There’s something to be said for a studio who achieves a record like that, where such high quality is the usual thing. Their record on other screens may be getting a few spots as of late, but on the big screen, they still indisputably rule. 🙂
Black Panther, Marvel’s latest addition to their cinematic universe, hit theaters this past weekend, to the praise of critics and the enjoyment of an audience which has all but shattered box office records.
Apparently picking up about a week or so after the events of Captain America: Civil War – so, chronologically, it takes place a good deal prior to Spider-Man: Homecoming – the movie follows the adventures and ordeals of the newly-crowned King T’Challa of Wakanda. His nation is far more than the pastoral nation it appears to be, a veritable utopia in the heart of Africa, veiled with technology that is, bar none, the most advanced and sophisticated in the known world. There is already feeling among his people that they can and should do more to help the world around them, and the issue comes to a violent head with little warning. No sooner is the new king crowned than vicious, and surprisingly personal, specters of the past rise to rear their ugly heads to strike at him, at his family, at his beautiful country, and even the entire globe.
The fate of the world swings on very small hinges, and if the Black Panther fails, untold destruction will spread across the world overnight.
It is a thrilling story, in truth, dealing with the complicated subjects which determine the fates of nations in the same breath as it deals with a most tragic family feud. Various sides have legitimate arguments to make, and the villain of the story could, in just a slightly different light, be considered a hero, or at least a pivotal figure, in the annals of history, if his plans succeeded. The texture of Wakanda, with unique, super-advanced technology alongside ancient traditions and beliefs, is fascinating and unique as well as believable. Every technical aspect of the film is highly enjoyable, and the characters are fun and lovable, with my personal favorite being T’Challa’s little sister.
It’s not “perfect,” of course.
It was plainly stupid of the villain to destroy a plant that grants greater strength to the men who ingest it. It was a bit predictable and expected for this one outsider tribe to both help the heroes and suddenly appear out of nowhere to save the day. Two people who loved each other were on opposite sides of the conflict, but we never really saw them together much, let alone saw them be romantic, so it didn’t quite have the gut-punch it could have had, and I even had an “oh, right!” moment when I remembered they were “together” like that.
Those are details, however, and in my eyes they fail to detract from what this movie does right. I know I’m speaking only lightly about that, but I really don’t want to spoil anything, ya know? 😉
If I were to put Black Panther in my MCU Countdown, which I probably will at some point, it would certainly be more in the forward ranks, with the Avengers films and a number of Marvel’s most recent works. 🙂
It’s a nigh-Shakespearean tale of family, betrayal, revenge, justice, intrigue, secrets, sacrifice, and coming into one’s own to face the world, and the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
The part where this is the first superhero film with a black/African lead is pretty incidental, really, and they don’t make a big deal out of it. All the better.
Rating: I give Black Panther 9 out of 10 stars.
Grade: solid A.