The much lauded Black Panther is now in theaters, and after catching a Thursday night early screening, I can confirm that it’s a great MCU film. It has a great cast, beautiful visuals, a catchy soundtrack, and culturally relevant narratives. If anything, I wish it had more big Marvel-style action set pieces, but to be honest it was nice to watch a comic book movie without a major city getting blown up, so I guess I can’t complain too much about Black Panther’s action. At least it’s not the same as all the other MCU movies.
You can catch my full review below in video or script form. If you just want the quick and short of it skip down to the Review Summary box below, or just go see the damn movie already.
Hey now MCU fans, Matt Heywood here from EntertainmentBuddha.com to review one of the most unique entries in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe to-date – Black Panther.
This will be a spoiler free review.
Black Panther is without a doubt the most unique Marvel movie to be released, and that’s a good thing considering that most of the films all feature very similar formulas.
Panther casts aside the usual super hero movie tropes and instead offers a new approach to marvel character storytelling. Its approach to its narratives provides a more detailed look at the characters and their struggles, but also how the social issues being tackled in the film apply to the real world.
This movie is by far the most politically charged marvel movie, but it approaches the dicey political landscapes in smart ways that really make you think about our own current world situation. At its core Black Panther asks fans what technologically advanced societies’ roles should be in the world, while exploring the benefits of isolationism, as well as globalism.
This conundrum fleshes out the heart of the film’s plot as the Black Panther struggles with his new role as King. He must decide if he is going to keep the isolated traditions of Wakanda in place, or if he should share their secrets and advancements with the rest of the world. Due to Wakanda being an African nation, his cultural issue also shines a spotlight on how people of color have been treated in our own world, and what an advanced civilization like Wakanda could have done for them if it chose to share its power with the world over remaining hidden from it.
While politics play a major role in Black Panther, it’s not just one big in your face lesson on racism, immigration, and how richer countries should interact with the world. It also packs in some great action sequences, unexpected but brilliant humor, and a solid all around narrative that leaves you highly satisfied by the time the credits roll.
Its characters in particular are what make it shine, because while the beauty and futuristic look of Wakanda are breathtaking to behold, it’s this film’s cast that really sells it. Boseman is as good as it gets for playing a badass, but benevolent King. Letitia Wright’s Shuri is the film’s show stealer thanks to her character’s witt and ability to bring levity to a deeper type of Marvel movie. Danai Gurira is another standout, as she shows much more range with her Okoye character than we’ve seen from her playing Michonne. Lupita Nyong’o also plays a memorable role as Nakia, who is a wakandan spy and T’Challa’s love interest.
The bad guys may be even better thanks to Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue, who like Shuri, manages to steal the show every time he is on screen. Serkis doesn’t get enough credit as an actor because he’s usually playing a CGI one, so seeing him get to play a role as himself is a blast. Michale B. Jordan’s Killmonger gets a bit to gangsta at times, but he plays the character well, and even makes you consider his side of things when shit hits the fan, which again goes to show how great this cast is, as well as how great the narrative is.
My biggest complaint, and this is mostly due to MCU conditioning, is the fact that we don’t get that many action set pieces. The action in Black Panther is spectacular, but it’s restrained and never reaches what I’d call epic proportions. I do like the fact that it doesn’t feature another city getting torched while the hero fights a generic big bad, but I would have liked to have seen more of the Black Panther in action using his cool as ice tech that his sister Shuri cooks up for him.
Black Panther is going to be remembered as an iconic film, mostly because of its excellent execution, but also because of its politics. I am not a black person, but if I was I would feel empowered by this movie. It’s unlike any other action movie ever to be released thanks to its predominant black cast and crew. It’s not just a token nod to inclusion either, it’s an homage to humanity and the fact that people can make magical things even if they’re not white. I’ve grown up my whole life seeing white people be heroes in movies, so I can only imagine what it would be like to be a black person nearing 40 years of age watching a film that for the first time features characters that look and feel the same as them.
Black Panther earns a 9 out of 10 review score from Team EB. It’s definitely worth a trip to the big screen to check out. You will not be disappointed with it thanks to its fresh take on a Marvel movie, as well as for its great cast, and narrative.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”