Black Panther Review
There has been a lot of hype around Black Panther, with it being the first proper black superhero film. Like Wonder Woman, it is the first of its kind, which really highlights a specific demographic. I was a fan of Wonder Woman, but I do feel that the quality of the film was blown out of proportion due to it being the first of its kind, and if I am honest, I do feel this is the same for Black Panther. I enjoyed the film, but it was not the best superhero film I have seen by a long way.
Black Panther is set pretty much straight after Captain America: Civil War, where we saw T’Challa‘s father, T’Chaka, King of Wakanda, die, leaving the throne behind for T’Challa to fill. During Black Panther we see T’Challa become King of Wakanda, and is put through a set of life trials which helps T’Challa realise what kind of king he wants to be. The King of Wakanda is granted superpowers to help aid with the protection of the country, therefore allowing T’Challa to join the superhero world under the name of the Black Panther. Inevitably T’Challa is forced to use these powers to defend his country along with his right to the throne from the evil Killmonger, played by Michael B Jordan.
Black Panther introduces some really interesting characters to the MCU, and some I actually preferred to T’Challa himself, such as his sister, Shuri, who is responsible for all of Black Panther’s gadgets, including his new suit, which I wasn’t a big fan of, preferring the suit that we saw in Captain America: Civil War. I think it’s the snout on this new suit that just makes him look a little silly, whereas the old suit made T’Challa look more fierce. Shuri is very similar to Q in James Bond, and not just in regards to the gadgets, but in wit as well. I was also a big fan of Oyoye, the head of Wakanda’s Armed Forces and close friend of T’Challa. She is absolutely badass, and my favourite female character in the MCU. She makes T’Challa look rubbish at certain points in the film. We also get to see more of Martin Freeman’s character Everett, who manages to redeem himself from being a Grade A in Captain America, giving us more insight to a character I imagine we’ll see a lot more throughout the MCU.
In terms of villains we get to see plenty more of Andy Serkis’ character, Ulysses, with him being responsible for most of the comedy side of things we are used to seeing in a Marvel film. Serkis is a phenomenal actor with his unquestionable talent being an asset to this film. The big bad in Black Panther though is Killmonger. Jordan has had a mixed career, with some of his films being a bomb critically and financially, such as the Fantastic 4 remake, and others being nominated for awards, like the latest addition to the Rocky series, Creed, which coincidentally has the same director as Black Panther. With Black Panther being a raging success, this will certainly be a film that will fall on the right side of Michael B Jordan’s career, and he really contributes to the positivity of this film.
When I say positivity, I mean this in its truest sense, as there are certainly some really great parts to Black Panther, but there are also some pretty poor bits as well. Most of them came in the third act of the film, with overused CGI. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a fan of CGI being used where it doesn’t have to be. CGI can disconnect you from the film, especially when the CGI wasn’t even done very well, which is the case for Black Panther. When you see something like Planet of the Apes, and see how well CGI can be done these days, I feel there is no excuse, especially if you are going to rely on it so heavily. I think the main problem of Black Panther, for me, was that I didn’t actually enjoy the hero. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Chadwick Boseman, I just think the way the character was portrayed in his standalone film was nowhere near as good as he was in Civil War. In Civil War we saw T’Challa face off with the Winter Soldier several times and didn’t seem like he was struggling too much, but in this film, he seems to struggle with everything he does. There were parts where his sidekicks were kicking more ass than him. Compared to the other heroes in the MCU he seemed pretty weak. Imagine if he ever came up against Captain America, he wouldn’t stand a chance, which I think is mad, as this is meant to be the protector of an entire country.
Now to the score of the film, composed by Ludwig Goransson. It sounded very much like the African style of Lion King meets R’n’B, which is really what the film’s theme is, therefore it was captured quite well by the composer. I personally didn’t really enjoy it as there wasn’t any stand out melodies to the music, just a lot of tribal-esque chanting alongside heavy beats. If I had to pick one track that I enjoyed from the score it would be “Ancestral Plane”. This track captures the emotion in the scenes where it’s used perfectly.
I don’t think the film was perfect by a long stretch, but it did set up some good foundations for our African superhero. I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of the characters that we were introduced to in Black Panther, and am hoping we get to see a more badass T’Challa in Avengers: Infinity War, and I feel it’s likely, as the Russo Brothers are directing that, and they were responsible for Civil War. Speaking of Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther is the last film of the MCU before this cinematic event, and I, for one, cannot wait.