“Black Panther” Review
A reporter reviews the movie “Black Panther.”
“Black Panther” is breaking down barriers for the black community by being so much more than a super hero film.
It’s the newest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was released on Feb. 16. The film focuses on the story of T’Challa’s (played by Chadwick Boseman) rise to power as king of Wakanda, a fictional African nation.
The film had an incredible box office opening weekend, grossing $242 million in North America. With a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and 88 percent on Metacritic, “Black Panther” is popular among audiences.
The story starts after the end of the plot line of “Captain America: Civil War” with the nation of Wakanda mourning the death of King T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father.
While the film is fictional and humorous, it also deals with real-world issues of racism, oppression and privilege. Wakanda was founded on a mountain of the world’s most valuable and durable metal, vibranium. Because of this, Wakanda has made technological advances far beyond the rest of the world and has hidden themselves away to protect the material from getting in the wrong hands.
While the rest of the world has been dealing with slavery, racism and oppression of people of color, the people of Wakanda have thrived.
The villain of “Black Panther,” Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) is angered by the way Wakanda has sat back while racism has run rampant in the U.S. The plot line of the story allows viewers to understand Killmonger’s actions and possibly even agree with his point of view, which is a refreshing and realistic take on a superhero villain. The film avoids concepts of good and bad, and instead operates in the gray areas between, matching the complexity of the issues that the film addresses.
The film is also full of powerful female role models, something many superhero movies lack.
Black Panther’s personal army consists entirely of female warriors who are incredible in battle. The general of Wakanda is also one of T’Challa’s closest confidants, showing a struggle between her loyalty to T’Challa and her loyalty to the throne. T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), is in charge of the nation’s technology research and invention. Shuri’s character is a role model for young women interested in STEM. These roles of warriors, generals and tech leaders are usually given to male actors, but “Black Panther” broke those stereotypes and showed audiences that females can play these roles just as well.
“Black Panther” was full of humor, but in comparison to other Marvel films, did a better job at timing the jokes and balancing humor with substance. Past Marvel films have felt a bit overdone when it came to corny jokes, which can overtake the plot. The jokes in “Black Panther” added character depth and did not distract from plot line, while still keeping the mood light and entertaining.
With the influx of superhero movies, the action sequences and plot lines have become somewhat expected. This is not the case in “Black Panther.” While of course there are flashy action sequences including a car chase through a city in South Korea and a gun fight in a casino, “Black Panther” takes a fresh approach to action that leaves the viewer wondering what will happen next. From the introduction of remote piloted aircrafts and cars, to T’Challa not winning every battle, it is difficult for viewers to predict the series of events.
In regards to the filmography, there are some beautiful shots of the landscape of Wakanda and interesting angles that show of the architecture of the throne room. However, some of the action sequences, especially toward the beginning of the film, are blurry. For some viewers, these blurry shots can distract from the film.
“Black Panther” is a huge step forward in Hollywood in terms of diversity and representation. Having a nearly all black cast and protagonist is something that has not been done in the superhero movie genre until now. The directors left the old tropes of Africa being poor and underdeveloped, and instead focused on its rich arts and culture and the potential of Africa had it not been colonized. The soundtrack of the film also features black artists.
The film has been in theaters for two weeks now, an audiences are still loving it, and going to see it for a second or third time. Black Panther is playing at the Regal Barkley Village 16 and is two hours and 15 minutes long.