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REVIEW: BLACK PANTHER – A Socially Important Superhero Movie!

 
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Overview
 

Directed by: Ryan Coogler
 
Produced by: Kevin Feige & David J. Grant
 
Written By: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
 
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Basset, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, and Martin Freeman.
 
MTRCB Rating: PG
 
Genre:
 
FG RATING
10
10/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

Raves


Gorgeous Visuals, Stellar Performances across the Board, Well-executed social commentary, Well-timed laughs.

Rants


A couple of underutilized characters (nitpick)


After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to the secret city of Wakanda as the newly crowned king only to face many challenges. One of them being a new adversary, Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) challenging him for the throne. He believes that they should exploit Wakanda’s technological superiority to stand up to the oppressed of the outside world. Now T’challa must fight for the fate of his city, its people, and the entire world at risk if the vibranium is put in the wrong hands.

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Posted February 14, 2018 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 
Photo property of Marvel Studios

Photo property of Marvel Studios

At this point in time, we’ve seen everything the MCU has to offer. From a city full of heroes, to outer space, to psychedelic magic realms, and to an otherworldly kingdom. Director Ryan Coogler and Cinematographer Rachel Morrison on the other hand reimagines Black Panther‘s Wakanda as a world of what could’ve been. A part of Africa that was not touched by colonialism and oppression, technologically advanced on their own, and having everyone within that world be allowed to thrive. Seeing Wakanda (another Kirby creation) be brought to life is an immersive experience. The screening I was in is an IMAX theater and it was such a glorious sight to see on that format since Doctor Strange’s trippy visuals. There’s always a new and exciting way of the film showing different areas of Wakanda along with badass yet cohesive action scenes that involves Shuri’s Q-like technology.

 However, what makes the movie fresh from other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was watching how these strengths in their afrofuturist society be celebrated and their weaknesses addressed. In the world’s current social climate of oppression, fear-mongering, and #BlackLivesMatter — Director Ryan Coogler is put to task to make a superhero movie that is socially relevant. The film’s message isn’t exactly “white-shaming” per se but rather it help us the audience raise questions towards the ideas presented and the culture that helped posit such ideas.

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Photo Property of Marvel Studios

Films with social commentary could easily sacrifice a character’s worth if they just exist as arguments rather than their own fleshed out characters — thankfully it wasn’t the case here. Killmonger wishes to exact justice on his own hands after being burdened by the traumas and injustices towards Blacks in America whereas T’Challa did not. T’Challa’s internal struggle centers on whether or not he should use his power to break tradition than maintaining the status quo. Despite this not being a full fledged origin movie, it shows how T’Challa differs from other heroes. He is not like say Spider-Man or Iron Man who his sense of heroism is molded from tragedy, but he instead learned how to use his immense power differently from his experience as an established hero in this film. Through Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan’s performance they were able to let two distinct voices tell compelling stories out of  the issues raised in the film.

 

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Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Granted, we do get some stellar performances and and well-timed laughs from the large ensemble across the board. Especially with powerhouse performers like Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Basset, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker and Martin Freeman.  From a large ensemble cast it is amazing how much they utilized these characters. In its 132 minute runtime they were able to each their own struggles as well; where do their loyalties lie? Is it right to abandon one’s ideals for what is believed to be the greater good?  


Conclusion:

Black Panther is all about breaking tradition and that they did thanks to a passionate creative team. Ryan Coogler deviates from the MCU formula that has laughs every 5-minutes and flashy action scenes. But instead find balance in the film’s levity and subversiveness without undercutting a serious moment with a joke. It was a film that can be a celebration of culture, an adventure with high stakes, and above all a socially important one.

 


GP Manalo

 
G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.


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