The first Disney movie of the year has arrived, and it’s one of this year’s Marvel movies. Disney has done great things with the Marvel franchise, and they are certainly riding the wave this year as this is the first of 3 Marvel movies that will be released.
Let me say that this movie was excellent, and it did a lot of important things. It was perhaps not perfect, but it was the sort of situation where the good more than made up for one or two weak things in it. It felt very powerful in a lot of ways, but especially for people who don’t always feel powerful – like women and minorities. And that’s something really important to see in a major blockbuster film.
Black Panther was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War. We didn’t learn too much about his history then, but thank goodness he got his own film because it’s certainly an interesting one. His home country of Wakanda is known to a world as a poor, third world country made up of farmers – but it’s actually the most technologically advanced nation in the world. They’ve just been hiding this from other countries to protect themselves.
The story was really engaging and interesting the whole time. I enjoyed not only the bigger confrontations but also seeing the rituals of crowning their king and what life is like in Wakanda. And there is one overarching theme throughout the movie which is a fascinating debate. Should Wakanda keep to themselves, or do they feel morally obligated to help out other nations in the world who are in need? There is no easy answer, and they grapple with this question in several different ways in the movie.
There are so many great characters in this film too. T’Challa, who is our king of Wakanda and Black Panther, does an admirable job of being a superhero one can look up to and admire. He clearly has a good heart and wants to do what it takes to protect his people and his country. He is loyal, strong, and good. And yet in many ways he’s not even the “best” or most admirable character in the film. His sister, Shuri, was my personal favorite. She was funny, sassy, but also very caring and dedicated. Oh, not to mention the fact that she was the top scientist in Wakanda and has invented some of the coolest tech a superhero’s ever seen. Then you’ve got T’Challa’s love interest, who is a passionate, headstrong activist, the head of the security who is an awesome warrior, and his strong mother. Basically anywhere T’Challa goes he’s backed up by his entourage of some really super badass women.
And there was plenty of Martin Freeman, which was great because I love him. He was reprising his role as Agent Ross and managed to have a character that provided some comic relief while still being heartfelt and important to the plot.
Those moments of female power were so ridiculously exciting for me. It wasn’t just the men fighting, and it wasn’t the one token woman in the fray. Just as many women as men (if not more) who are treated equally. They were real people, well developed characters, and they had some great lines too.
The only thing that I wasn’t totally pleased with was the villain of the film, Killmonger – and from what I’ve read online, I’m in the minority, but I’ll at least try to explain why. In some ways he felt fairly typical, but in others he felt like he had the potential to be a different kind of villain – I just felt like they didn’t do enough with it. SPOILER ALERT: His story felt like a basic one of revenge at the death of his father. On the other hand, he paralleled T’Challa very well. I think I would have appreciated the parallels more if I’d watched Civil War again before this movie. And I know it’s based on a comic book so they were working with source material. After writing this, I feel indecisive actually. I think I’d need to watch the film again to see how I really feel. But the true struggle to me didn’t feel like the villain himself, but the concepts he stood for and how it divided Wakanda.
So overall I enjoyed this film a lot. It’s more in the line of the Captain America movies in that it’s a bit darker and heavier, but still has light moments and some humor. And the powerful characters made the film have a real impact.
Have you seen Black Panther? What did you think of it?