You may have noticed but Marvel has released their next movie, Black Panther. Within hours of its release, it was being hailed as the best thing that they have done and that the only thing that could top it was the soon to be released, Infinity War. I idly sat back and listened to all those hyping it up and wondered, is it really that good? Could it actually be the best movie Marvel has done?
In short, no.
Don’t get me wrong. The movie was fantastic, exhilarating, breathtaking and everything that we have come to expect from Marvel but for me, it wasn’t all that it was supposed to be. For that, it gets a solid 8 out of 10. What made it stand out, however, was…
From the get-go, the thing that right away caught my eye was the scenery. This movie was supposed to be the most beautiful and fully realized in terms of the landscape of all of Marvel’s movies. And it was. The mountain tops, the sunsets, the cityscapes…everything about it was stunning. At times I even found myself wondering why Asgard doesn’t look as good as Wakanda. I mean, this is Asgard. The Holy Land. The place that Gods live. And it didn’t compare to Wakanda. and Asgard to which both places are done by CGI.
That’s not to say that this was without hiccups. In fact, at times I found myself thinking about how difficult it must be for the actors to act in front of a green screen all the time. The cinematic world in which Marvel lives is so heavily reliant on CGI that I wonder if we as an audience occasionally have a difficult believing in its existence. Wakanda was beautiful but so are so many other movies that utilize real-world landscapes and not those constructed by a computer.
Tone and pace
If not talking about the landscapes, the most apparent thing in the Black Panther film was the way in which women were treated. Finally, after 17 movies, women received their right to show the world that they can hold their own in a movie. Yes, Black Widow has done an admirable job of showcasing her abilities but she didn’t feel the same as the women of Black Panther.
These women were warriors; trained by the best to be the best. They lived, breathed and died for everything Wakandan. They held their own in battle, stood up for their country, and never swayed from their own set of morals. And they were outstanding. Without going into it too much, they may have single handily stole the show. Okoye, Shuri, and so many others proved that the world is ready for women to take the lead. The world is ready for women to shine. And the world is ready for Captain Marvel.
For obvious reasons, the Black Panther film is centered around, well, the Black Panther (check out our YouTube video here). It follows his coronation as King and then mesmerizes the audience as he deals with the hardships that accompanying being King.
What separates T’Challa from so many other characters in the Marvel Universe is he is not corrupt be the power he attains. His single mission is to, as us Canadians like to say, keep the peace. He does whatever it takes to keep the world safe but not at a cost to his own nation. He understands that Wakanda is vastly superior to any country on the planet and knows that he holds the key to what ails the world. The King is kind, humble, patient, and is the personification of what a King should be.
This, of course, is not without challenge as many within his country and outside of it do not share his views. Above that, T’Challa struggles to find meaning within his own life and that of his forefathers. It is these, these thoughts that form the basis of the entire movie. The Winter Soldier was a movie greatly formed by political views and Black Panther follows suit.
The single most intriguing aspect of the Black Panther film was not its technology, landscapes, women, or even T’Challa himself. The single most intriguing aspect of Black Panther was Erik Killmonger.
I suppose if the basis of a good character is whether or not they are memorable, then Erik Killmonger is a good character. As I watched the movie, I sat there wondering whether or not Killmonger was wrong. We are a product of our environment as much as we are a product of our parents. Further to that, opinions are formed by experience. His experience was vastly different than most others so, therefore, in his world, was he wrong? In our world, was he wrong?. Surely, many others would do the exact same thing or some variation of it if they had faced the hardships that Killmonger had.
And then when he did…that’s when the movie truly became interesting. It’s tough for me to say but if Andy Serkis was the only villain, this most would probably have been a flop. It is the complexity of Killmonger and not T’Challa that makes Black Panther interesting.
Sets the stage
I’m sure that you realize that this is it. After Black Panther, there is nothing left before Infinity War. The question remains, “Did it do a good enough job to set the stage for the biggest event in cinematic history?” The answer, yes.
Without going into any sort of spoiler situation, the Black Panther film did an admirable job of setting the stage for what is to come. While it didn’t recognize any events that could be tied to Infinity War, it was a nice conclusion to the 10-year plan. It did exactly what it was supposed to do and tied up a few loose ends while introducing a few more.