Movie Review: Black Panther

Details: Released in 2018. About two hours and forty minutes long. Directed by Ryan Coogler. Stars Chadwick BosemanMichael B. JordanLupita Nyong’o.

Despite all the glowing reviews I’ve seen all over the place claiming that this film is a cultural phenomenon, this is simply a good movie. It’s not a masterpiece. It’s not even close to being the best Marvel film ever released in my opinion (that goes to Captain America: Winter Soldier).

Black Panther picks up immediately after the events of Captain America: Civil War. T’Challa prince of Wakanda must now take the throne and become king following the death of his father. Wakanda is a secret city within the heart of the African jungle that has remained hidden for thousands of years and which posses technology far more advanced than anything existing in the world today. We follow T’Challa as he returns to Wakanda and goes through the necessary rituals to become king. Unbeknownst to him is that a threat from outside Wakanda approaches and threatens his sovereignty as well as the rest of the world.

When I saw the first trailer for Black Panther, I was really hyped for this movie. Two things that I always look for in movies is that there is something new in it that I’ve never seen before and that it will make me feel something. With Ryan Coogler at the helm and his impressive work with Creed in my mind, I thought Coogler was going to give me those two things in this film.

And he sort of does, but not to a degree that really affected. What I wanted to see was a deeper look at the politics relating to race, ruling a nation, and conflicting ideas in foreign policy. Black Panther does go into those ideas, but only superficially. It never really went deep enough into any of its political themes or dramatic developments to make me feel anything more than superficial interest. In this regard, Black Panther is just like other Marvel movies that entertained me, but barely kept my interest.

The action, while not bad, is also not as well choreographed or as exciting as Captain America: Winter Soldier. Based off the trailers, I was expecting some House of Flying Daggers or 300 type synchronized fighting. I didn’t get much of that. Disappointing.

The strongest part of the film are the visuals. There is some great imagery here.

The acting is also pretty good. There really isn’t a wide range of emotions that normally get displayed in superhero movies and that remains true here. You get mostly angry or funny. Michael B. Jordan is certainly not the greatest Marvel villain ever. That’s just nonsense. Loki’s probably the best Marvel villain.

I will also say that they did not overload the movie with humor as they normally do in Marvel movies, which I appreciate. There are still some jokes, but it’s not overdone. This is a mostly serious movie.

Overall, Black Panther is a good movie, but not a great one. I had high expectations and they were not met. Winter Soldier is still my number one Marvel movie. Ant-man is probably a distant second. In my opinion, Black Panther ranks similarly to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok.

Score: 7/10

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