MOVIE THEATER/FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman (42, Get on Up), Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four ), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens), Danai Gurira (The Visitor, Mother of George), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Sherlock [TV series]), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Sicario), Letitia Wright (The Commuter, Black Mirror [TV series]), Winston Duke (Person of Interest [TV series], Modern Family [TV series]), Forest Whitaker (Phenomenon, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us [TV series], Army Wives [TV series]), Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, War for the Planet of the Apes), Angela Bassett (Strange Days, Olympus Has Fallen), Florence Kasumba (Wonder Woman, Mute), and John Kani (The Ghost and the Darkness, Nothing But the Truth). It was directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Stories [TV series], ROM). After the death of his father following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” T’Challa (Boseman) returns to Wakanda to resume the role of king and protector of his citizens under the mask of Black Panther. However, conflict arises when someone from his father’s past comes back to reap what evil was sown, causing T’Challa to fight for his throne and what is good.
The last Disney Marvel film before the epic showdown that is “Infinity War,” “Black Panther” comes to theaters this weekend hoping to establish its titular character as well as change-up the scene at Marvel studios. People around me have been going crazy over this movie, primarily for its black cast and location, being set in the fictional Wakanda, Africa. The trailers were alright; what got my attention was mainly the grounding of Black Panther, in making him a legend to be feared (at least that’s what I got from the night shots of people coming across the character in the woods). It’s a shame how that piece of the character was cornered into that one scene, however the feature as a whole was better than I expected it to be. The cinematography, performances, and approach to “Black Panther” were all done well, and I left the theater, for the most part, satisfied. What stands out to me the most from watching this is its originality in approach. Clocking in at two hours and fourteen minutes, this feature plays as if it is an epic, taking its time to set up characters, implement them with dialogue heavy scenes, and sprinkle in action sequences along the way. It was a different approach; one I admired since superhero films follow the same beats and patterns (that’s not to say this movie is exempt from similar plot devices, though). The cinematography was simply beautiful. Aside from a few poorly greenscreened shots and some instances of noticeable CGI, this was a great film to watch play out, for both its setting and costuming. It’s the most unique, considering the new culture that was brought in of the Wakandans. The performances that filled these roles were solid, from Chadwick Boseman to Martin Freeman. They all played their parts well, save for a few that could’ve been a bit better if their characters weren’t so one-dimensional (like Daniel Kaluuya’s W’Kabi). That’s a story issue though, which held some weak points throughout the run of “Black Panther.” For the most part, this was a well-written feature, filled with interesting drama and cool characters. However, there were many plot devices utilized that made the story both predictable and similar to other superhero movies. Certain things would be brought up along the story’s course, only to be brought back once again in a payoff later in the flick. This happened quite a lot for many instances, but I don’t want to go into spoilers being as how this is a new release. On top of predictability, the stakes of our hero’s conflict weren’t as dire as they should’ve been filled out. Sure, what T’Challa was facing was pretty big and bold, however there was never a moment where I thought he would lose, due to the fact that he hardly struggled (even in the turn of the story towards the end of the second act). Action sequences consisted of big set pieces where characters would fly like rag dolls and no matter what attempts were made to take care of the Black Panther, everyone was no match. We’ve seen this countless times in superhero movies, and it’s typically the downfall of these characters. I’d feel a lot more for these people if I saw more of a struggle; the internal conflict was raw, but the external wasn’t. All of that aside, this was a good movie to follow. Some spots may have been slow, primarily in the first act, but once things start building towards the conclusion, the plot gets more interesting. The cinematography was great, the score and performances were solid, and the approach in story structure was somewhat different from what we have seen. Overall, I was impressed by “Black Panther” and think that most will find it an entertaining experience. FINAL SCORE: 84%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: