Black Panther - Discussion

DragonMaster2010

Don't Let the Fall of America be Your Fall
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I guess I should give me perspective as well.

For me, I'd say I have mixed feelings on the film in general, and since I've seen it twice, I should give all around thoughts on it.

Obvious SPOILERS beyond this point.

So first and formost; don't let the DCEU Superman icon fool you; I do like some MCU films, and I do love this movie. I think it's one of the best MCU films to date, and I was honestly more hype for this then I am with Infinity War. (The reason probably due to it being about people of my complexion) What impressed me the most about this film was the set up of Wakanda. It felt so foreign and new, yet still keeping true to the tribal aesthetic of the city. It was practically eye candy seeing this world and how it functions with technology, and traditions. Again, the mix of tribal motifs, fused with new, futuristic technology was the best world building I've ever seen in a film. And then there were the aircrafts, the weapons, the train, and of course the thing where you can put yourself in different places without really being there was honestly beyond what I expected. I could go on for hours about how amazing Wakanda was for me, but I'd be typing a whole paragraph if I did that.

And then there were the characters. I loved all of them to death...except one, but I'll get to that in a second. So out of all of them, M'Baku, Shuri, Okoye, W'Kabi, and Killomonger were by far the best parts of the movie. These four characters to me demonstrated their worth to the film, and the plot tremendously. But of them all, Killomonger was the favorite for obvious reasons. He had that charm of a villain who believes what he's doing is right, and Michael B Jordan carried that charisma to a T. However, for me to say that he's as good as Heath Ledger's Joker is a major over-exaggeration. He's a great villain, but not as good as Heath Ledger as the Joker.
But going back to my original point in this; I loved all the characters except one...
...T'Challa.
Through out the film, I actually began to care little about T'Challa and his story, because everyone and everything else (i.e. Wakanda itself) kind of overshadowed him. He ended up feeling very one-note and his story was as predictable as the tides;
T'Challa becomes king
T'Challa struggles to follow tradition
T'Challa meets a foe (being related was also predictable)
T'Challa loses
T'Challa has vision that brings him back to life.
T'Challa wins
T'Challa decided to do things different.
More or less, I've seen this formula before, and it's not all that new or unique in a film. T'Challa's saving grace was the Black Panther suit being as awesome as it was. But T'Challa himself felt way too dull. It's like when it's just him surrounded by other boring Avengers characters like in Civil War, he stands out the most. But when surrounded by characters with some depth to them, suddenly he's just a wooden plank in a suit. I don't blame Chadwick for this, I blame the fact that it felt like Coogler was more in favor of developing the world and all of the characters that inhabit it, rather then develop the damn PROTAGONIST first. But that's just what I see.

The music was another beautiful presence to the film. Each track felt fitting to the scene, and the scale of just how far the music can carry certain scenes is magnificent. One of the most memorable ones to me were the ones where there were emotional scenes and you could hear that single violin note that plays. It instilled a dramatic cord in me that really took your breath away. And then there were the beats that played during Killomonger's very presence in the movie. Especially that one scene in which it involves the spinning camera and Killomonger walking to the throne.

The fight scenes...well, to be honest, I wasn't too impressed by them. They felt like the weakest part of the movie for me. I may consider Civil War a mediocre Avengers/Cap film, but at least that film had some of the most memorable and beautifully choreographed fight scenes of the entire MCU. With BP, it felt like there was too much reliance on the CGI/MCU jump fest, and less on the actual legitimate fighting. Like compared the BP fights with Civil War, and then compare them to BP the movie. All that CGI jumping, and force field blasts made the expectations of a good BP fight scene as dull as most other MCU film fight scenes before it. The only genuine, and entertaining ones were from Okoye in that Korean casino, both trials of the king, and the beginning of the film where T'Challa saves those hostages in the forest at night.

Also can I bring up how utterly useless Klaue (dude with the robot arm) was. He barely served as a memorable villain and comes off as more annoying then legitimately threatening. I know he was in Age of Ultron, but he was just as forgettable in that film as he was in this one. At least Killomonger dealt with him.

WHICH brings up another thing; Killomonger was really underused at the beginning. He came off as a bad dude, but then was pushed into the background before he killed Klaue and became the main antagonist. I was expecting more out of him, but instead he was only scene when it was important instead of when we really needed to see more of him.

And then there's the meat of the film; the idealism that carries through out the film. I think that aspect drew me into the movie more then anything else. There are so many conflicting ideals to this film that all carry their own pros and cons. In Wakanda's tradition, they decide to keep to themselves and have prospered from it by exceeding most of the world's technology. The con is that while they're prosperous, the world is suffering and they could really use the technology that Wakanda has, which makes them no better then the oppressors of the past. And then there's T'Challa's way; a more diplomatic way to reveal Wakanda to the world and share what they know. The major con to this is that the world would get greedy and want to take the vibranium all for themselves. And finally, there's Killomonger; using his upbringing as the fuel to drive him to wanting to start a worldwide genocide hunt for his people of color. I think that ideology struck a cord with a lot of us black audiences because of the growing fear we face everyday. The biggest and most obvious con needs no explanation.

So I guess my all around thoughts on this film is that I loved it, but I don't ignore its own flaws. I was happy it was a movie that stood on its own, rather then rely on the MCU's universe as a crutch too much. I know I'm not the biggest Marvel fan, but I will say, this movie is actually the only MCU film I've gone to see more then once, and was the only one that legitimately made me care for any of the Marvel characters. (then again, I don't want T'Challa, and Vision to die in Infinity War. Those two are my MCU Batman and Superman at the moment)
 
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