Film Review - Black Panther

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Cast: T'Challa / Black Panther Chadwick Boseman, Erik Killmonger Michael B. Jordan, Nakia Lupita Nyong'o, Okoye Danai Gurira, Everett K. Ross Martin Freeman

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writers: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (based on the Marvel Comics)

Running time: 134 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Black Panther is the eighteenth film in the Marvel universe that can also be viewed as an independent work. It worth noting that during the week of the international release, the film has already collected a record half a billion dollars. At the same time, critics and spectaculars so differ in feedbacks that it is hard to obtain an impression without watching the movie on one’s own. In any case, Black Panther is one of the most colorful and positively unexpected Marvel’s movies because of the first black superhero on the screen, black actors and black people status question raised, beautifully showed women powers, and astonishing aboriginal culture of Africa on the background.

The film’s title inevitably relates to the main character of the movie and first black superhero Black Panther. Prince T’Challа (Chadwick Bozeman), after his father’s death, inherits the throne of Wakanda, a small and seemingly poor African country. Wakanda is built on deposits of vibranium – the same cosmic material from which the shield of the Captain of America is made (“‘Black Panther’: Movie Details,” 2018). The film shows the formation of the new king: T’Challa learns to live without a father, continuing his work, making decisions, as well as understanding what they will lead to (Chutel 2018). Most importantly, he understands that even his beloved father is not an ideal person but it is normal to be not ideal until you are a good person who makes good actions.

Almost the entire cast appears in the movie for the first time, with impressive social roles they represent. The characters that have been already shown to the spectators are T’Challa (Chadwick Bozeman), Agent Ross (Martin Freeman), Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba). Female characters are interesting to the best of their ability, including a young and direct Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), strict General Okoye (Danai Gurira), gentle spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) as they all look astonishing (IMDb, 2018). They are the real heroines of their time and their country, and not just some of the complicated young ladies with superpowers. In contrast, the antagonist Eric Killmonger performed by Michael B. Jordan is one of the most normal villains of Marvel. Through his stolen childhood, his anger, resentment, stiffness, a world outlook on revolutionary ideas, one can see a real, living person (Dargis, 2018). Additionally, this is not talking about how an actor is charismatic and simply good-looking. In some scenes, he completely steals attention from Boseman.

Overall, the movie depicts a fantastic utopia about an ideal country where people have advanced technologies but feel part of the nature at the same time. The director Ryan Coogler decides to follow the footsteps of ‘The First Avenger’ to add seriousness, politics and social drama to the comics, but simultaneously he retains a naive, fabulous, childlike heart in the spirit of ‘The Lion King’ (McMillan, 2015). Using a beautiful scenery of the African country, the film producers put main characters in the unusual environment as for a superhero movie and emphasize the glory of the aboriginal culture in details of excellent costumes, hairstyles, make-up, spectacular though not large-scale, fighting scenes which are highlighted with a great soundtrack from Ludwig Joransson.

What is more, the questions raised in the film are significant and crucial. One of the main questions evaluates whether poor neighbors and refugees should be helped to get involved in other people’s conflicts, if they do not affect them. In addition, the movie asks if there is something valuable a person has that can both improve the lives of people and lead to a serious military conflict, should the person share it with the world or hide like hundreds of generations of ancestors did before. However, the main thing, probably, is that the responsibility for all the sins and mistakes comes to the descendants. In this respect, there is no single hero needed to unite people: it is a country that unites the scattered and shattered humanity.

In general, the film subtly reflects the thoughts of the modern Western society, and though most of the cast is black actors, the question of black people status and female status are raised in the film while and presented in a positive way. The movie brings a humanistic message: there is no need for a war because whatever happened there in the past, this can be corrected in present. One must be kinder, think more broadly and consider the common good and future.

References

Chutel, L. (2018). ‘Black Panther’ is now the highest grossing film ever in East, West and southern Africa. Quartz Africa. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1234258/black-panther-breaks-box-office-records-in-east-west-and-south-africa/

Dargis, M. (2018, February 6). Review: ‘Black Panther’ shakes up Marvel with flair and feeling. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/movies/black-panther-review-movie.html

IMDb.com., Inc. (2018). Black Panther: Full cast & crew. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1825683/fullcredits/