  I think he has a geeky side to him but also can be very cute.  He’s a good actor and is in one of my favorite movies of all time Perks of Being a Wallflower.  He was just shown in Fury to have a more adult tough side.

logan lermanEither way I have confidence in Marvel with how great Guardians and Captain America 2 were last year.  People love picking on anything that is popular and Marvel is no exception but I honestly feel it is unwarranted.  At least in my eyes their various franchises are very different. Captain America 2 was basically a spy movie more than it was a traditional superhero film.  Thor is more of an epic solemn feel.  Guardians was a lot like Star Wars with a fun eclectic group saving the galaxy. People talk about Marvel schtick but I really don’t see it.  To me there is a ton more diversity at Marvel than at DC which has produced the same gloomy picture over and over again.

I’m so excited to see what Joss Whedon can do with Spiderman.  I hope he gets put on the project because I think he will take it in an unexpected route. He’s so creative how could he not!

Anyway, I’m very excited.  Are you? Who would you cast as Spiderman?  Go Marvel!

Now we just have to hope Fantastic 4 is bad and we can get those over to Marvel too.  (JK I hope it is good).