BLACK PANTHER was a refreshing taste of the Marvel Universe. By concentrating on a single pocket of it, it was nice to not be overwhelmed with another all encompassing Avengers movie for once in a while. The story isn’t too busy trying to do justice by all of the characters involved from all over, and focuses on just Black Panther and everything relevant to Wakanda. This is great, because it made way for some fantastic world building, and you definitely want to see more and more of the hidden land of Wakanda.
The story is about letting go of old traditions when they become obsolete and making change to keep up with the rest of the world to make it a better place. Wakanda has survived many years by being hidden and keeping their technology to themselves, but it just isn’t a model that they can work with forever. There also is more than one way to make that change needed without going to extremes.
One of the things about this movie that really stood out to me was the design and costumes, and was just one more thing that made the world building in this imaginary country impressive. The armor of the Dora Milaje ( royal guard), the robes the citizens wore during Black Panther’s right of passage, garb of the neighboring tribes; everyone was dressed so delightfully exotic. Additionally, in their weapons room there was what looked like some sort of local art on the walls, that gave the feeling of an art-loving kind of people in Wakanda.
When it comes to Chadwick Boseman’s performance, I’m not sure if there was simply the lack of screen time to develop his character very much, or if the actor himself just didn’t emote that well, but I found it very difficult to really feel what he was going through in his struggles and as the new king of Wakanda. Boseman is cute and his accent is decent, so I guess a lot of people will get him get away with it and continue in the role of Black Panther. Though some of the scenes were indeed emotional, Boseman failed to convince me that he was experiencing it.
The villain, though...MAN. To keep this spoiler free as possible: I’m not going to name names or give away too many details. Just let me say...they built a great tragic villain for this film. You really sympathize with how life has treated him and has built him into the person he is now. Toward the end you kind of want him to get his own happy ending somehow, but it’s just not possible. He had gone beyond the point of return long ago.
The protagonist and villain’s paths mirror each other, which adds a rather compelling story into the mix.
The only thing I really have to nitpick about the film is how hard they tried to fit in pop references in it by including the “WHAT ARE THOSE” meme and making a reference to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” (even though that’s already 8 years old). Marvel Studios sure makes it hard to hate one of their movies. I also found the musical transitioning occasionally jarring at times, but over all, the music was good.
As per usual, Marvel has a post credit scene worth waiting to view. By no surprise, it’s something that leads us into getting more pumped for the upcoming INFINITY WAR in May later this year.
Overall, I think BLACK PANTHER was an enjoyable addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film probably wouldn’t stand too great by itself if it wasn’t there to just build upon a part of the MCU, everyone knows what this is. All of the characters, including the villains, were fairly likeable, and the world building in Wakanda leaves you wanting for more. The run time is 2 hours and 14 minutes and it didn’t feel that long at all. You would think after so much success with movie after movie, that the creativity in these movies would lose some steam. Yet, Marvel Studios has done it again with BLACK PANTHER, it’s truly a movie made by and for Marvel fans and you won’t regret grabbing a seat in the theater in the least.