Black Panther is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o.
I think I got myself over hyped for this one. I went into Black Panther hoping for a glorious renaissance that would enlighten the Marvel Cinematic Universe and take it to heights I never could have dreamed of. Instead I came out thinking the more things change, the more they stay the same. Black Panther is an absolutely stunning showcase of just how well oiled the Marvel movie machine has become.
Black Panther is a really good Marvel movie, but it isn’t a game changer.
Like I just said, all the moving parts of Black Panther work really well. It’s beautiful to look at, the costumes work really well. Practical costumes were absolutely on point, some of the CG effects are a little less stellar though. (most of the scenes showing vibranium didn’t look great and the panther suits near the end are pretty meh, but that’s just me nitpicking really) Performances are stellar throughout, with special mention to Michael B. Jordan for bringing it as the movie’s villain Killmonger. The action is some of Marvel’s best, especially the hand to hand stuff. Ryan Coogler has a clear handle on that. There is just enough of the action that you never really have the chance to be bored, but it’s not non-stop in your face with it.
You like Characters? This movie has lots of cool characters and it would’ve been nice to see them interact with each other more but at 2 hours and 15 minutes the movie is already pushing the limits of runtime and frankly feels too long. Like I would’ve been fine if they cut some of the action down so we could have more time with the characters and gotten a better sense of them rather then the supporting cast just having to tell us what their deal is. I gotta give a special shoutout to Micheal B. Jordan as Killmonger, between him, Vulture and Hela I think Marvel might finally have started to figure out their villian problem.
I really want to point out how the movie does such a good job handling the enormous amount of exposition needed to explain Wakanda, its culture and customs. You learn an enormous amount about the world of the film without it feeling like it’s ever lecturing you. It’s a very well put together film.
It does lag in its final act though. There is so much cool stuff going on, so many interesting relationships between characters but before we have time to really dive deeper into them it rushes into it’s big climatic battle because they have to resolve this conflict before Infinity War comes out this summer. I genuinely think there was a much more interesting ending for this movie that would’ve happened if it wasn’t ham-stringed by having to fit into the rest of the Marvel Universe. Because of this though, we’re forced to settle for an entirely ordinary ending.
While I’m complaining, let’s talk the score. It’s the same boring, and virtually soulless work that has existed in 90% of the other Marvel movies. This is where I think I really got myself too hyped up because the soundtrack that was curated by Kendrick Lamar gave me the impression there would be a lot more music like what was in the soundtrack in the movie. It’s not. Disappointing really.
I’m being too harsh though. For a movie that does so much so well I should be able to forgive it for only having an average level ending. I will also say that for all of my problems with the ending there are three shots that totally impressed me and one in particular just blew me away. I think most people who go see this film will come away thinking that this one shot was really memorable. Gah it was just SO cool, it made me giddy.
So in the end would I recommend that people go see Black Panther? Absolutely yes. Especially if you’re a fan of the other Marvel movies. Black Panther is one of the most well done Marvel movies to date.
PS for those of you curious and unafraid of spoilers, Black Panther reveals… absolutely nothing new to get you hyped for Infinity War. It’s a total stand alone. If you expected something that directly leads to the next Avengers movie, well the second after credits scene kinda does. Again it’s nothing you didn’t already know though.