Opinion, Reviews

A review: ‘Black Panther’

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – “Black Panther” has made over $700 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo.

“Black Panther” is the Marvel Cinematic Universe most-recent release with a star-studded cast, including Chadwick Boseman as one of the first black superheroes. The film is receiving massive critical successes and as you can tell from this title, I thought it was awesome too. It proves itself to be more than just another MCU movie killing time before the next Avengers movie arrives.

It takes place right after the events from “Captain America: Civil War,” Prince T’Challa, must deal with his father’s death and replace him both as King and as the Black Panther of Wakunda, a fictional African nation. As king, T’Challa is faced with problems and dilemmas of being a ruler, while another character tries to replace him on the throne.

There’s so much to say about this movie. For starters, the directing, set-pieces, and worldbuilding are all very well done, which is made even better by a good story and a good cast. In addition, the film balances comedy, drama and action.

What truly makes “Black Panther” so great is that it feels original. Many of other Marvel films feel similar to one another. In “Black Panther,” there is no old music, there’s no beam in the sky – there aren’t even that many characters with superpowers.

Wakunda itself was crafted with a lot of creativity, especially with its different tribes, cities and technologies. How it’s all explained in the beginning is just as engaging. Despite being set in a fictional country, the language spoken in Wakunda is a real African dialect called Xhosa. I really appreciate that the filmmakers were willing to go the extra mile and make modern audiences read subtitles.

MCU films receive constant criticism for having forgettable villains, I’m pleased to say that “Black Panther” is an exception to that rule. Eric Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, also known for “Creed,” is a compelling villain. He was ruthless and sympathetic, making up for Jordon’s last appearance in a superhero film, which would be “Fan4stic.” I also enjoyed Andy Serkis as Klaw who played the crazy psychopath very well. Though I will admit, both villains did feel a little cartoonish at times.

There are of course some other flaws in the movie. But then again, so does every movie. I do mean every movie. The actions scenes are great, but they’re not many. The movie wasn’t boring at all, it’s just if you’re looking for nonstop fighting, you might be a little disappointed. There were moments that did feel a little predictable. Also, the timeline is a little confusing. “Black Panther” takes place directly after “Civil War,” but that movie came out two years ago…

My only other nitpick would be that there was a “what are those” joke made. I hated that joke back when it was popular.

The side characters are great help make up for the shortfalls. I could practically spend paragraphs describing this actor who played this person, even if for a short while. But Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, is probably the best example. Her chemistry with her brother felt believable. They acted a lot like real siblings. To be honest the best example would be the “what are those” joke she made.

Other side-characters don’t feel like they overstay their welcome either. In most Hollywood movies, Martin Freeman’s role as Everett Ross, the only American in “Black Panther,” would have been one of the main characters, but he’s not. The main characters are T’Challa, his family, his allies and other people that should be the main characters – it’s about their fictional country, after all.

This movie is over two hours long and I actually didn’t mind. Honestly, “Black Panther” is one of the best Marvel films, and I mean that. It could be compared against “Guardians of The Galaxy” or “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” I do feel that I might be overhyping “Black Panther.” Some may watch and think ‘it was good, but not that good.’

Overhype can kill a good film, which could be a potential issue with “Avengers: Infinity War;” because if it’s not the greatest thing anyone has ever seen, there will be some disappointment – so just have realistic expectations when watching something new, okay?

With all that said, “Black Panther” is a great superhero film. You could make a very good case that it’s the best in the MCU right now­. Although, out of nostalgia, “The Avengers” will probably always be my personal favorite.

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