3.5 palm trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Martin Freeman.
As King T’Challa inherits reign of the nation of Wakanda, he finds his nation’s desire for isolationism at odds with the changing world around him, and with the appearance of Killmonger, T’Challa must protect his nation this new threat.
Black Panther has been at the center of a lot of talk, both good and bad, for what seems like months now. For every bit of talk about how important of a film this is for people of color, there’s about as much talk trying to discredit this point. Even putting these points aside, I found Black Panther to just be a great movie itself. It had a far more impactful story than most other Marvel films, great cinematography, and a stellar cast.
In most Marvel films, there doesn’t tend to be any strong themes carrying the film’s plot. Black Panther really brought something new and impactful to the Marvel series. Themes of helping the underprivileged and oppression leading to violence gave this film the emotional weight I have been longing for in superhero movies. These themes also helped create a villain that wasn’t just evil for evil’s sake, but the natural product of the world he was born in.
Ryan Coogler directing was really what made Black Panther great. His directing gave Black Panther its own unique feel among the Marvel films, much like how Taika Waititi accomplished that with Thor: Ragnarok. This new direction the MCU has been taking will hopefully lead to more individually unique films in the series, while still following the same timeline.
While I’ve always complained about the fight choreography of the Marvel films, as they tend to be a bit of a shaky cam mess, I found the fight choreography was more fluid and well thought out. Most of the cinematography itself was just all around better than in most Marvel movies. The use of more complex, long-form shots was refreshing and made for a better shot film. My main complaint with Black Panther was its terrible use of CGI (computer generated imagery). Some of the set pieces and even some of the renders of the Black Panther’s costume looked pretty horrendous. It’s really quite perplexing how bad some of the CGI is when the film budget is mind boggling huge.
Now I really do believe Black Panther is more than just a superhero movie right now. As I brought up in the beginning, I absolutely believe Black Panther was very important in terms of black representation in Hollywood. The amount of weight and notoriety that the Marvel film series has in popular culture brings the topic of black representation to the mainstream. I think this can have the potential to further bolster POC’s (people of color) representation in Hollywood. Asian and Latino representation in popular culture is currently abysmal, so black panther shows the need for POC representation is there, and I hope helps advance all peoples to receive further representation. Rated PG-13 2h15m