I’ve been writing lots of game stuff, so haven’t been focused on my blog. If you are one of the few that pops around here regularly, my apologies. You can always join me at my Patreon!
But that’s not the reason I’m here. The reason I’m here is Black Panther.
I really liked Chadwick Boseman’s turn as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, so I’d been following the roll out of the movie with interest. Everything that I saw got me excited. As the date approached, I figured out a crafty way to ensure I saw it in the theatre (my daughters love the Marvel movies, so I told them if they did good on their report cards, we’d see it as a family . . . win-win).
I went into the theatre with very high expectations, but I really tried to restrain them. I was expecting too much. Part of this was fed by my love for Thor: Ragnarok. It had exceeded expectations and try as I might, it was hard for my logical brain (if your expectations are too high, you won’t be able to enjoy even a great movie) to overcome my emotional brain (but it looks so awesome!).
Let me tell you, without any risk of hyperbole, this movie taunts my expectations from orbit.
Everything I loved about Boseman’s Black Panther in Civil War was cemented here – the restrained nobility, the wary optimism, the determination, not to mention the sweet, sweet moves. The characters around him reflected that, they each shone with conviction, no matter how tarnished they might be.
I love Boseman’s Black Panther for the same reason I love Chris Evans’ Captain America – they make nobility believable. But Black Panther inhabits a world of tarnished nobility, of political compromise, of strength through fear. He is on the cusp of a changing world. How will Wakanda face this new world? Shall it continue the policies that have protected it for so long? Shall if find a new path for a new generation?
The movie’s backbone to me was the difficulty of grasping and defining a national identity. As a Canadian, I know this all too well. The arguments from the various factions and friends for how T’Challa – not just a superhero, but a king – will move forward all have merit, even those of the villain.
And let us never forget Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger. This is the best villain since Loki – whom I would count as the villain of Thor and the Avengers. This is a villain with whom one can sympathize. We can condemn his methods and means, but not his intent – free the oppressed. Is not the motto of the Special Forces (Airborne) “de oppresso liber?” I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but I think his back story explains so much of how the movie turns out – how he achieves what he achieves and why he burns so brightly.
I could go on and on about the action scenes, the SFX, the vistas, but just trust me in saying so much of this works. Yeah, I’m sure there were problems with it, there always are, but like Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy, this movie held my interest and my emotions so well, I missed the flaws.
I ain’t an actual critic, so cut me some slack!
It’s important to note, though, that unlike those other two examples, while Black Panther has lighter moments this is a serious movie. This is closer to Civil War than Ragnarok. It’s hopeful and optimistic, but there is comic relief rather than outright levity.
If you were excited by the trailers, go see this movie. If you liked Boseman in Civil War, go see this movie. If you like inspirational heroes, go see this movie. If you are fan of Jagalchishijang, go see this movie.
I give Black Panther 4.75 heart shaped, purple shiny hero plants out of 5. It delivered on expectations and then some with a thrilling version of the standard Marvel movie that went a little bit deeper and had a little more heart than usual.