Marvel Marathon #17: Black Panther

(During quarantine my girlfriend and I are going through the Marvel movies chronologically. Surprisingly, she is really enjoying them, maybe even more than me. We are already a couple down and I’m gunna do write-ups for all of ‘em, the good and the bad.)

I wouldn’t say I’ve been looking forward to this one, but more intrigued than anything. I knew that this was not only a massive success at the box-office but also a critical success, though I speculated that it may have been because of social reasons rather than because it was great. People were acting like we’ve never had a black superhero before. However, after watching the movie I now understand why.

I was getting annoyed by people saying how forward-thinking the movie was, and I ignorantly thought it was just because it’s a black superhero, and in the end that it’s just a fantastical Marvel movie that doesn’t mean shit in the long run, and i hadn’t even watched it! But it’s so much more than that and tackles issues of race, colonialism, Africa’s relation to the western world, and the movie completely emphasises African traditions.

When it comes to its role in the MCU, Black Panther really proves that you don’t need to write in stupid one liner jokes every 20 seconds. And what do you know, the few moments where there is comedy in the movie, it fails miserably. One of the most embarrassing results of comedy writing in the MCU is when a woman is sliding down the street in a car seat holding the steering wheel after the car had blown up. What is this, Home Alone?

Black Panther is the most serious movie in the series thus far, and it doesn’t need comedy. However, the panther himself, King T’Challa is the most uninteresting character in the MCU. I get he’s a serious guy, he’s a king and he can’t look weak in front of his people, but he could have been padded out with more than just the one trait. I hate to give the first Thor movie any credit, but Thor was a god and he ruled a kingdom, but he had so many different personality traits that made him more than just a one-dimensional character. I mean, even Hitler cracked a smile once in a while.

In a film full of fake accents, there are two specifically that I can’t deal with. I was so happy when that South African, played by Golem, got shot in the head. He does deserve some credit; his accent was much more rounded than when he appeared in Age of Ultron, and his vibranium arm was cool as hell, but the character is part of the single most annoying scene in the whole movie. In a chase between him and the Black Panther, he tells his partner to put on some music because it isn’t a funeral. Then a Kendrick Lamar song starts playing. Because they gotta sell albums too, right.

The scenes in Wakanda are stunning – all the vibrant colours and tribal music are glorious. But after an hour and some of so much great costume design and beautiful set design, the movie erupts in to CGI fest. What’s the deal with those CGI rhinos. They totally reminded me of those weird things in Attack of the Clones. The final scene is completely CGI, so much so that we were pretending to play a video game with PS4 pads. And when it comes to the CGI, what is the deal with Martin Freeman being asked to fly an alien ship? That is literally the exact same thing that happened in the previous movie, Thor Ragnarok!

The superhero, the Black Panther, barely even featured in the movie. He was in one scene in the middle of the movie with the underground casino, and then at the end, but I don’t mind that, the story was interesting enough without scenes being annoyingly interrupted with a bust-up. It was refreshing. I’d like to see the Black Panther series go the Ragnarok route where it’s set entirely in Wakanda. The real world doesn’t exist. In this movie, the studio set up a great world in the movie with all the different tribes, let’s see more of that, just, you know, with much less CGI.

Also, Daniel Kaluuya is the MVP of the movie.

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