OK, folks, we are going to try something a bit different here. This will be not only a joint review with Gamer Becka from Ten Times Ten, Nadya of Gotham Geek Girl, and our own Skulldouggary….but, we will also include some predictions written PRIOR to seeing the film! Let’s see how close we can hit the mark and if we guessed anything right lol.
SKULLDOUGGARY – G33K-HQ (MILD SPOILERS)
To open up my portion of this joint review I want to say I’ve been waiting for this film forever. Growing up reading comics, my brother LOVED Black Panther…it was probably one of his top two or three heroes along with Spider-Man and Aquaman. I read plenty of these books growing up and always thought the character was cool. Wakanda held a certain mystique for stories…like Asgard, the Savage Lands, or Asteroid M, it was this far off place removed from all the “regular” superheroes where almost anything could happen (including dinosaurs!). The one prediction I have that I KNOW will be true is my brother would have loved this movie, this one is for you Graig. My first real prediction is this will be the #1 origin story movie opening for any Marvel hero…maybe ANY hero. I also believe it will have plenty of staying power and have one of the smallest drop offs next weekend and continue on to be one of the top comic book movies of all time.
This maybe is more of a “wish” than a prediction, but I’d like to see more of King T’chaka and T’challa’s relationship and how the King raised not only an accomplished warrior but a true hero at heart. The compassion Panther was able to show for such a heinous villain as Zemo at the end of Civil War proves he has not only the fair mind to be a true king, but also the heart. I’m also hoping to see something of Winter Soldier. I have no doubt they are saving most of that for Infinity War, but and after credits scene or at least a check in would be awesome. Maybe we can see how Shuri is progressing with his deprogramming.
I do know that the theater will be LOUD, but in a totally good way…there are going to be those cheer out loud, hand clapping, fist in the air moments that we all love to experience. This is a film MANY people have waited their whole lives to see and I doubt we are going to be the least bit disappointed. On the downside, while Klaw is one of my fave villains from the comics, I find Andy Serkis to be a bit annoying, full of himself (don’t get me started on his opinions on motion capture), and just a bit of an over actor…I predict any “groans” that will be had during this film be fully his responsibility.
OK, so now that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the film, in as I predicted a packed house full of energy, I will give you my thoughts. There will be spoilers, but I’ll try to keep them brief.
Black Panther is arguably Marvel’s best origin movie to date. Iron-Man was great, but fell down to a sort of weak villain at the end. Captain America was good too, but I always felt there was a little something missing. Now what Cap and IM have in common is the first part of the film is amazing, their journey to becoming a hero is THE BEST of their whole stories…you literally don’t get that with Black Panther…you get the origin of Wakanda. T’Challa’s training and relationship with his father are all but glossed over. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it gave the film a slower burn to a more gratifying finish. I’m glad to see T’Chaka again, and it is a good lesson that it is hard to be good all the time…even when you are trying to do the right thing. Director Ryan Coogler and Cinematographer Rachel Morrison worked together on Fruitvale Station and again collaborated produce some truly beautiful shots in this movie. Of course Production Designer Hannah Beachler and Costumer Designer Ruth E. Carter gave them something beautiful to shoot! The color symbolism throughout the film was very interesting…from the keying of where the tribes lived in Wakanda to the nod to the African flag with the costumes the main characters wore to Korean casino there was lots to take in. This team of film makers shows that you don’t always have to come from a long line of blockbusters to deliver a truly blockbuster movie. Lastly, there has been a lot of talk about whether Killmonger was truly a villain or not. While ultimately he wished to free a large portion of the world, he was doing it with the final goal of them all serving Wakanda, with him on the throne. His intentions were marred by the pain that he suffered through as an abandoned child…and almost as a frustrated child is known to do, he lashed out in the only way he knew how. His pain so great, he could not reason even with himself, as seen with what those close to him paid for his vendetta. I feel he is the deepest Marvel villain since Loki or Killgrave…he does not see himself as a villain, but as a liberating hero. One more thing, Letitia Wright was frickin’ adorable as Shuri. Thanos has his work cut out for him if he thinks Wakanda is going to just roll over with her on watch!
~GOTHAM GEEK GIRL~
The record breaking, Black Panther movie is not only the #1 Movie in the world, but one of, if not the best Top Marvel movie hands down. “Black Panther has made about $235 million domestically and $404 million worldwide, shattering box-office records.” There was never a dull moment. I was enraptured the entire movie sitting excited at the edge of my seat.
We first saw Chadwick Boseman as the king and protector of Wakanda; the technologically advanced African nation, in Captain America: Civil War where he instantly caught audience’s attention. So we already knew that the solo Black Panther film was going to be unquestionably amazing. The character has been featured in numerous comics and animated series but this is the first solo live-action film. Words can’t describe the excitement of going in to see this movie. Me and my friends have literally been waiting years to see BP on the big screen! I had early release tickets and couldn’t contain my excitement. Expectations were extremely high for this one and it surpassed them in every single way.
Written & directed by Ryan Coogler; Black Panther not only blew audiences away, but it was a cultural phenomenon. Globally millions of comic fans, movie fans, and even new fans all flocked theaters to see the blockbuster hit. Fans went all out opening weekend wearing outfits inspired by the film and African roots, it was a celebration of African fashion.
This is definitely a film you plan to see more then once. Not a moment felt unplanned unfinished or unsure. Everything down to the script felt tight knit and flowed perfectly. (This is why Marvel will always beat DC live-action, they take time developing their movies.) Black Panther had a fantastic origin story, perfect pacing, exceptional plot and character development, and was perfectly cast. It had a perfect tone of urgency and seriousness while also balancing a comedic tone that never once felt forced or overdone.
The world of Wakanda is a point of discussion in itself and one of the things I loved most about this film. It was magical, fascinating and breathtaking. They did such a MARVELous job (pun intended) in the world-building of Wakanda. The captivating effects of the surroundings, the Vibranium tech, the weaponry was all done phenomenally. I loved that the movie revolved around Wakanda and predominantly took place in Wakanda.
Wakanda has NO outside influence, so when Boseman stated that he would have an African accent I fell even more in love with this movie.
“There was a time period where people would ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character that spoke with that accent,” Boseman said of the east African inflection he gives the superhero – alias King T’Challa.
“I became adamant about the fact that it’s not true,” he added, stressing that none of the naysayers had come from Marvel itself. – Chadwick Boseman (Rappler)
Another factor that was phenomenal and felt authentic was the costuming for this movie. Black Panther is a sort of “celebration of Afrofuturism”, and Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter nailed it. She drew inspiration for the films costumes from various African tribes and focused on making each of the tribes of Wakanda uniquely different.
“Armed with extensive research — plus a team of more than 100 craftspeople, fabric dyers, tailors, and jewelry makers — Carter created 700 different costumes for the movie that paid homage to a number of different African peoples.” -TIME
There was fantastic character development; and great chemistry between the entire cast. Chadwick never disappoints. His on screen portrayal of T’Challa charmed audiences. We watched him struggle with the responsibility of taking over the throne and kingdom after his father’s death. We literally witness T’Challa battle his own self doubt, and become the hero we all know and love and take his rightful place as the king of Wakanda.
He is passionate and strong, but also vulnerable as we can see in his love for Nakia.
“You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be.”
(Nakia to T’Challa)
Boseman shows us that T’Challa can be fierce, courageous, unselfish, compassionate and well human.
Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) the loyal and badass warrior is also the love interest of T’Challa. I love how she remains loyal to her people no matter what the cost. If you’re a fan of the comics you know that this may change (Malice). But for now let’s enjoy their connection.
I was super impressed with the fierceness of the Badass women of Wakanda. They were all strong, fearless, loyal, and extremely well-trained warriors.
Danai Gurira was the perfect choice for Okoye, the general of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje special forces. The Dora Milaje are the protectors and guardians of the throne and royal family. Okoye is not just a protector alongside the king, but his right hand.
Labeled “the smartest person in the world; smarter than Tony Stark” by executive producer Nate Moore, Shuri is the kind of princess that we all want to be. Princess Shuri played perfectly by Letitia Wright breaks standards of the typical princess role or standard smarty pants. We all fell in love with her character. Not only is she super intelligent but she’s funny and relatable. We see her crack jokes and joke around with her brother. She really was the comedic element. Shuri is the brains behind some of Wakanda’s most advanced technology and weaponry, she also created T’Challa’s suits and gadgets.
Now on to the most complex character, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Killmonger is a multi layered villain, that we feel some sort of compassion for. No doubt he was a tyrant and a vicious killer, but he believed his purpose was for the greater good. Growing up with feelings of resentment, and abandonment full of hate and rage Killmonger wanted to continue what his father N’Jobu started. His father wanted to start a revolution and believed that vibranium could help put an end to the oppression of black people around the world.
Overall he was ultimately greedy, ruthless and heartless, you could say a radical extremist. Even killing his girlfriend because she fulfilled her purpose in her quest to obtain what they needed from Klaue. He also had the garden of the Wakandan heart shaped Herbs selfishly destroyed so that he would be the last black panther, starting a war amongst tribes. However, you cannot deny that he still influenced T’challa and Wakanda away from the ideas of isolationism and showed them that they could help others using their resources and wealth.
I really have no complaints other than T’Challa’s arch-nemesis Killmonger and Klaw dying.
But Killmonger’s quote at the end was everything!
“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
Black Panther is a Solid 10 for me.
Marvel’s latest has also easily outpaced one of DC’s most recent releases. In just four days, Black Panther earned more than Justice League did during its entire domestic run, which was about $228.6 million.
Fun, entertaining well structured and easy to follow. A great origin story with a top notch villain and a great deal of action. I highly recommend everyone to go see it.