Movies for Breakfast BLACK PANTHER Review
After being introduced in Captain America: Civil War, its time for T’Challa and the Black Panther to get their own film.
T’Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country’s past.
Black Panther is a monumental movie released in 2018 that managed to overall break a boxoffice of over $1 billion. Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther introduces the world of Wakanda to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa reprising his role from Civil War. The film introduces a lot of new characters that are prominent to Wakanda such as Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, and finally Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka the main villain. Joining them from previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue and Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross.
The film takes place in Wakanda where after the events of Captain America Civil War, T’Challa is taking over as role of king of Wakanda and holder of the Black Panther title to protect the country. T’Challa vows to be the leader Wakanda needs and will fail in ways his father did before him. As such when word of Klaue brokering a deal with some stolen vibranium gets to T’Challa he heads out to capture him so he can be treated as the criminal he is. Along the way, he runs into Everett Ross a CIA agent he dealt with previously, who is looking to meet Klaue as well. After Klaue is successfully captured, but he escapes with the help of an unknown Wakanda soldier by the name of N’Jadaka. In the process, Everett Ross sustains damage that will kill him unless treated properly, in order to save him T’challa brings Ross back to Wakanda, and starts investigating whom the unknown Wakanda citizen is that is working with Klaue.
Black Panther has two major villains, the first being Klaue who has stolen vibranium from Wakanda in the past, and is seen as a fugitive to the Wakandian people. His demeanor is played as if he is a fool or an idiot, but he always has a plan of some sort. He is a brilliant person who manages to turn people on each other, and use trust and people who underestimate him to his advantage. This is put forth best during the interrogation between him and Ross, where he acts like a fool up until Ross comes in the room. At that point, he starts telling Ross about everything he knows of Wakanda, and how T’Challa is keeping everything from him, in an effort to turn them on each other. Every scene with Klaue shows just how dangerous he can be, and then he goes back to acting like a fool to start his next operation. It is apparent that Andy Serkis had a blast with the role, but Klaue is still the background villain of Black Panther. The main villain is N’Jadaka who is of Wakandian descent, but left behind in the streets of Oakland California after his father was killed due to turning his back on Wakanda and selling vibranium to people like Klaue. Killmonger acts as the perfect foil for T’Challa, he is a killer who is has the exact opposite mindset of the previous kings of Wakanda. He has a goal to bring the weapons of Wakanda to his people across the world, to allow Wakanda to take over using their superior technology. He is more ruthless, where T’Challa does not want to hurt anyone, and only wants to hide from the world in peace, Killmonger wants to show the world Wakandas power and use it. Killmonger has seen the world, and the way his people are treated, and he wants retribution for it. He is one of the few fully fleshed out villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and easily one of the best as a result. His goals are clear, and while they are not necessarily good-natured, they are within reason given his experiences. He does not mean to be evil; he sees what he is doing as the right thing, and not as a selfish act.
There are many good things about the movie, including its use of African culture and advanced technology blending. The movie does have some faults though, as they do end up wasting the full potential of one of the two villains, which a shame with how well done the other villain is. The biggest disappointment of the film though is the climax, which does not live up to the potential it could be given the advanced technology of Wakanda. The end battle taps into some of the weapons and fantasy elements that make Wakanda what it is, instead opting for more simple battles. It is one of the parts of the movie that even on a second watch kind of feels like a turn in the wrong direction. The battle between Black Panther and Killmonger is a good one, watching them go blow for blow with each other, equally matched except for Black Panthers better use of their environment the final place is taking place. The rest of the battle almost feels like filler, and does not feel like there is any inherent risk. Everything leading up to the battle in Wakanda is great, and having Ross from the CIA act as a person from the outside seeing what Wakanda is capable of does act as a good way to explain this world without coming off as over explaining. The growth of him coming to trust T’Challa and understand their true culture, and he is not the only one with a progressive growth through the movie. T’Challa has the best growth in the film, showing he can be a king of Wakanda that instead of hiding will try to help the world. Though he intends to do it slowly, he intends to introduce the world to what Wakanda truly is in a peaceful way.
Black Panther is a good Marvel movie, and in terms of what it accomplished with creating an African superhero it is a major accomplishment that it was done properly. While it is not a perfect movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it does fix many of the problems most comic book movies have, but having an interesting villain with a good backstory and some development the film is already a step ahead of other marvel films. The biggest downers of the movie are the final battle scene does not bring the spectacle one would expect from Wakanda, and the plot can get a little slow at points. Overall though the film is fun to watch. I recommend going back and watching it again, but if doing a bare minimum watch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this one overall can be skipped.