Frankly speaking, it was quite a difficult task to do Black Panther its justice especially when The Avengers Infinity War is waiting in the shadow. In fact, a number of people might feel afraid since Black Panther would not be as great as it supposed to be. But what do we know? Turned out the film is a huge success! It is truly unique among MCU movies and arguably the best Marvel film to date! So with no further ado, let’s hop on and travel to the incredible land of Wakanda!
People who are not familiar with Marvel Universe may only know popular heroes like Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Spider-Man, and Thor (these guys have the most screen-time anyway). Therefore, it is no surprise if they had not heard of Black Panther before. But no worries, before we look into the film itself, let’s take a brief look into this famous hero’s background!
Black Panther’s real identity is T’Challa, a respectful and mighty king of a fictional African country called Wakanda. His father – T’Chaka was the former king and also the former holder of Black Panther mantle. After his death from the bombing of the Vienna International Centre back in Captain America Civil War, his son T’Challa vowed revenge and eventually, became the rightful heir of Wakanda.
If you have noticed, Black Panther is actually not T’Challa’s title alone, it is an honorable title passed on generations to generations of Wakanda rulers. It is said that those who inherits the mantle of Black Panther will gain superhuman capabilities, along with the ability to tap into vast knowledge of Black Panther predecessors. As for T’Challa himself, aside from being powerful thanks to Black Panther mantle, he himself is among the eight geniuses on Earth. Also as the king of Wakanda, he has the entire technological and spiritual arsenal readies in his disposal.
To this point, you may wonder what is Wakanda? Where did this country come from? As we mentioned, it is a fictional African country, BUT, with a twist. Unlike what you may imagine, Wakanda is an advanced countries with world-leading technology combined with spirituality and traditional culture. Such fascinating country should be known by the entire world right? Well actually, not exactly… For some reasons, Wakanda isolates itself from the outside world. However, will the country keep maintaining the same way? We will soon find out in the Black Panther movie.
The film starts after what happened in Captain America Civil War, T’Challa as the son of the former king T’Chaka returns to Wakanda and readies to lead the country as its rightful king. Unfortunately, his return will not be exactly easy as we may think. T’Challa returns to Wakanda, only to find out that there is an internal conflict within the country, preventing him from succeeding the throne. Not only that, he also starts to uncover the misdeed of his predecessors. And now, it’s up to him to find out the best path for his country in this ever-changing world.
From the trailers, we have to say the film is really appealing. But how good is the film exactly? It’s time to find out!
First of all, we are really impressed by the visual in this Marvel film, especially how they deliver Wakanda to the cinema from the original comic. Frankly speaking, MCU was not exactly good at world-building despite its flashy CGI and animation. But here, they have managed to break through this “weakness” and give us an awesome presentation of Wakanda. Somehow the country of Wakanda feels really alive in this film. It fills with life, people with traditional clothes (and good looking too), advanced infrastructure while still able to show significant spiritual values. It is always fascinating such a thriving and wealthy country from Africa, which is totally opposite of what people often think. Most scenes in this film look fantastic, especially Wakanda’s views under the sunlight and the spiritual realm where T’Challa reflects his own self (personal preference of course). The sound also contributes greatly in building the atmosphere of a technological and spiritual rich country. And not to mention we have Kendrick Lamar who was behind the awesome Black Panther soundtrack.
Aside from world-building, we still have the CGI and animation as usual for action scenes. However, we can’t help but to think that the CGI actions here are kind of a bit off. It does not look exactly polished. In addition, many action scenes are way too dark. Quite often it is hard to see what is going on. From our standpoint, this is a considerable issue for an action-packed movie like Black Panther. To be honest, it is somewhat disappointed but if you are not easily bothered by such issue then probably you will enjoy Black Panther just fine.
It has been a “Marvel tradition” of making tons of comedic, action-packed films like The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Thor Ragnarok. While the films are not inherently bad, from our perspective they mostly focus on entertainment for wide-range of audiences. Of course there are certain exceptions like Captain America Civil War which actually includes meaningful message behind it. So what about Black Panther? Well we are glad to say that Black Panther is great! Arguably the best Marvel film to date!
As we mentioned, most Marvel films so far focuses more on entertaining rather than giving a serious story with meanings behind it. Interestingly enough, the best Marvel films turned out to be the ones which actually have serious and thoughtful story. This also applies for Black Panther – a film highlighting a black superhero, who is respectful, honorable, and powerful. At first glance, viewers may have false impression that the movie is purely about a royal prince who succeeds the throne and fights bad guys. However, there are actually much more thoughts into this story. Despite being the rightful heir, T’Challa (starred by Chadwick Boseman) eventually finds out that he has many challenges to overcome. This is not a simple story of a prince becoming a king; rather, this is a story of a prince learning the meaning of being a king and what is the best thing for his people. As mentioned above, Wakanda is a self-isolated country. On the outside, it looks like a primitive nation yet in fact, it hides its true advanced nature from the world with the help of force field. This is their way of life throughout their history. Of course, many people are fine with the way they are now, but many other Wakandans are looking for a new change. Instead of self-isolation, they believe it’s time for Wakanda to reveal themselves. No doubt this causes an internal conflict within the country. And so as the “new king”, what should T’Challa do? What’s the best for his people? Furthermore, T’Challa gets to uncover the misdeeds of his predecessors and why things become the way they are now.
Not only that, Marvel seems to finally break the “curse of weak villain”. The main antagonist of Black Panther is Erik Killmonger (starred by Michael B. Jordan), a fascinating villain with relatable story and motive. To some extent, we are not really sure whether we should call him a “villain” or not since we feel like we can understand him. He has great background story and he even makes the T’Challa thinks again about himself and his goal. And when a villain can force the protagonist to reflect himself, that guy is a great villain!
That said, it does not mean the story is flawless. Typically, the story does get interesting around the first half. However, in the latter half, it is leaning more towards CGI actions and battles, which is no longer as fascinating as the first half in our opinion. Also, there is a big misstep about our new favorite villain Erik Killmonger. When he first makes his appearance, we are immediately impressed by the character. We would love to see more of him on screen but unfortunately, after that first “debut”, the film shifts its focus to other characters entirely where Erik is nowhere to be found. It takes about an hour later for him to show up again but by that time; we are kind of… forgetting where he came from. Aside from those points, Black Panther’s story is still great and by far among the best MCU stories to date.
Character development has always been a big issue in films, especially superheroes films. Often the time people are too attracted to the main characters and villains, while the side characters are pretty much forgettable. But surprisingly here is another big point for Black Panther. All characters in the film are memorable even side characters. Each of them has his/her own job and goal. Each of them also expresses their personalities and thoughts about the matter, mainly the future of Wakanda. This makes Black Panther really stands out since every person and event does give contribution to the development of T’Challa, Erik, and Wakanda as a whole. These characters do give a reflection of themselves and eventually decide what should the best for their nation. In case of T’Challa, he does not just simply sit on the throne and do whatever he likes. T’Challa has to understand and deal with all the problems due to sins of his predecessors. Viewers can’t help but feel like there is something at stake here and if T’Challa does not do the right thing, everything will fall apart.
Again, the main antagonist Erik Killmonger shines the best here. He is definitely one of the best, if not the best Marvel villain at the moment. Simply put, Erik is T’Challa’s heavy competitor for the title of king. But what makes him special is the fact that he has a clear vision, goal and understandable idealism. Different from T’Challa who was born and lived in the country, Erik lived in America and he had to experience the racial discrimination, especially towards his African people. Erik’s story is relatable and no doubt many people in real life can feel the similar experience, which makes him an excellent character. In this Marvel Cinematic Universe, the world is changing and Erik is the one who warns the time of change for Wakanda. The only complain still is the lack of his on-screen time. For such a fascinating character, we really want to see more of him, rather than have him missing for around an hour.
Overall, Black Panther is indeed an excellent Marvel movie. It has compelling story with message behind it, and more importantly an incredible cast of fascinating characters. Black Panther is not only an entertaining film, it also give us something to think about. And just as many critics claimed: Black Panther movie brings changes not only to the MCU, but also brings changes to our real world. For us, Black Panther deserves an 8/10 – it is a great film and a great entry before the big bomb itself: The Avengers Infinity War.
And that’s it folks! What do you think about Black Panther movie? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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