A Priceless Review: “Black Panther”


(Image from movies.disney.com)

Political as it is beautiful. It’s thought provoking, it’s eye catching, it’s a wild adventure. Audiences all over the world are going crazy over the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Luckily, they have every right to be.

“Black Panther” is a geo-political thriller that takes place a few weeks after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” T’Challa, the Black Panther, becomes the new king of the advanced African civilization known as Wakanda. When a mysterious figure threatens to take the throne away from T’Challa, he does everything in his power to protect his family, his kingdom and his reputation.

My entire opinion of MCU is that all of the films follow a very pretentious formula. To read more about the Marvel formula go here. My opinion has not changed, and the formula has not changed. However, this is the best installment in the franchise. “Black Panther” is beautifully shot, has a bold soundtrack and has strong themes that keep the film grounded.

Most of the time, I look down on films that have political undertones. It usually becomes a distraction that takes me out of the movie as a whole, but, this time, it’s different. The political message is woven into the story and gives a lot of the weaker elements more momentum.

The message that the movie is trying to convey is that the world is too separate. There are countries, civilizations, cities that are richer in resources than others. The film is trying to tell us that we can’t turn on each other and that the world needs to act as one unified nation and put our differences aside.

The message is extremely powerful and very timely. It brings the whole movie into reality and causes the audience to really think about the story and characters we have been introduced to. For example, Michael B. Jordan, who plays the villain Killmonger, would’ve never been as complex as he was if weren’t for the context of the story. He would’ve been just another jealous crybaby not getting what he wanted if it weren’t for his heartbreaking backstory that was surprisingly dark for Marvel.

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I also would’ve never been able to connect with Jordan’s character without the political message, because Jordan’s performance was average; it was nothing we haven’t seen before, but that’s not the same with other members of the cast.

Chadwick Boseman is natural born leading man as T’Challa. He gave such an emotional, raw performance and can really hold his own, which had to have been a little difficult since he is working with three of the best characters in not only the entire movie, but also the MCU as a whole. All of three of these characters were Nakia, Okoye and Shuri. They all are Wakandan women who served T’Challa, but the performances from the actresses who played the characters had such charisma and charm that I couldn’t look away from the screen. They really outshined Boseman in a groundbreaking way.

Wakanda is the fictional, African nation that the movie takes place in. The entire nation is inspired by African culture, and the director, Ryan Coogler, uses that inspiration and mixes it with sci-fi, futuristic elements to create the world of Wakanda. It’s a wonder to behold. To read more about the design of “Black Panther,” go here

A lot of the imagery in this film almost looks like an oil painting. From the costumes to the sets, everything is meticulously designed to celebrate African culture. This is not common when it comes to mainstream blockbusters which is why I was so impressed with Marvel going down that direction.

The visuals were masterfully designed, but that doesn’t stay true to the visual effects. Marvel has had, and still has, CGI problems. Some of the special effects looked very incomplete and weren’t particularly well done. There is no excuse for it. Marvel is a billion dollar franchise that has more than enough resources for special effects, so I am confused on why certain things in the film looked wonky.  

The African Culture is not only represented through the visuals, but through the music as well. “Black Panther” has the most diverse yet consistent soundtrack of any Marvel film before. It has this combination of traditional African tribal music and modern day Hip Hop. The movie doesn’t overdo the music; it takes the superhero soundtrack to another level.

The whole movie takes the superhero genre to another level. We finally are seeing some changes made in the system of Hollywood, and films like “Black Panther” or “Wonder Woman” are living proof of that. We are getting more equal representation of jobs in front and behind the camera.

“Black Panther” is a superhero film for everyone. It may be centered on African culture, but the main point of the film is the representation and celebration of all cultures. This may be the same old Marvel movie we are used to, but the movie has made its mark in cinema history.