For the first time on the big screen, we get to see a Black Superhero (who was also the first Black superhero to appear in mainstream comics) in his stand-alone movie.
After making a stellar debut in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa headed home to the fictional African nation of Wakanda to take the mantle of King and lead his people. However, while trying to bring to justice one constant thorn in the side of Wakanda, a new foe, Erik Killmonger, came to do some unprecedented damage to Wakanda, which sees Black Panther having to fight on two fronts.
Now, if you’ve seen my review on Justice League, you should already know how it goes. We are going to be looking at it from three sides; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
*** SPOILERS BELOW, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE, LOOK AWAY NOW***
(if you haven’t yet watched the movie, to avoid spoilers, click here instead and come back after you are done watching the movie).
Black Panther was nothing short of an amazing movie. It is the kind of ‘focused’ movie that Marvel needs right now, since most of the other sides are already played out. While Guardians of the Galaxy is focused on the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Doctor Strange is focused on the mystic/dimensional side and with every other Marvel movie being focused (either primarily or secondarily) in America, it was a refreshing change of pace to journey into another unknown side of the universe that was both physical (in an uncharted continent) and spiritual.
The representation of African tribes and cultures was spot on. It left me proud to be African because for once, our rich history was shown to the world as not only what Africa has always been, but the technological side also showed what Africa can actually be (with good governance and the right leaders).
In many ways, Wakanda had the impact that one would have expected Asgard (not counting Thor: Ragnarok, because that movie was just too awesome) to have. It effortlessly showed what Wakanda had to offer and how much more we can expect from Black Panther’s stand-alone franchise in the nearest future.
The character development of T’Challa was wonderfully masked with him trying to prove why he should be king of Wakanda instead of growing into his role as the Black Panther (since he already knew all about the basic powers a Black Panther possesses). Shuri’s genius-level intellect and Okoye’s leadership skills were also big parts of what made Black Panther an enjoyable movie because they literally played their parts as supporting characters by supporting the Black Panther through his first hurdle and how much of his success, he owed to them.
Of all the villains to have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Erik Killmonger is the first villain with a backstory and cause that you can sympathise with. Due to his pain, feelings of being an outcast, the way he was trained physically and mentally, and the oppression and many plagues a black person faces outside the walls of Wakanda, one can actually understand why he did what he did. If not for his inability to see reason and understand things from the Wakandan point of view, he could have actually been a good friend to T’Challa and possibly helped achieve his dreams through a more diplomatic approach like T’Challa eventually did.
The death of some major characters was very questionable; Ulysses Klaw and Zuri. From one who reads how Ulysses Klaw constantly torments Black Panther in the comics, I expected the same thing to happen in the movie franchise since he was made a secondary villain to start with. So his death came as quite a shock to me.
Also Zuri‘s death felt unnecessary because he is more than just a spiritual guide and priest in the Black Panther mythos, he was perfectly suited to teach T’Challa the spiritual side of being a Black Panther and his death really feels like that uncharted part has been halted for some reason. Especially since Black Panther has more to offer than just technological advancement.
As an African, the accent in the movie was sometimes really all over the place. Not many would have noticed it, but there were times when the true tongue (American and British) of some of the cast slipped out during the movie. But take nothing away from T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) as they got their accents spot on and made the movie quite enjoyable. M’Baku especially had a kind of welcomed Nigerian vibe to his character.
Overall, the movie was awesome, the musical scores were beautifully done as they left me with goosebumps, and it was a great way for Black Panther to make his real debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as. I definitely can’t wait for Black Panther and Wakanda to appear again in Avengers: Infinity War.
Black Panther is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.