Howdy ladies and gents, time for another review and today I’m finally talking about a film I’ve been waiting to watch for almost 2 YEARS! I am of course talking about Black Panther. Since watching Captain America: Civil War in the cinema, I have been ready for this film and the wait has been AGONISING, but luckily time passed along quickly and I finally got to see the film last night. So is this film a good watch or not? Well read on and find out! 😀
The plot can be summed up as the following: “T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.”
I enjoyed the story quite a lot, and while a lot happens in several locations and at certain points, the stakes have potential global ramifications, they felt suitably scaled and revolved the key characters in the right way. Since Phase Two, the MCU has changed its approach to tone, genre and story elements and this film has had the most significant change in terms of tone, character-driven nature and culture. The story dealt with family issues, revenge, power and control, secrets and lies, and the trials and tribulations that come with being a king, and all of these issues and others were handled with care and attention and I also appreciated the film’s commentary black history and current topics as it was relevant yet not overbearing. But what I really loved was how much of a character-driven drama this film was, everything that happened had a purpose and affected the main characters as the story progressed, so when the drama and emotional moments kicked in, it had SO much impact. And I also believe this is one of the most intense superhero films I’ve seen in a while, because of the story and the way it affected the characters, after the film ended I felt like I needed to take some time just to breathe and process what I just watched as I was emotionally gripped the whole way through. Oh and one more thing, even though I only have a minor amount of knowledge when it comes to the Black Panther source material, I was surprised and delighted with the way the source material was adapted into live-action.
As for the characters I really loved everyone in this film as they all had a role to play that fit into the overall narrative, they were all useful, memorable and fun. Firstly Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther killed it, he was already a great character in Civil War, but in this film were got to see more of his personality, more his strengths and weaknesses and see trying to accept his new responsibilities as a king and Black Panther. Boseman was likeable, funny, powerful and badass. And then there’s Michael B. Jordan as Eric Killmonger… Damn, this dude was awesome, Killmonger has an interesting backstory with solid villainous motivations and you can understand and to some degree agree with some of the stuff that he says and all of those elements definitely put him in the better MCU villain category for sure. And Jordan was excellent in this role, the guy oozes charisma and coolness, has a great screen presence and can be scary as hell at times. Danai Gurira as Okoye was frigging badass, absolutely awesome. When Gurira signed on to this film I knew the people at Marvel were gonna make good use of her combat skills from The Walking Dead, but my god she got so many scene-stealing moments not only on the battlefield but also off of it while interacting with T-Challa and other key characters. Okoye was a no-nonsense and proud warrior and I loved what Gurira brought to this role. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia was quite good, at first I wondered how’d she’d factor into the film, but I really enjoyed her character, she had a great rapport with the other main characters and I liked what she brought to the story.
Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross got involved in the story far more than I expected, and I loved it. We only got a little bit of his character in Civil War, but in this film we learnt more about him as a person, he had some great interaction with several of the main characters and Freeman was delightful in the role. Letitia Wright as Shuri was quite good, at first I thought her attitude and cocky nature would annoy me, but she ended up being one of my favourite characters because of her smarts but also because of how she was integrated into the main story beats. Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi was really good, this character has a rough backstory and seeing his character progress through the film was interesting to watch. Winston Duke as M’Baku was really good with a powerful and intimidating screen presence, Angela Bassett as Ramonda was great as always, adding that dramatic flair that only Bassett can, Forest Whitaker as Zuri was really good, he had some great moments with T’Challa and I enjoyed learning about the significance of his character, and Sterling K. Brown was solid as N’Jobu too. And finally, there’s Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, man I loved this dude! Serkis left a good impression in Age of Ultron, but here we got to see more of the character’s unhinged, tactical and funny nature, he’s a bit of a nutter, but is whenever he’s on-screen it is a good time.
When it comes to the presentation it was great. Visually the film looked great, the filmmakers did a great job at not only bringing the world of Wakanda to life but also presenting a great mixture of futuristic and old school/tradition African material whether it be through the technology, costumes, city landscape, etc. The use of CGI was also solid, though at times wasn’t as solid, and the cool action scenes were really good, there was a lot of creativity, style and power that came with some of these scenes whether you were talking about car chases or fight scenes, it was all handled so well. And just to elaborate on those fight scenes, I loved how the combat scenes shot with a lot of long shots and not too unnecessary cuts, the fights had the right amount of realism, acrobatics and dramatic weight because of what was at stake, and T-Challa’s bodyguards, the Dora Milaje was frigging awesome, these female warriors kicked ass! Also the soundtrack was awesome, the use of certain music was nice and Ludwig Göransson’s film score has a varied sound that incorporates African instrumentation and vocals, a traditional orchestrated sound and a hip-hop kind of style, sometimes these sounds mix and on paper it feels like it shouldn’t work, but in the film these different styles work well together and separately.
In conclusion, Black Panther was everything I wanted it to be and then some, it was thrilling, dramatic, intense and fun. Everyone involved should be proud of the film they’ve created as this is the Black Panther film the character deserved, and while it doesn’t change the superhero game, it was a wonderfully unique experience that I think everyone should check out. 🙂
So have you seen Black Panther and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀