So I was able to watch Black Panther this past weekend, and I can say straight away that this was the best movie I have seen in a very LONG time. And this has nothing to do with whether I am dark-skinned or not. This is one of those movies that would go down as one of the most iconic offerings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in all time. It is clear that there is really no contest between MCU and DC at this point, but even for a Marvel movie, this one was special. I will give three reasons why I truly loved this movie.
African beauty shines through. Africa is not perfect. Not even close, but it is beautiful. The attention to detail and color in the attire won by the entire cast, to the scenery, even to the attention to African tradition and procedure. I do not want to give away anything about the movie, but even the effort that went into the accents was very good, as well. Fight scenes were beautifully choreographed, and it almost felt like it was always anyone’s fight. Wakanda, fictional though it is, showed a lot of Africa in its natural form, and I was happy to see that.
The casting was perfect. For me, and I think for most people, the main protagonist (played by Chadwick Boseman) was not my best character. My best character would have to be his sister, Shuri. Her role and its execution was almost flawless, and she was the icing on top in this movie. Boseman still performed very well, but apart from them, Michael B. Jordan was excellent as the villain. I could actually identify with him, and he did so admirably that you feel that he was meant for this role. Lupita was excellent, and in fact, all the female characters showed such strength, intelligence and beauty. Moving forward with this mini-franchsie, I hope they retain as many of these characters as possible.
The movie was political, but it didn’t feel so. There was always going to be the subtext of how Africans/African-Americans have been put through decades of hardship, and how they have been marginalized and overlooked in various spheres of economy and leadership, but I feel it was very tastefully done. The message was driven home strongly. Going to see this movie, I was a bit worried it would be a black versus white people affair, but it was nothing like that. The message will continue being put out there, and I like the way that is happening. It is done with the performances of Africans/African Americans in various spheres of life, as well as with our words, even if that includes organized activism. This was a movie that can be objectively enjoyed by anyone, irrelevant of whatever race one belongs to.
What I did not like about this movie was the absence of any other Avengers in this movie. I do not remember the last MCU feature movie that did not include at least a cameo by another Avenger. If I want to be overly critical, it almost felt like some executive of Marvel decided to just give black people their own Avengers’ movie so that they could move on to their regular programming. Give this movie Hawkeye or Falcon or Scarlet Witch, or a 30-second cameo by Tony Stark or Captain America, so that the Black Panther would feel like a true Avenger. Black Panther’s appearance in Winter Soldier did more to reflect that the Black Panther was more a member of this unique team than this movie did. This just felt like a spoiler.
All this being said, this was an excellent movie which would have ramifications beyond Box Office sales. I have never seen any demographic of people rally behind any movie like black people rallied behind this one. It was SO impressive. I even use the Wakandan salute on occasion. It has given people a voice, it has given them belief, it has made people happy. Congratulations to the directing, casting and acting in this movie. I see a few awards for this movie in its future. Totally deserved.