Black Panther. My take on it is that people – or, more accurately industry folks (guided by media virtue signaling so rampant today) – helped the hype machine go into overdrive and pushed this movie into mega blockbuster status due it exceeding middling expectations on it at first. When the first cut/edits/initial reviews plus early word started to get out that, “hey, this is gonna be pretty good!”, the marketing machine went into overdrive to overcome the insecurity of what Marvel would do with its first handling of a black super hero movie on the big screen (but let’s not forget Luke Cage on Netflix, which is a small screen treatment, but still pretty damn decent). I can’t help but think its massive marketing success was partly driven by the idea that: “Look, pasty white Marvel didn’t fuck up the presentation of a black super hero movie AND it’s pretty damn good as well!”
Moving on from that observation about external factors, no movie is going to survive on good marketing alone if it sucks. And Black Panther assuredly did not suck – in fact, it was quite great! And as a huge fan of super hero movie franchises (except for Snyder’s vision of the DC universe, barf) I am extremely grateful for this.
Black Panther had a complex villain in that you agreed with his overall sentiments but had to align against him because his tactics and ultimate objective of domination were wrong. But for a super hero movie, this complexity was a good way to add texture to what can often times just be a binary representation of characters in the typical super hero story telling arc found in lesser movies of its type.
I liked that aspect a lot – and I really enjoyed the color and vibrancy of the film including the score, which evolved to match the landscape of what we saw on the screen.
T’challa is a hugely appealing character if not a bit bland on the edges (he’s always seemingly in control of his self and that keeps him in a pretty predictable moral box, but in the end, that’s ok because he is a archetype and we need that to be upheld.)
He is Wakanda’s Captain America and although human, part of his appeal is his steadfastness to principles that should not be broken – otherwise why are they principles and why should we uphold him to super hero status?
In the end, I saw the film twice. I think I liked it better the second time because I allowed me to appreciate some of the parts lost in a lot of the reviews that added hugely to the appeal of the film – as in, I think the great unsung character of the film that deserves more credit is the king of the northern mountain people who was both charismatic, funny, but also shared the same resolve as T’challa for upholding the right things in life. The actor did that role justice and I hope he makes another appearance.
All that being said, I don’t think Black Panther was above reproach or “amazingly awesome!” (For that distinction I still hold The Dark Knight by Nolan as the greatest super hero movie ever made.) Black Panther was a great super hero film that was fun, had a lot of heart in the storytelling and acting, and deserves the entertainment accolades it has gotten so far in moviedom. I look forward to future Black Panther appearances in future Marvel films … HOWEVER: As much as I like Martin Freeman, I could do without his horrible American accent and characterization of a CIA operative in future movies. Every time he spoke it was grating to my ears and took me out of the movie in a bad way.
So, If you haven’t seen it and are a fan of Marvel films go se…. oh who am I kidding, of course you’ve seen it already.
Anyway, I’m gonna buy the soundtrack because I enjoyed it immensely – although now that I think about it, this movie could have used a bit more 808 Boom kicks like we heard in the trailer, leading up to its release.
Oh well, maybe next time!