Black Panther (2018) Review

Like many people, I went into Black Panther with the HIGHEST of expectations. I mean, the film has had nothing but wonderful, glowing reviews. So, of course I went in expecting a lot. And, I was not disappointed. In fact, it exceeded every expectation that I had, which I didn’t think that it could do and, yet, here we are.

The thing about this film is that it feels more like a family drama than a superhero film. That makes it sound not interesting. Hold on. It reminds me of The Godfather, in that it’s a family drama amongst a lot of action.  Like, the superhero stuff is thrown in, but thrown in REALLY WELL.  The focus of the film isn’t so much good vs. evil, but rather privilege and power.

My favorite thing about the overall story was the well-crafted villain switch half way through the film. During the first half, we are lead to believe that Ulysses Klaue, who was first introduced to us in Avengers: Age of Ultron, is the villain, going around and stealing the precious Wakandan metal Vibranium. However, half way through, we find that Erik Killmonger is the real “villain”, as he kills Klaue and proceeds to Wakanda to try for the thrown. “Villain” is in quotation marks because I don’t think you can really call him that. He’s the product of the horrible thing that happened to him. It’s even stated in the film. The Wakandans, the King, did that to Killmonger by not taking him after killing his father. They left him there. So, of course he grew up with a hatred for the ones who destroyed his family. And, of course, he grew up wanting to complete what his father couldn’t. It makes perfect sense. He’s not a villain. He’s a person. That’s what made everything hurt more. Well, that and Michael B. Jordan’s wonderful acting.

The chemistry of the cast was phenomenal, in particular, though, the chemistry between Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa and Letitia Wright as his sister Shuri.

Every interaction they had felt so natural. It felt like they were family. There’s not a single actor who I would say gave a weak performance, honestly. It’s clear that they all worked very hard on this film to portray these characters and portray them well.

The darker feeling of Ryan Coogler’s directing comes through well, and blends perfectly with any comedy in the film. The filmmakers have sited the Francis Ford Coppola films of the 1970s and the Bond films as influences for Black Panther and that comes through loud and clear.

The costume department and the set designers had to have an amazing time working on this film. Wakanda is a made up country, yes, but the countries that would be surrounding it are not. And all of those countries, all of the tribes within those countries seemed to be used as inspiration for the look and feel of, not only the city of Wakanda, but for the people dwelling within it. There were so many varieties in regards to costume, that I would have to see the film at least two more times to fully appreciate the scope of it.

There are minimal fight scenes in this film. However, the fight scenes that are there are jaw-droppingly awesome. The technology that is created for the film is incredible, my favorite being the remote driving system using hard light.

Overall, the film was beautifully shot. The score by Ludwig Goranson perfectly fit the film.  Coogler worked with people who he’s worked with on his last couple of films. They know how he works, they know what he wants, and they all share a similar vision. It was a smart move that continues to pay off.

You’d be crazy not to see this film. It’s one of the rare ones that, even if superhero movies aren’t your thing, I’d bet that you would enjoy it.

You can currently see Black Panther in a theater near you.

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