Black Panther Movie Review
All the hype surrounding this movie was enough to give me a little anxiety. I was hoping it that Ryan Coogler (director of Fruitvale Station and Creed) would do his thing because it was the first major budget film with an all-black cast and director that didn’t depict slavery or anything stereotypically black … like a damn Madea movie. So congratulations to Ryan and the entire cast because they killed it.
Before I review this movie, I have to say that there was a lot riding on it due to the historic lack of representation of African-Americans in Hollywood movies.
This movie was out to prove that people do want to pay their hard-earned money to watch black people on the big screen as long as the story is compelling. It’s necessary for black children to see their own people in a positive light so that they can aspire to do more and be better themselves.
However, the unexpected effect this movie had on people was that it inspired them to be proud of who they are. At a South Korean press conference for the Black Panther movie, various reporters showed up sporting the traditional garments of their native country. Now, that’s awesome.
Lastly, this movie was important for white people to see as well. It’s important for them to see black people as more than just rappers, athletes, or whatever role the news chooses for black people on any given day.
Let’s get to it.
Black Panther takes place in the fictional African country of Wakanda – the most technologically advanced nation on the planet – shortly after the events that have transpired in Captain America: Civil War where T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) must return home after the death of his father, T’Chaka (played by John Kani), to assume the role of king.
But, wait, being crowned king is not that easy. T’Challa must face off against rival tribe leaders before he can rightfully claim the throne as he simultaneously mourns his father’s death hoping to be as great a king as T’Chaka once was.
The title of King brings new challenges and responsibilities. As the new king of Wakanda, T’Challa must apprehend Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), a black market arms dealer and smuggler who robbed the nation of vibranium, the strongest metal on earth, a long time ago.
Along with Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and his little sister, Shuri (played by Letitia Wright, T’Challa sets his sights on Klaue and finds a way to catch him after a wild car chase in South Korea.
Klaue is the catalyst that brings Eric Killmonger, an American black-ops soldier of Wakandan descent, to the forefront and eventually to Wakanda to challenge T’Challa for the throne. As soon as Killmonger gets to Wakanda, shit … goes … down!
This is the best I can do without spoiling it for the two people who haven’t seen the movie yet.
Everything about Wakanda is either beautiful, stylish or amazing. We’re transported to a fictional country living under a cloak, hidden from the rest of the world, where they use vibranium to fuel all their technological advancements and where people live prosperously.
A wonderful mix of technology and tradition takes place in Wakanda, which adds to its allure. I know that it’s been said countless times, but people need to be reminded that, sadly, Wakanda doesn’t exist. If it did though, they’d have an immigration problem right about now.
Wakanda was definitely a highlight of the film.
The car chase in South Korea was dope! As a matter of fact, the entire sequence in South Korea was dope. Okoye display her skills as General of the Dora Milaje (T’Challa’s all-female royal army), Shuri showcased some of her cool tech and Black Panther demonstrated the fire aspects of his suit.
The fight scenes were well choreographed and were rooted in drama. A couple of fights took place by a waterfall as part of the challenge for the throne. Whenever a challenge is issued, T’Challa is stripped of his Black Panther powers and must rely on his hand-to-hand combat skills to win a fight to the death. Stakes are always high in Wakanda.
T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, is one of the funniest characters in the movie. She’s a genius who’s chiefly responsible for Wakanda being the technological marvel that it is. And she’s only 15!!
If T’Challa is James Bond, then Shuri is his Q. She designed his suit and all the gadgets he uses in his missions.
Despite having many responsibilities in Wakanda, you still get the sense that Shuri is a young girl who likes to have fun. However, when Wakanda is tested, she proves that she will do everything for her family and country as she fights Killmonger.
I don’t think enough is said about how badass Okoye and the Dora Milaje are in the movie. They’re fearless warriors served to protect the Wakandan throne.
I find that it was different and pretty damn cool for them to be women in such a respected position. It was also cool to watch them beat everybody’s ass.
It also showed that there was equality in Wakanda. It showed that anyone could aspire to be anything.
I always thought that great writing happens when a story presents you with an earnest protagonist, a worthy antagonist and you have no idea who to root for. Black Panther presents us with this dilemma.The great thing about Killmonger is that you understand his motivations and you feel for him on some level.
He’s skilled, strong, smart and he’s not evil just for evil’s sake. The man has a purpose and he won’t stop until it is fulfilled.
The last showdown fight could have been a little better and Killmonger could have been redeemed in some way, I guess. But, once again, given the character we’ve seen all movie long, it wouldn’t have been believable.
I don’t know, man. It was a great movie.
We would just be splitting hairs if we tried to find more flaws. However, if you want needless flaws, check out Christopher Lebron’s take on the movie.
The movie was dope as hell and I’m saying this because it’s a predominantly black cast and I want to support it.
This movie was legitimately great and it held its own. It lived up to the hype, killed it at the box office and left a lasting impact on the audience.
People went all out at the movies by dressing in African clothing and wearing face paint like their favourite character in the movie. Real talk, I can’t wait to see how many people dress up as a Black Panther character next Halloween.
I’m going to be real honest though. Was it the best Marvel movie yet? No. It’s in my top 5 at #3 after Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War.
Is it the best origins movie (first movie) of any series? Hell yeah. Hands down.
Putting all the hype and impact on the culture aside, once again, this movie was legitimately good. It had a great cast, it was well-directed and the performances were on point. There wasn’t a bad scene in it and we can only hope that Ryan Cooler gets to direct the next one.
Written by Joe Renegade
P.S.: This is unrelated to Black Panther, so feel free to keep it moving if you’re not interested.
I know we’ve been gone for a while, but don’t be mad that we left. Be happy we’re back … not too happy though. This is just one post.
It’s a new year, and slightly different shit going on. I’ve been on hiatus for a long while because of my wife’s pregnancy and the eventual birth of my daughter. I know it’s no excuse, but that’s why I haven’t been posting as much … Let’s be real, I haven’t posted at all. I’ve been busy adult-ing.
Other than the podcast, we’ve been M.I.A.
For those of you who want to know how being a new parent has been going, well, it’s none of your damn business.
However, I’ll be writing about parenting among other things on my personal blog: The Renegade in the Room, which will have its own page on renegadescholars.com. All this coming very soon.