Easily one of Marvel's strongest films—and Coogler's too. The plot zips along with intrigue, the cast has chemistry, the action pops, and the way it leans proudly into an Afrocentric identity is fruitful. It invites you to intellectualize it to a point and no further, but it has arguably Marvel's first interesting villain and a rare showdown where something more meaningful is at stake than merely "saving the world."
So the “villain” is a left-wing revolutionary who wants to liberate all Black people on Earth and the “good guys” are some right-wing nationalists with names like King Gorilla? Even “The White man” played by Frodo Baggins is unable to distract me from the odor of a counter-revolutionary Hollywood propaganda.
An interesting, urgent, more-nuanced-than-you-might-expect debate between preservation (cultural, national, personal) and intervention in the wider world, as festooned, garlanded, and shot through with bells, whistles, body-blows, and a dazzling, dizzying assortment of hyper-machined vibranium what's-its. The argument appears to be won by good old-fashioned liberal humanitarianism--techie, secular, globalist. Huh.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and director Ryan Coogler has delivered a film that lives up to both the awesome responsibility of ruling Wakanda and the acclaim of 2015's "Creed." The first half of "Black Panther" is the slight and colorful Marvel Universe movie you may be expecting, before the story develops into an almost operatic tragedy with one of the most dynamic villains since Heath Ledger's Joker.
I strongly suspect that its legacy will be the ramifications on the Hollywood machine rather than the content of the film itself - identify politics aside, it's simply more mid-grade escapist Marvel fare. My main gripe with it is the seemingly endless reliance on medium close-up dialogue shots against green screen, which - of all things - reminded me of The Room. Apologies if that ruins your repeat viewings.
I hoped for an outlier given Marvel Studios' recent attempts at hiring idiosyncratic talent behind the lens. Yet the auteurist fingerprints are diminished by the usual Marvel pitfalls—earnest moments deflated by misguided levity, overzealous cutting on illegible action, and a flat televisual look. Still, there's a joyousness here that comes off the screen, elevated by one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory.
If you put aside the issues of politics and ethnicity this is an OK superhero movie that lacks real suspense and urgency. Boseman does regal and serious well but never manages to give the hero depth. Jordan's villian is good but also is sadly underdeveloped. The main draw here is the visuals and the actresses who outclass all the male actors. I wish they could have gotten their own movie instead of this.
Black Panther is one of the MCU's very best films. Superbly directed by Ryan Coogler, the film is remarkably focused and personal for such a giant budgeted Hollywood picture. The film also has a complex and thoughtful worldview that touches upon globalization, imperialism, fascism, and Americanization; [cont.]