If you’re unsure what Black Panther is actually about, then I suggest you go watch Captain America: Civil War first. It’s where Black Panther is introduced, and a lot of what happens in this movie is dependent on you knowing what happens to his life in Civil War.
Black Panther is about a man (a hero, really) named T’Challa navigating his recently-acquired duty as King of a hidden African country called Wakanda. He faces an old enemy while dealing with the tumultuous state of his nation and his own emotional challenges.
I was expecting this movie to be amazing. Fantastic. Life-changing.
It was better.
If you’ve been following me for a while, or you happened to see my review of Spiderman a million months ago (I think it was back in July?), then you’ll know I’m a huuuuge Marvel fan. Calling me a fan is an understatement. I’m one of those nerds that watch the trailers at least four times when they come out, and then watch them once a week until the movie is released. On top of that, I google all the fan theories and therefore know a lot more than I probably would if I were just a ‘casual fan’. I’ll never understand casual fans of Marvel, and just to be clear, it doesn’t mean being a casual fan isn’t completely okay (because it is!), but I’m wired to be an extreme fan.
Anyway, enough with that. I watched Black Panther yesterday. I saw the 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating, saw the raving reviews from critics and people alike, saw the epic trailer a bajillion times, and I still wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I only knew that this movie would be unlike any other Marvel movie before it. And boy, was that a good mindset to have.
Black Panther isn’t my favourite Marvel movie ever. It’s one of them, but it hasn’t topped the feeling I get whenever I rewatch the Captain America franchise (maybe because I’ve got quite a crush on Chris Evans, but who doesn’t?)
Black Panther just became one of those Marvel movies that stand out. It’s on the same level as Doctor Strange for me. Sidenote: I love love loved Doctor Strange.
Black Panther is also very grounded in its African roots, and despite some complaints that none of it was filmed in Africa (I mean, unless a high-tech city is hidden somewhere there, I don’t think you’ll find Wakanda anywhere, really), I thought it was amazing in terms of how true it stayed to its culture. It was rich in world-building, rich in characters, and if you’re a fan of rap, apparently the soundtrack is “the bomb” (according to a few very credible friends of mine). I’m not a fan of rap, so I chose to keep my thoughts out of it.
The reviews are generally positive, and I’m here to tell you why.
This is my review based on my three-factor, five-point system.
Enjoyment – 4.5
The stakes are very high from the beginning of the movie. Like other action/superhero movies, the hero is introduced within the first few minutes, and the villain is also introduced (even if you don’t know it yet) to create a sense of tension.
Like other Marvel movies, I found Black Panther funny and engaging, and while it was plot-driven, it didn’t depend just on the flow of the action but also on the greater forces within society and humanity. It was a story more than anything. I learned about each of the characters instead of focusing on just the main hero, and I personally love Okoye and Shuri. They’re my favourite characters in the entire movie, and if you’ve seen it, I think you know why. More on that in the spoilery section.
However, I did find it a bit too chatty, so I docked a few points off my rating because of that. It wasn’t ever boring, per se, but I feel like the dialogue (while still interesting) was a little lengthy.
Also, I felt like the action scenes, although very dramatic and accompanied by some of the coolest fictional tech I’ve ever seen, were missing an extra BAM factor. Perhaps because most of the fighting is (naturally) fought on land? I guess we don’t have flying superheroes in this one, but I still feel like only 95% of my heart was completely immersed in the movie. The other 5% was wondering for the BAM. More on this in the spoilery section, too.
The music could’ve been a little more…epic. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but the style of the music didn’t really give much room for making it as climactic as it could’ve been.
Other than that, however, I really do truly love that movie. You can bet I’ll be watching it again next weekend.
Quality – 5
It is a visually stunning movie. The sunsets. The skies in general. The technology. I was in awe the entire time. And though I almost cried, I still think the acting was pretty well done, too. No Oscars for that performance, but still. Pretty good.
Have I mentioned how visually stunning it is? The CGI is seamless, the effects extravagant, and the editing a job well done.
The soundtrack is pretty damn good too. I don’t like rap and even I can admit I enjoy a few of the songs on it, namely Pray For Me and All the Stars.
General – 4.75
I loved this movie. Not gonna lie. I walked out of there and I wished I was in Wakanda. Maybe not by the time Infinity War happens, but I wish I could see Wakanda if it were a real place. The city. The sunset. The utter beauty that comprises a hidden African nation in a comic book. Damn.
I thought the story was a little generic, but all movies are a little generic to me nowadays. If it’s a happily ever after, it’s cliché, and if it isn’t, it’s still a cliché. There was one surprise in the entire movie, and I won’t mention it here because this is the spoiler-free section of my review.
If you love action and superheroes, and especially if you love Marvel, Black Panther is sure to wow you. Don’t let the haters get you down.
Don’t forget to stay for TWO post-credit scenes!
EVERYTHING BEYOND THIS POINT CONTAINS SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!!!
Oh my goodness. I don’t have a lot of spoilery things to discuss, but oh my goodness.
First thing’s first. That final post-credit scene. Bucky. Wakanda. AWAKE. Still missing an arm. I mean, obviously they have to wake him up because they’re going to need all the help they can get. I assume Infinity War happens within a few weeks of the timeline in Black Panther. But BUCKY. That was the BAM moment I was waiting for the entire movie. I almost gave the Enjoyment factor a full 5 because that scene more than made up for the bits of chattiness throughout the movie, but that would be unfair.
Shuri (middle) is goals. Smartest person on Earth. Cool as hell. Also a BAMF. She is the funniest person ever. “Oh great, another broken white guy for us to fix.” When she said that, I swear I almost whacked my sister in the face because obviously she’s referring to Bucky Barnes. Who else could she possibly be referring to? Not to mention she knows she’s smart and isn’t afraid to show it.
Okoye (right) is another BAMF. I wish I could be half as steady and strong and amazing as she is. Although I disapproved of her initial decision to support Killmonger, I don’t blame her. Her loyalty is admirable, no matter how misguided it was for a little while. When she admitted that she wouldn’t hesitate to kill her lover for Wakanda, I thought that was the most bad*ss sentence in the entire movie. The level of inner strength to be able to say that? Damn. She knows she’s powerful and amazing and she honestly made the movie that much better.
Nakia (left) is gonna be Queen of Wakanda. Oh my goodness. I wouldn’t want to be her, but damn gurl, talk about #goals. Her compassionate heart. The way she goes for what she wants in life instead of just taking the spot as Queen as other people might. She turned down T’Challa back when he was a prince (pretty sure that’s how it went down, anyway), and honestly, that made her even more deserving of the throne.
I actually liked Erik. I mean, sure, he’s a jealous and bitter and slightly out-there kinda guy, but he was also funny as hell. What is it with Marvel and making villains with senses of humour? Still, nobody can possibly beat Loki. Loki has my villain-inclined heart in a not so low-key way. 😉
Michael B. Jordan just became another actor you wouldn’t expect in a Marvel movie. Right after Dave Bautista. Everyone else is pretty much part of my collection of real-life heroes. If I had one wish, I would want to be in a Marvel movie. As of this moment, anyway.
Have I mentioned how much I love Marvel?
Here is what I think Black Panther means for the MCU: Bucky Barnes is awake, which wouldn’t be done unless T’Challa thought there was an imminent threat or Cap is actually there and needed him for some other reason. I think Thanos is going to come to Wakanda first either because the final, missing Infinity Stone is actually there, or because he wants to use the vibranium supply for something else.
The final stone is the Soul Stone, and so far, we have no idea where it is. We thought it was going to show up in Black Panther or mayhaps even in Ragnarok, but alas, neither happened. Still, I believe T’Challa doesn’t know the Soul Stone is in Wakanda (if it even is there), but I think Marvel is going to throw some kind of a wrench in the existence of the Soul Stone. It’s a little out there, but I had this insane thought that the Soul Stone isn’t even a real stone, not like the others are. Or maybe it’s Heimdall’s eyeball, who knows.
The Wakanda Outreach Centre in California is going to get broken into or targeted or something, because if it doesn’t, I might actually be a little disappointed.
T’Challa is going to be a great king. We knew this already. I do think the first thing that’s going to happen once Wakanda’s tech is shared with the world is Stark’s flabbergasted reaction. Probably something a little dramatic, too. Or maybe he knew about it all along? Unlikely, but with Marvel, I wouldn’t even be surprised.
Captain America is going to show up in Wakanda unannounced, which explains why there’s a (possibly) Wakandan spear being thrown at him standing in the shadows in the Infinity War trailer. T’Challa is going to give him and probably the rest of the Avengers some major weapon/armour upgrades. Still, I don’t think anything can beat the vibranium catsuit with the ability to trap and release kinetic energy. That was simply amazing.
None of this is for certain, obviously. It’s just my own rambling, imaginative thoughts.
If you’ve stuck with me thus far, I thank you. I sincerely, genuinely thank you for reading this jumble of a movie review. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments!
Let’s see if I survive Infinity War.