"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Black Panther


BLACK PANTHER is the first Marvel movie I was anticipating mainly because of the director. FRUITVALE STATION was very good, but of course it was CREED that made me think Ryan Coogler is one of the most promising young directors we have. Best and most miraculous movie of 2015 that didn’t star Charlize Theron with a robot arm. I’d be up for whatever Coogler wanted to do next, but this seemed like a particularly good match for him after CREED’s mix of moving personal drama, immaculate filmatistic style and 21st century pop mythmaking.

#2 reason: Chadwick Boseman. The guy playing the title character shot to the top of my most exciting actors list when I saw his incredible performance as James Brown in GET ON UP. I didn’t know how anybody could pull off playing The Godfather and here is this actor I barely heard of before transforming himself into crazy old man James Brown, young James Brown, all kinds of James Browns. And dancing and strutting and grunting and referring to himself in the third person and pulling it off. He didn’t get all that much acclaim for it, definitely not any awards – somehow he got to skip that step before becoming a super hero.

If you want to call him that. T’Challa isn’t a vigilante or anything, he’s the King of Wakanda, a culture where part of the job is getting supernatural strength and wearing a panther costume to defend the kingdom. It’s like if the president also had to be Superman. What’s cool about this is that Black Panther has to think about things none of his peers do. He has to be a symbol much like Captain America, but with the responsibilities that Thor skipped out of when he turned down the throne. Here he’s challenged to not only defend his rule from a dangerous usurper, but convince his people to shift the direction of the country in order to make a better world.

Okay, it’s not all politics. He gets to act like Batman or The Shadow – I thought of BATMAN BEGINS when he terrorized slavers in a Nigerian jungle, attacking from the shadows, lit by the strobe of muzzle flashes. And he gets to be James Bond – he stays in his night-on-the-town clothes when they go in to interrupt a CIA/arms dealer meeting at a casino in Busan, using disguises and radios and gadgets.

Boseman is great – thoughtful, regal and cool, developing his own fighting style and a fictional African accent he says he designed to be absent of colonial influence. But he’s only one of the many exciting stars of this movie. I’m not even sure which is my favorite between him, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o, NON-STOP), his secret agent crush who’s introduced undercover with kidnapped village women in Nigeria; Okoye (Danai Gurira, Michonne from The Walking Dead), head of his squad of bald female bodyguards the Dora Milaje; and Shuri (Letitia Wright, THE COMMUTER), his little sister and his Q, head of technology and of giving the king shit. It’s probly the most loaded ensemble in a super hero film outside of X-MEN or THE AVENGERS, and it’s the only one dominated by women. (Even WONDER WOMAN had all-male backup once she left the island.)

These are all great characters, so I guess if I was forced to choose one favorite it would not be a person, it would be the land of Wakanda, conceived by comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and developed over the years by writers including Don McGregor, Christopher Priest, HOUSE PARTY director Reginald Hudlin, recently Ta Nahesi Coates, and now Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole (two episodes of The People vs. O.J. Simpson). The history of Wakanda, laid out in an animated storytelling intro, gives the movie more of a LORD OF THE RINGS epic fantasy appeal than THOR was able to pull off. Five tribes settled on top of a crashed meteor of vibranium, the rare metal used to construct Captain America’s indestructible shield and power a whole civilization’s worth of hyper-advanced technologies. But they hide their kingdom from the world to protect their resources and their peace.

Is there a precedent for an African Utopia in cinema? COMING TO AMERICA is the closest thing I can come up with. Admittedly, Wakanda is a warrior culture, they worship a giant panther, feed their king magic glowing flower juice to give him super-strength, and allow opportunities for individuals to take the throne through ritual combat. There is some disagreement between some of the tribes. I love the character M’Baku (Winston Duke, Person of Interest), leader of the gorilla-themed mountain tribe, who disagrees with the direction of the country but is an honorable ally. In the comics I believe he’s more of a super villain in a funny looking “Man Ape” costume, here he’s very likable and he reminds me of the clans in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS. (Note: that’s a compliment!)

But until the conflict of this movie the Wakandans are at peace and, using vibranium, have made futuristic advancements in flying vehicles, floating trains, power suits, and anything else you might want. Born into the privilege of the royal family in this culture, Shuri is a teenager who invents tech worthy of Tony Stark and, just for fun, performs surgeries that I’m not sure pre-accident Stephen Strange could’ve pulled off.

There’s a particularly powerful moment when a character refers to his ancestors on slave ships. And it forced me to wonder whether that meant Wakandans had been enslaved. I decided no, that’s impossible. Nobody could’ve gotten away with that. That’s the dream of Wakanda. That’s how much they can’t be fucked with.

I don’t know the name of the Wakandan metropolis we see, but it’s my favorite part. The architecture is future-African, the fashion involves vibrant colors and prints. There are traditional robes and hats combined with modern urban touches. It’s a land where Africans have been allowed to prosper without the influence of colonialism (note the natural hairstyles). Even in this blessedly candy-colored era of Marvel films (see the pinball inspired GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 or the rock album cover based THOR: RAGNAROK) I think BLACK PANTHER has the most beautiful costumes of any of them, so credit is due to designer Ruth E. Carter, who has done most of Spike Lee’s movies starting with SCHOOL DAZE, not to mention both I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA and BLACK DYNAMITE.


I saw in some comments here that some people think the action is poor. I feel unable to fully assess, having been sitting too close to a large screen. There definitely are some frenzied skirmishes, but even from my disadvantaged viewpoint I didn’t think it was messier than THE WINTER SOLDIER, which nobody besides me seemed to have a problem with, and I was impressed by the inventiveness of the car chase in Busan, the rhinoceros battle, and especially the long take of Okoye fighting in the night club before doing a BLADE II cgi backflip down the stairs.

In general, the best super hero movies have some fun FX-based action, but not of the type I live for in action movies. For me the story and characters are going to have to do the heavy lifting because when has a super hero ever had a knock-you-on-your-ass set piece like ATOMIC BLONDE or something? The only candidates that come to mind are Nolan’s Batmobile chases. I suppose not having those expectations I suppose makes me go easy on the two challenge fights, which it’s reasonable to think could be as good as we expect from our DTV movies, particularly since Coogler shot such outstanding boxing scenes in CREED.

Second unit director/stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott did the same for JOHN WICK 1 and 2 and DRIVE. Fight coordinator Clayton J. Barber was choreographer for BLADE II as well as stunt double for Nomak (and for Frost in the first BLADE). Boseman trained with Marrese Crump, a martial artist who made his debut in Demon Dave DeFalco’s WRONG SIDE OF TOWN. Crump was also in TOM YUM GOONG 2 and was RZA’s stunt double in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS 2. And I predict this is the only BLACK PANTHER review that separately references both MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS movies.)

This will probly be the first Marvel movie that I see twice in theaters, so I’ll try to pay more attention next time. But here’s a video with clips that support my memory of a good action scene with cool camera moves, and shows Coogler’s attention to symbolic visual details.

I like that some of the Marvel pictures have a little bit of a political idea in them. For example THE WINTER SOLDIER has some information/surveillance state stuff in it and RAGNAROK has an immigrant/refugee motif going on. But those are just little things they throw out there to ground the fantasy in real life. BLACK PANTHER is the first one that felt to me like it was truly about an idea like that. Erik “Killmonger” (Michael B. Jordan, RED TAILS) is a secret cousin of T’Challa, left behind in Oakland after a disastrous spy mission, wondering why the people of his father’s wealthy homeland don’t lift a finger to help people like him. His plan is to seize power and distribute Wakandan weapons to the oppressed peoples of the world. He genuinely thinks he’s doing the right thing, he has a legitimate way to accomplish it and many agree with his goals.

He’s also a jerk. According to his scars, he has killed thousands of people in his black ops missions – those can’t all be people who deserved it. He shoots his own girlfriend when Klaue (Andy Serkis, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES) takes her hostage, he burns the flowers that would empower future kings, and doesn’t care when it turns out the challenge that put him on the throne was incomplete. So he’s a militant, a revolutionary, an angry guy with a point, but a tyrant and an interventionist whose plans would make the world even more violent and dangerous.

I agree with T’Challa that they shouldn’t just flip colonialism and be the aggressors now, but Erik is right that it’s not fair for Wakandans to hide and protect their prosperity and technology when they could be using it to help others. He and T’Challa’s last scene together (reminiscent of a scene in BLADE II, I feel obliged to note) is seriously moving shit. He never drops the bitterness, but you have to respect how he goes out with his head held high. And by revealing to T’Challa the ugly truth of his father’s betrayal he changes the king’s entire world view. T’Challa comes to understand that people with privilege or success or prosperity should reach back to lift up those behind them. And they start symbolically in Oakland, the home town of both Killmonger and Coogler.

(And Too Short, who’s on the soundtrack. And MC Hammer, who’s not.)

When T’Challa unveils the real Wakanda at the U.N. it reflects Tony Stark outing himself at the end of IRON MAN. He was gonna redeem his past misdeeds by flying around in a metal suit helping people. Wakanda are going to do it by working to share their technology and resources with people all over the world. Arguably a stronger plan. (Also the opposite of our ruling party’s Fuck All Y’All agenda, so if Trump fans saw it they would get offended even if they don’t get that when T’Challa prefers bridges to barriers that’s a synonym for walls.)

I’m sorry everybody, it may seem like this review is wrapping up, but I got more. So I want to offer you an intermission. Feel free to press play on this X-Clan song, get up and get a snack, stretch your legs. etc.

WELCOME BACK ! By the way, the intermission song doesn’t have anything to do with the movie except that I was happy to see two Public Enemy posters hanging in the apartment of circa-1992 Wakandan-Americans, and then I thought it would be cool if they also had one of X-Clan.

Which reminds me to mention that music is very important to this movie. For the score, Ludwig Goransson recorded with musicians in Senegal and South Africa, creating a drum and chant imbued sound unlike any other super hero movie (but with hints of CREED’s soaring theme at times). Kendrick Lamar did very good original songs and a whole “Songs From and Inspired By” album, something new for a Marvel movie. For part 2 I hope they get some Fela Kuti or something in there, or maybe some Ethiopian funk.

One of the trailers sampled Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” As someone pointed out in the comments here, Heron’s song was most certainly not about selling a corporate product, and I imagine he would’ve been disgusted by the idea. But I also believe that within pop culture the very existence of this movie is a revolution. There have been black super heroes before, there have been black movies before, but there has never been a display of black excellence on such a gigantically mainstream, blockbuster motion picture event level. We have never seen such a cast of great black actors (I haven’t even mentioned Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Sterling K. Brown or Isaach De Bankole!), led by such an outstanding black director, with a black co-writer, costume designer, etc., splashed across Imax screens. And its box office records have already obliterated the oppressive Hollywood conventional wisdom that movies with black leads can’t play internationally, that black-themed movies have a limited audience in the US, that black actors besides Denzel or Will Smith can’t open an expensive movie.

And as much as I love blaxploitation swagger, it’s significant that this character is not that, he is dignified and aspirational. And African! This is not just an important moment for African-Americans, it’s the biggest movie to ever depict Africans, and with much of its cast born in Africa (Wright, Duke, De Bankole, John Kani [who plays T’Challa’s father]) or whose parents were (Nyong’o, Gurira, Kaluuya).

And man, does it make Africans look cool! Earlier when I tried to describe Okoye I was shy about mentioning her signature weapon because of derogatory stereotypes that dumbass racists have. It’s great that the Dora Milaje spend the whole movie kicking ass with spears and that never occurred to me. The Black Panther mythos say fuck you, spears are badass, we’re using them.

Wesley Snipes tried to make a Black Panther movie back when Marvel was bankrupt and their best movie ever was the Dolph version of THE PUNISHER. Before he even did BLADE, in other words. It would be amazing to see what that movie would’ve been like with him wearing purple spandex and doing his martial arts and punching super villains in the era of THE PHANTOM and THE SHADOW.

He kept trying even after BLADE TRINITY, and then when Marvel Studios came about they took their sweet time with their version. In 2007 they tried to get John Singleton. In 2015 they talked to Ava DuVernay, F. Gary Gray and Coogler, who they got more excited about after CREED did well. Then they hired him and they let him make a Ryan Coogler movie. He brought along his FRUITVALE cinematographer Rachel Morrison (Oscar-nominated for MUDBOUND), plus production designer Hannah Beachler, score composer Goransson, and of course Jordan, all doing their third movie with him.

Early in BLACK PANTHER, a young boy in Oakland watches a Wakandan UFO fly away, knowing it has left him behind. At the end another one watches it come down, land next to the basketball court, and its owners introduce themselves. They’re not just gonna leave this time, they’re gonna build a Wakandan outreach center. As Kyle Buchanan pointed out on Twitter, a young Coogler once said “My goal is to start a (film) business in this area, something that can employ people. It will be something the people can point to and kids can see it, saying ‘I can do that,’ instead of doing things that are glaring to the environment.” Much as his work as a juvenile detention center counselor inspired the opening scenes of CREED, his dreams for the kids growing up where he did seem to have been infused into BLACK PANTHER.

My point is that it BLACK PANTHER could’ve been made any of those other times and it would’ve been a very different movie. I think they chose the right moment.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018 at 1:41 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

116 Responses to “Black Panther”

  1. Sigh. I really wish I liked this movie. I have a laundry list of inadequacies that I’ve been champing at the bit to unleash on you people, but now that I can, I kind of don’t want to say anything that might make anybody decide not to see it. As much as I don’t like the movie, I love its success and don’t want to stand in the way of that.

    Enjoy this reprieve while it lasts, you lucky sonsabitches. This time tomorrow I might be ranting about the soft tyranny of lowered expectations and all that shit. It’s going to be unbearable.

  2. I still say this is a good movie. I mean, the first fight we see with BP was done poorly but whatever. That wasn’t the point of the movie anyway. The characters were awesome though. That’s why I was able to go with them on this journey because they were awesome. I think that is what makes the Marvel movies so beloved is their attention to babyface characters. So I kind of wish Infinity War would just be everybody hanging out.

  3. Why’s Sternshein trying to bring out the old me?

  4. Now you know how I feel with almost every one of these Marvel Studio joints! Everyone loves them but me. Every time I watch them I leave thinking ‘Eh, it was alright’ or ‘That was bad’ or ‘It started out good/decent but then got bad.’ Since everyone loves them I end up looking like the asshole or the contrarian, especially when I say I mostly enjoy DC movies. So usually I just keep my moth shut and let everyone else enjoy them and wish I had the same reaction to them. Which is weird because I grew up a huge comics nerd so they I SHOULD be in love with them as much as everyone else is.

    Hoping BLACK PANTHER will be the first Marvel Studios movie that is not IRON MAN THREE to make me love it or really enjoy it and want to watch it more than once.*

    *Well I guess SPIDEY COMES HOME kinda fits the bill. Even then I still prefer all three Sam Raimi movies to it.

  5. RE: the action to a movie I have not seen. I honestly haven’t thought many of these Marvel Studio movies have had that great of action. So hearing the action isn’t the best, doesn’t deter me too much because I can’t think of many stand out action scenes in any of these. Which is one of the things that makes me wonder if that’s why I always feel their movies keep at arm’s length even though they want me to go over and hang.

  6. Mr. Majestyk is right. I support the shit out of BP’s cultural moment, and I have a lot of positive notes on the film, but it’s easily the weakest of the Coogler/Jordan collabos.

  7. I seriously love the action in Winter Soldier. Probably because it’s the one Marvel movie that’s the closest to action films from the 80s and 90s with gun fights and stuff.

    Re: not loving Marvel movies. That’s ok. I have enough friends in my life that share my love of them that I cam talk to them about it. I don’t have friends I can talk to about the latest Scott Adkins movie or stuff like Devil’s Express aka Gang War and that’s why I respect and enjoy taking to you all. I don’t want to bring out the old you Mr. M. I want the one that can discuss other movies. So let’s just agree to disagree on Marvel cool?

  8. Mr Majestyk’s greatest trick is making us believe he doesn’t exist! He wants us to love this movie so he can go nuclear on our asses!

  9. I do want to say one thing. These people on Twitter saying that Black Panther transcends all the other Marvel moves? No it doesn’t.

  10. The closest comparison to Black Panther I can make is Shaft. It is not a perfect movie but it’s cultural significance overshadows its flaws. Like Shaft, it’s a black director working with a mostly black cast on a tent pole action film with a soundtrack by a renowned black artist. I think the weaker parts are the superhero-y moments, mostly because we have seen that stuff a dozen times. What we haven’t seen is a black nation portrayed as royalty with tech that would make Luke Skywalker and James Bond envious. As great as Boseman and Jordan are, Wakanda is the real star. The world-building aspects took elements from other movies but still managed to feel fresh and unique.

  11. Ryan Coogler breaks down a scene.

  12. I fully accept that, as a Black man, this movie will mean more to me. I also accept that people have different taste. But if you didn’t enjoy this movie but enjoyed other MCU movies I’m truly perplexed.

  13. Vern, I think the comment about the ancestors on slave ships was about the larger community of Africa, not that Wakanda had slave ancestors. I saw it as a slap against Wakanda for not doing something to stop it when it was happening.

    I can see why the movie is getting so much buzz and feel like its cultural significance is huge. As for the movie itself – it was alright. I’ll see it again, maybe not in theaters, to see how I like it without the pressure of finding it to be life changing.

  14. I really didn’t want to be that guy, but I guess I’m one of the people who thought the action was passable at best, and, yes, worse than WINTER SOLDIER. Yes, there’s that long take with Okoye in the nightclub, but it doesn’t really add much to the movie except for a few blessed minutes of clarity. Compare that to the long take in CREED, which puts you right in the ring and ratchets up the tension of the fight until it’s almost unbearable. Also the VFX were terrible in parts, including some BLADE II caliber CG body doubles (which is somehow seen as an acceptable thing here in Verntown).

    That said, I can easily look past it. It’s filled with cool action-movie ideas for weapons and technology, even if it lacks a little in execution. I don’t really see Marvel movies for visceral, classically-shot action scenes anyway, and I have no problems with this movie on a fundamental level the same way Maj does. Wakanda is fantastically realized and it has the most beautiful and creative costuming and production design of any Marvel movie ever. You can tell that everyone involved knew they were making something special and that effort just radiates off the screen. Obviously a movie like this couldn’t have come up a better time and I hope it finally puts the rest the silly idea that tentpole movies can’t be profitable if they don’t star a white guy named Chris.

    It’s a bummer to see the internet flooded with terrible takes, from the outright racist MAGA-heads to Bernie-bros pissing on people’s enjoyment from a great height by claiming the movie doesn’t really count as progressivism because it’s too corporate.

  15. What are you trying to say,Larry? Maybe you should nut up and not pussy foot around what you really want to say?

  16. I thought it was great. Full disclosure, I’m both an MCU junkie and a confirmed liberal, so it worked for me on many levels. Just purely as a superhero movie, it was very strong–not my favorite Marvel joint, but solidly top tier (say, somewhere in my top five). And it was a great springboard from which I hope they’ll launch great sequels. I hope Coogler comes back, and I’d love to see what he could do with a “Dark Knight” kind of act two, free from all of the introductory stuff you have to do with an act one.

    As far as the larger social relevance of the movie, I think you have to be kind of heartless if you aren’t moved by what’s going on here. This isn’t just a black protagonist, but an almost entirely black cast and creative crew on a big canvass, four quad adventure movie. That’s never happened before. I’m a white guy–almost every adventure epic ever made has been by my people for my people. This is another group in America getting to share that experience for the first time, and hopefully not the last. And it’s not even just a racial crossover. I saw the movie with my three daughters (ages 8, 10 and 14) and was delighted by how much of the fun was shared by the great female characters. All of that carries an additional significance running parallel to its more nuts and bolts place in the MCU/superhero landscape. Exciting stuff.

  17. Hmmmmm, it’s interesting that this is one of the few places I’ve actually seen people have some criticisms for the movie. I feel like people are tap dancing all around talking about the actual movie. With that said, I liked it but didn’t love it. In fairness, I feel that way about most Marvel movies outside of the first Avengers and Civil War(Sidenote, I was a HUGE Marvel comic book reader as a kid. The 80’s to early 90’s was when most of these characters were taken seriously and a lot of the current mythology was created. So liking and not loving most of these movies is actually kind of disappointing for me) . Civil War is easily my favorite Marvel movie. It’s the most well done of the bunch with the best fights scenes(only Winter Soldier comes close in that department) and a story that felt like it had some real stakes to it.

    Black Panther is a good introductory movie but it never felt like there were any real stakes. My biggest complaint is that they took too long for Kilmonger to take over the story. I’m not sure exactly how long it took before Kilmonger took over the story after the casino scene, but it felt like halfway through the movie. Klaue was too goofy to be taken seriously and until Kilmonger shows up there isn’t even a small amount of stakes involved. Then when he does show up it’s mainly standard villian stuff. Yes he does say some profound things but his actions don’t match the things he says. He’s mainly a blunt tool in the movie. I didn’t really get the feeling he was a mastermind of any kind. Just a guy mad that he got left behind. They should have had more scenes with Kilmonger early in the movie to build his character better. Still a decent villian by Marvel standards (most of the villians are as weak as water) but he’s no Joker.

    I was blown away by the look of Wakanda. They did a much better job of realizing a fantastical city then did Thor with Asgard. Asgard in Thor was ridiculously disappointing. It had no real sense of wonder like the shots of Wakanda did. Shuri was a great charecter even if she is basically Q for Black Panther. The Dora Milaji were great. M’Baku was a character I would have liked to have seen more of. He actually gave the movie life when he stepped back into it late. The reaction he has during a supposedly touching moment is pretty much how I was feeling at the moment. The opening in Oakland was greatness I wish the rest of the movie had. I just feel like the movie had some great individual things about it that didn’t equal the movie being great.

  18. oh boy. here we go again.

  19. Sorry guys, Amazing Larry is in the elite club of people banned from here, but the security system is shit. I delete them when I see them. Thanks for ignoring him.

  20. I’ve seen some people kicking around sort of a “I liked-not-loved it but I can’t possibly imagine how much it must mean for somebody who is black” conversation. It kinda sounds to me like: you didn’t emotionally connect with the film but you’re going to give it a pass because maybe it wasn’t for you.

    I can’t speak to that specifically but I would say representation benefits all recipients of art. I don’t think the people lauding the blackness of this film are doing so out of apologism; that shit is genuinely the best and most pleasurable aspect of the film. The term “afrofuturism” is now on everybody’s lips and hopefully people start discovering Nnedi Okorafor and Shabazz Palaces and Clipping, and Janelle’s new album saves pop music (again).

  21. C-can you erase the first paragraph of my comment?

  22. Just wanted to add that Civil War was an excellent introduction of this film to the film universe and this just kept on running from there.

  23. because my previous comment looks weird and upsetting out of context, it had absolutely nothing to do with any of the comments that remain viewable in this thread.

  24. A historic movie for Marvel because it’s the first time the female characters totally outshine the male characters! T’Challa’s a nice, honorable man, but I was thinking “let’s get back to Shuri or Okoye or even Nakia” during a lot of his scenes. And yes, it’s also a historic movie for Marvel because it’s full of black people, occasionally pokes fun of the token white guy, and acknowledges that racism exists.

    Biggest surprises: Andy Serkis as the Marvel villain I’ve been waiting for (no tragic backstory, just a crazy racist asshole who TEE-HEE-HEEEEEEEEs his way through every scene) and the comedy stylings of M’Baku! Didn’t see that coming!

    I think this one has the best score/soundtrack of any Marvel movie. It’s a nice mix of superhero fanfare, tribal music and hip hop.

    The action is standard Marvel studios fare– decent, but not great.

    -Nigeria opening: Would have been a lot better if it wasn’t so dark. There are actually some cool little acrobatic moves in there.

    -South Korea: I liked the idea of the continuous shot during the casino scene, but the camera gets too close to T’Challa and Nakia. It’s a shame because I’ve seen b-roll video wide shots of Boseman and Lupita doing all the casino action themselves and looking impressive while doing it. The car chase was solid and had a bunch of fun comedy beats.

    -The Waterfall Challenges: Two decent little Rocky fights with all the reaction shots you’d expect to see in a Rocky movie. “YOU CAN DO THIS, T’CHALLA!!!!”

    -The finale: This is when the action falls into the usual “We have the money to just CGI over everything” Marvel studios trap. The actors should be pissed! Marvel continues to make actors get in shape and wear super-tight costumes so they can paint over them in post and make it look like their heads are floating on cg bodies. The finale also has super-unnecessary cg battle-rhinos. Battle-rhinos are cool in theory, but the execution was… not great. However, I did get a bit of a laugh out of the crappy rhinos appearing after T’Challa’s dramatic “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” reaction. I was expecting something much more significant!

    Overall I liked the movie. I don’t ever buy into GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME internet hype, so my expectations were kept in check. It felt different and familiar at the same time.


    Like MaggieMayPie, I walked into this with expectations that were perhaps unfulfillable. Yet another part of me feels that with another 20-40 minutes of screen time, all of these character arcs could have been properly delivered upon and it all could have landed with drastically more impact. The stuff that works about it works SO well that it hurts even more when you run into that Marvel glass ceiling. Is there any hope of an extended edition?

  26. Sorry I didn’t realize about Larry.

    Anyway,it’s a good movie, it’s not the best Marvel movie but I see how significant it is. I find it weird that having a blockbuster with mostly blacks was ever considered by many to be an impossible dream.

    Honestly, I feel like saying anything negative about this movie just makes me look like an asshole.

  27. I actually feel bad for Infinity War because I wonder how many people are going to be upset if Thanos isn’t single handedly defeated by Black Panther and Wakanda.

  28. (spoiler for the thing after the credits)
    did it leave a bad taste in anyone else’s mouth that it turned out to be friggin Bucky of all people who was being kept alive by M’baku, and not Killmonger? i otherwise loved this movie, but i wished that they hadn’t killed Killmonger off. i thought it would have been so much more dramatically interesting and symbolically apt if TChalla had spared him. but i was ok with it, and like Vern said, I thought his final scene was chilling and one of the high points of the film.

    that post-credits scene, though… i mean.. i know they typically sell the next movie with those, but… did Disney/Marvel not realize that part of the whole reason Black Panther is such a huge deal is because it’s a big budget movie set in an ‘exotic’ locale that finally **doesn’t** need to shoehorn in some Dances With Wolves white guy, and/or cast characters of color with white actors, just so it can get the budget it needs in order to exist?? (and even then, you’ve got the Martin Freeman guy who, yup, gets injured saving the life of a Wakandan and wakes up healed in Wakanda and combines his military training with the Wakandans’ technology in order to help them save their culture from his own, just like every other white guy in that same predicament from John Carter to Jake Sully, but at least Martin Freeman was not the protagonist this time around) so to have exactly that type of scene — ie “POV of white guy waking up in hut to the laughter of native children” with Bucky — be the very last thing you see in a movie that so triumphantly leaves all that bullshit behind the rest of the time was a little jarring, to say the least. and that’s not even getting into all the drama that would have been opened up for a sequel if M’baku was secretly keeping Killmonger alive! Just a blown moment all around.

    Oh well. That’s all Disney, i’m guessing, so what can i really expect. Other than that the movie ruled.

  29. 1. It was set up at the end of Civil War and mentioned as a joke earlier in the movie that Bucky was being kept alive.

    2. I think it would completely ruin the whole Kilmomger arc and last lines only to be kept alive.anyway.

    3.The think you are missing the point of Freemans character being the tolken white guy.

  30. psychic – I think you mean Shuri (T’Challa’s sister) not M’Baku, who is the mountain tribe leader with the gorilla mask. It didn’t occur to me to think it would be Killmonger, although that would’ve been cool. I think it’s fine for the post-credits scene to be the one thing that continues the larger Marvel storyline, continuing from the end of CIVIL WAR and putting Bucky into play for the next one. I think it’s also a cool thing for Shuri because in CIVIL WAR they were keeping him frozen until a cure could be found for his brainwashing, and this means Shuri was the one who knew how to do it. I have also read that calling him “White Wolf” is a reference to a comics character who was T’Challa’s white adopted brother.

    I agree that it sucks to lose Killmonger, one of the best Marvel villains, and star of all Coogler movies so far. But paradoxically the way he dies, on his own terms, is part of what makes him great. (If only he knew how much people forgive Loki for all the humans he got killed.)

  31. If Marvel Studios are smart (and they mostly are), they’ll be doing some reshoots to add a bunch more Wakanda scenes to INFINITY WAR. I was fine with the Bucky post-credits scene, but I hope he’s a minor supporting character in the new AVENGERS movie. He was a functional MacGuffin in CIVIL WAR but as a character he’s a bit of a bore.

  32. Every time there’s a superhero discussion on here, I feel very old!

  33. I’m not sure I think it’s good to I want the Marvel movies to be more inclusive but make the one black one seperate from the MCU universe.

  34. CL, it looks like a huge chunk of IW tales place in Wakamda already. Plus it’s an Avengers movie and not a Black Panther sequel so there are different expectations here.

  35. Definitely seeing this on the weekend, but after seeing the comments here I’ll lower my expectations (I really loved Creed’s fights, so I was hoping BP would have some decent action). As for the rest… I seem to like marvel movies in an inverse proportion to the number of Avengers present*. So I should be good.

    *Thor Raganrok being a happy exception

  36. d’oh, thanks for correcting me on Shuri there, Vern. (and here i was worried that i’d gotten Bucky’s name wrong.) Disney gotta eat, i know, but given there was zero Avengers stuff in here besides Freeman and flashbacks to Civil War’s UN bombing, i wish Coogler had been able to push that mild subversion all the way thru to even the tradition of the post-credits stinger.

    Sternshein- i had no problem with Freeman in this, I liked the performance and the way the character was handled for the most part, it’s just interesting to me how often and how identically the white-guy-winds-up-in-a-forbidden-land trope plays out in Disney (and other) movies. it was both amusing and refreshing to see it applied to a supporting character this time instead of the main dude.

  37. I agree with your assessment on the Freeman character.

    One of the points of the movie was how Wakanda should open itself up to the world which is the reason why Black Panther does the big speech announcing his intentions to do just that. Plus, the final credit stinger with Bucky is more exciting because it continues to show just how important the Wakanda nation is going to be in the future of the MCU. I’m also fairly certain that T’Challa is going to end up being the defacto leader anyway.

    I’m really excited for Infinity Wars guys. well at least those of you that care.

  38. Visually and aurally it all felt thrillingly new in a film of this scale. The score was really impressive, the acting was all on point, the cinematography was beautiful. Yet I totally concur that a lot of the action was pretty mediocre, although I personally loved the rhino reveal! I suspect that Starks next suit will have vibranium elements as the Wakandan tech was (maybe a bit too) insanely advanced and you know he’s going to want in on that.

  39. i don’t mean to rain on anybody’s parade who liked the stinger for its sequel-iciousness, btw. i’m forgetting this movie is still an MCU product as well as a bold artistic statement and cultural touchstone.

  40. No parade was rained on.

  41. Okay, here goes.

    I was so excited for this. When it started, I was thinking about how much shit African-Americans have been through and are still going through, and yet they’ve contributed so much to our culture and still have something that everybody in the whole goddamn world wants a piece of. I think it’s so great that finally they’re getting a big sugary escapist dessert of a blockbuster the way they should have gotten decades ago, and that most of the population is onboard to support and share it with them. It’s not subversive, it’s not progressive, it’s just a positive step and it warms my fucking cockles. Then the Too $hort song started and I practically shed a tear. This movie was speaking my language.

    So I appreciate almost everything this movie IS. I just don’t particularly care for almost anything it DOES. I love the story and the themes it’s exploring. I just don’t care for the way the story is told or the manner in which those themes are explored. My problems come down entirely to execution, not conception. I felt that this film was not executed in a manner that was exciting, and thus I did not feel viscerally or emotionally connected to anything I was seeing. In fact, it all felt pretty boring. It became obvious to me fairly early where this story was going and I spent a lot of time just waiting for it to get there.

    Predictability is not uncommon in blockbusters like this, but generally there are incredible set-pieces along the way that make the fact that the story runs on rails to a predetermined conclusion go down easier. This movie had none. The big action scene is just a much less effective version of the dudes-vs-cars chase from CIVIL WAR, but with a whole shitload of unconvincing, rubbery CGI ladled over the top to ensure that nothing for one second ever looked like it was really happening. The introductory action scene was dark and badly shot, like something out of BATMAN BEGINS. The two hand-to-hand fights held in the same location were redundant and repetitive. The final battle is too small and lacking in grandeur to have much impact in such a larger-than-life world as the MCU. It could have been the first scene in a Thor movie. And the showdown between Killmonger and BP was simply awful. Set in such an ugly, blatantly synthetic location that had no relation to any of the imagery we’d seen earlier, it shrunk the film down to an airless video game cut scene that could have been in any sci-fi thriller from the last 20 years, with horrendous CGI to boot. Shit looked like TRON: LEGACY.

    Also, drones are not exciting, Hollywood. If somebody’s not in the vehicle, why should I care if it crashes? It’s just bad drama.

    The bad action also contributed to a major lack of suspension of disbelief right in the movie’s inciting incident. So OG BP needs to kill his own brother to get the plot going, right? I understand that. It’s a narrative necessity. But it’s staged so poorly that I don’t buy it. This dude is bulletproof and has superpowered reflexes. Yet somehow the most efficient way to deflect a bullet is to drive your fingers through your brother’s solar plexus? Not, like, disarming him like we’ve seen you superpower dudes do a thousand times before? Or how about, I don’t know, taking a step to the left and putting your bulletproof body in between Forest Jr. and the bullets. He really seemed to jump the gun on the whole stabbing-my-brother-in-the-heart thing. You could tell that this chain of events was badly blocked because they had to ADR in a line where Whitaker explains what happened. So right from the jump, I felt the drama was contrived. Bad action meant I was told something my eyes didn’t see.

    So the action is actively detrimental to the story, but people seem to really be connecting with the drama. I don’t see it. For one, it’s an accent movie. A movie where everybody is talking in a phony made-up accent can only be so good, because everyone feels so stilted and inhuman. I don’t like 99% of period pieces for this reason. Speech has a music to it, and phony accents distort that music. So it’s no surprise that the scenes that came alive the most were the ones with Andy Serkis, who was unburdened both with a fake accent and with the need to represent his race with dignity and decorum. He was allowed to simply be entertaining. All the portentous intonement of Very Important Matters from the Very Dignified Wakandans made it feel like a lesser Star Trek movie or something. They were smart to instill some comic relief into that stuff but it wasn’t enough for me to find most of the talking scenes particularly engaging. The drama felt po’faced to me, trying to instill gravitas to material that didn’t deserve it.

    I said I like the story it’s trying to tell, and that’s true. The themes of absentee fatherhood, colonialism, loss of ancestral home, the Malcolm/Martin dichotomy, this is exactly what a Black Panther movie should be about. I just think this story is told very badly. This is a movie with THREE expository dream sequences. THREE. The hero loses his powers twice (three if you count the vibranium-nullifying final fight) and gets them back immediately both times, with no effort on his part, no obstacle to overcome to reassert his right to wield that power, and no humility learned from having to get by without it. Somebody just shows up both times and gives him an Underdog Super Energy Pill. (Which, by the way, completely destroys any significance of Killmonger burning the vibranium fruits or whatever. Oh my god, what will T’Challa do now? Oh never mind, his girlfriend will just give him her spare deus ex machine.) I never thought I’d say this, but the first THOR is vastly superior in how it handles this narrative development. And the first THOR is not exactly a well-told story.

    Let’s talk about repetition. The characters keep having the same argument. It’s the right argument for the movie, but it’s not a new argument. I was under the impression that the decision for Wakanda to come out from the shadows had been handled in CIVIL WAR, when the old king literally said that. Now it takes this entire movie and a dozen repetitions of the central argument to get right back to the same speech, delivered in the same location. After the first six times characters discussed the pros and cons of separatism, I was definitely wondering if we were ever getting to the fireworks factory. Which it turns out we are not, because the Hobbit shot down three spaceships by remote control. It feels like a very small problem that is exceptionally easy to solve. Not worth all the handwringing.

    I never hated the movie. The characters are mostly engaging and charismatic, with some exceptions. Detective Jack Getout has one of the most contrived heel turns I’ve ever seen. Dude throws over his best friend, his oath of loyalty, his wife (?), and his entire way of life in like two seconds, offscreen, because some asshole shows up with a corpse. I don’t buy it and it took a lot of the drama out of the whole third act. I simply don’t buy that everyone would turn on T’Challa so quickly. It wasn’t set up at all that dissension in the ranks ran that high. These Wakandans come off like Springfieldians, ready to form a lynch mob at the slightest provocation.

    I thought Jordan was great with what little he was given. I was definitely on his side 90% of the way. These Wakandans are just some black republicans watching the world burn from their ivory tower and I had no sympathy for them whatsoever. (The fact that they’re supposed to be this beacon of hope to the world and they never question their method of choosing their all-powerful dictator by electing whoever doesn’t get thrown off a waterfall makes me seriously doubt their commitment to progressive values. Like, maybe your system sucks and you should work on that before telling the world how to handle its problems.) I thought the showdown between him and BP was badly done, not just because the action was wack but because they didn’t have enough facetime beforehand. They meet in person for the first time in a room full of other people, and they both have their politician faces on. They have no meaningful interaction at all until they fight, and it’s just not enough for them to have a dynamic. Also, we already knew who Killmonger was before that scene, so there are no reveals. It’s all been done already, so there’s nothing for this scene to accomplish.

    Also, Killmonger’s plot made no fuckin’ sense. Why did he bother stealing that vibranium in the first place? He didn’t need it. He never even tried to collect any money for it. He didn’t need to steal it as bait to coax Black Panther out of his palace so he could fight him in front of the world, because they never fight. They don’t have any interaction at all. So why go through all that bullshit with the heist and the CIA sale and the rescue, when all he needed to make his plan work is Klau’s corpse, which he seemed to have been able to acquire at any time? He could have murdered this motherfucker the first time they met, threw his body in a hockey bag, and absolutely nothing would have changed.

    Plus, he could have just shown up at the first challenge, as the sister points out. There’s no reason to have two identical fights in the same location, especially in a movie so lacking in spectacle.

    This seems like a small thing, but it’s not. Think about it. If there’s no valid plot reason for the vibranium theft, then there’s no valid plot reason for the entire Korea sequence, which is the main set-piece in the film. No valid plot reason for Korea means no valid plot reason for Agent Baggins to be in the story at all. The whole plot unravels from this one loose thread

    And let’s talk about Agent Baggins. Generally, when one inserts an outsider character into an insular world like this, one does so because the audience needs an exposition sponge. He’s the only one who can walk around and ask “What the hell is that?” because everybody else already knows what the hell that is. But by the time he arrived, all the exposition had already been dealt with, so all he did was stand around in a blanket. The one piece of exposition he drew out was what that dumb laser train was, and I’ve already discussed how lame that fucking thing is. So why’s he there at all? To drive the drone? What’s the point?

    So while all of you were ogling the pretty costumes that I barely noticed (I. DON’T. GIVE. A FUCK. ABOUT. COSTUMES.) this is the shit that was running through my mind. I was still hopeful for most of the running time. At any point, the movie could have turned itself around. If the climax had been really rock-’em-sock-’em, I would have forgiven all this shit. But the climax was the worst part, so this is all I have.

    I think all the elements were there for something great, and I think a sequel could fix all of my concerns simply because all the table-setting is out of the way. But as much as I admire this movie for what it represents, sloppy execution and dull storytelling means I simply wasn’t entertained by it. I have seen all-black movies before, movies about the black experience, movies by black directors, all of that. What I haven’t seen is an exciting, escapist spectacle movie on this scale that is also all those things. So for the movie to drop the ball on the excitement/escapism/spectacle means it’s dropping the ball on the thing that makes it interesting. I don’t want to judge this movie on a sliding scale. I want to judge it the same way I would any other movie I’d see on Big Gulp cup: Was it or was it not a good time at the movies? I didn’t feel it, so the movie doesn’t work for me.

    Oh well. At least Too $hort got a check from Disney out of it. I never would have seen that coming in a million years.

  42. *SPOILERS*

    Majestyk, I agree with most of what you’ve said here. I was also really annoyed and doubtful of his bestie turning on him so easily and with such violent relish. He did talk about wanting to come out of seclusion and take over the world and being upset and frustrated with the OG BP’s inability to bring his parent’s murderer to justice, but that was nowhere near enough to set up such a betrayal of his king and friend.

    I had forgotten, until you mentioned how he got his powers back so easily, that I thought they were going to have him come back after going over the waterfall to battle Killmonger without his powers. Now I’m pissed they didn’t do that.

  43. I was worried that all the hyperbolic praise was going to cause the biggest backlash in the history of cinema, and I think it’s already started. I checked out the IMDB user reviews and haven’t found a positive one yet. That’s hardly emblematic of the population as a whole, but most of them seem to be coming from the same place I am: I wanted to love it but the movie just doesn’t support that. I’d imagine if left to their own devices, most people would find the film a perfectly breezy way to spend a couple hours, but if they keep selling this movie as a life-changing, revolutionary event like you’ve never seen before, it’s gonna turn a lot of people against it.

  44. The only Wakandans who turned on T’Challa were the Border Tribe (led by Get Out guy). The Jabari supported T’Challa and the rest of the tribes sat out the climactic cg battle.

  45. The Undefeated Gaul

    February 20th, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Wow, thanks for that Majestyk. I haven’t seen the film yet myself, but I have a feeling a lot of the points you mention might severely annoy me as well. Honestly the reason I haven’t seen it yet, is because I saw a clip of the final fight between Killmonger and T’Challa in the underground place where they have the ridiculous Tron suits on and there’s a CGI train, and it looked so unbelievably bad I started to become hesitant… and then I read some reviews and figured out this was indeed the final fight, which should be the coolest fight of the film. So if that was the best they could do, I figured it wasn’t gonna be worth watching at the movies. All this and now your review up here have convinced me I should not pay extra to see this in 3D at the movies (which is usually the only choice here in NL) but just catch it on Netflix in 1,5 years time.

  46. Maj: There’s no plothole there. Killmonger’s plan wasn’t just about killing Klaue. He organized the heist to lure out T’Challa, knowing he’d come to capture Klaue. Then when Klaue escapes, thanks to Killmonger, it drives a wedge between T’Challa and W’Kabi and weakens T’Challa’s position on the throne. It was all a setup to paint T’Challa as an ineffective leader and to set the stage for Killmonger to come in and claim the throne. Yes, it’s an overcomplicated plan, but, you know, comic books.

  47. Maj: Also, I think the movie is more self-aware about the tension between Wakanda’s progressive values and it’s tradition of absolute monarchy than you’re giving it credit for. From the coronation ceremony, and the shock when M’Baku shows up, I get the impression that the right to challenge the throne in physical combat isn’t something that’s invoked all that often. It’s mostly tradition, like the “speak now or forever hold your peace” part of a wedding ceremony. But traditions like that only work because people have respect for each other and for institutional norms. It only takes one determine asshole, like Killmonger, to really fuck things over for everybody, especially when he’s got the backing of a large number of people who are convinced that the current leader is just “more of the same”.

  48. I thought about that but threw it out for being too roundabout. You’d think maybe Jack Getout’s girlfriend or whatever might tell him that his new best friend was the one who’d been working with the motherfucker who killed his dad and was in fact the one who stole him out of T’Challa’s custody and killed innocent people. And if Erik’s point was to show how weak T’Challa was by stealing Klau right out from under him, that shit didn’t come off because he never told anybody about that and neither did T’Challa. If that didn’t work because this seemingly reasonable and personable dude is just so heated for revenge, maybe somebody could have pointed out that he could have had the honor of killing Klau himself if Killmonger had stayed out of it and Klau had been brought back to face Wakandan justice. (How did they manage to brand him and still let him get away in the first place?) But nobody said any of the shit that would have easily revealed this obvious power play by an international criminal, because they had to write around all their plot contrivances, so people just mumbled some bullshit and moved on. I fucking hate when there are obvious things to be said and nobody says them because the script wouldn’t work if all the cards were on the table. This movie was full of that kind of shit.

  49. The kind of shit I’m referring to can be illustrated by the scene in dozens upon dozens of movies where a character has an important piece of information to deliver, but instead of just blurting it out, they keep repeating “You have to listen to me!” until they get a door slammed in their face.

  50. I mean, I totally see how this wouldn’t have bothered me too much if I’d otherwise been digging the movie.

  51. How many of us here talking about BP are black because according to Twitter every black person thinks this is the greatest movie ever? I’ve so seen a bunch of Twitter comments on how likes in the movie are lines only black people truly get, etc. I still think this is a good movie but maybe my white privileged self really doesn’t get it.

  52. It is definitely white privilege. I’ve had plenty of movies like this that were geared toward me. I can’t imagine what that would feel like, so I can’t imagine what finally getting one would feel like either. I’m sure all kinds of things in the film resonate in ways I can’t imagine. I’d be a fool to think my whiteness had nothing to do with my perception of the movie.

  53. I basically agree with Majestyk’s grievances, but allow me to rebut the fake accent thing. There’s a long and storied discipline of fake accents. They spent a lot of time developing accents for Star Wars that couldn’t be mapped directly to any earthly ethnicity and boy does it directly result in those film’s revolutionary world-building. And look at how comparatively obnoxious the accents are in episode 1-3 where they DIDN’T make that effort (Binks’ Jamaican patoi).

    Another example: for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee forced his Cantonese-speaking cast to perform a screenplay written in Mandarin* to imbue the performances with a certain stagey-ness. I suppose you could also consider any modern production of Shakespeare to be an example of the same sort of thing.

    So yeah it introduces a layer of artifice, but I don’t think it’s an inappropriate technique when pulled off well, so I object to the idea that there’s some sort of ceiling for how good fake-accent productions can get.

    *Could have been the other way around, I wouldn’t me without checking

  54. Maj: Okoye says explicitly that she’s duty-bound to serve the King, whoever that is. It’s only later, when things erupt into a civil war, that she turns on Killmonger. I think part of the point of the movie is that having an absolute monarchy means that any asshole with magic blood and fight skills can waltz in and take over before anyone knows what’s happening.

    I agree that W’Kabi flipping on everyone he loves because he has such a revenge-boner for Klaue is a bit of a stretch and his dissatisfaction with T’Challa’s leadership could have been set up better. I kind of see him as one of those diehard Trump supporters who simply can’t back down from a position he knows is wrong because that would be admitting he was wrong all along. And do like that when he finally backs down it’s because of his love for Okoye.

  55. I’m white and I liked it. The movie wasn’t hard for me to “get”. It’s very much a Marvel that occasionally acknowledges racial issues that exist in the world.

  56. I guess you’re right. She doesn’t turn against K-Mong until the end. It still seems like it would have caused friction in the relationship the way he turned on their sworn leader and made her have to work for a murdering asshole without consulting her first. A conversation between the two of them about how they viewed their service to their new king would have clarified a lot but this movie is too crowded for that. It never seemed like they really had a relationship. We got to know her pretty well but he was hard to read.

  57. I honestly walked out by the time I realized it was so called escapist entertainment using african and african american cousins rivaling as it’s main crutch. Watched less than half then I settled on a rain check.

    A lot of it was moving slow for no reason anyway. Too much forced pathos and very overwritten despite ironically shortchanging damn near every character. Including the titular hero. Wesley’s version would’ve probably been more balanced and fun.

    Not sure what I’ll use it on but after this I’m almost sure it won’t be INFINITY WAR.

    As for it’s main angle I see enough of that African vs. AA resentment in real life as an afro latino still walking the inner cities of NYC everyday. I don’t know how I feel about seeing that being creatively spearheaded by with all due respect a white man creative committee. Making Coogler and his co-writer come across as hired guns but who really knows.

    Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with the MCU trying to explore an actual black community issue. Lord knows these movies welcome more depth. I just found it tasteless that it’s happening in a movie making most of it’s bank from black americans. Then again it is the mouse.

    Despite that I’m glad for it’s success but I’m also disappointed in what it actually is. It felt a lot blander then expected the way people hyped it up. It’s basically a reskin of IRON MAN with a country in place of a corporation.

    I could see so many militant types look at this movie the wrong way in terms of what it says on a societal level and I wouldn’t be able to blame them. On the surface a lot of it seems suspect.

    Again I emphasize it’s great success is amazing. If anything Coogler will definitely have more clout in Hollywood now. Will be easier for him to pursue passion projects now I’m sure. Also we finally have some women in the MCU to really root for despite being greatly underused. With that said I’m not really hyped for the future sans obligatory Spider-Man sequel and BLADE 4 which I hope and pray for everyday of my life.

  58. Broddie, if you made it part way through doesn’t that make this one of your favorite comic book movies ever?

    I have to challenge two of your points. One, I think anyone who has watched the whole movie would have to disagree that it short changes any of the main characters. In fact if you look above I believe more than one person separately mentioned how many cool characters there are that all get plenty to do. Particularly Okoye, Nakia and Shuri.

    Two, I think it’s completely unfair to take credit away from Coogler and give it to unnamed white man committee. Although Feige said he wouldn’t rule out a white director I have only read of black writers and directors on it through years of development. At the end of it Coogler wrote a screenplay that very much fits his interests and themes and that he says is his most personal movie. It also has less connection to the larger Marvel Universe than most of the others. And there’s no story by credit to Kevin Feige. I don’t care if you’re cynical about Marvel, but you’re insulting a great artist based on speculation not supported by any reporting or the movie itself.

    Also I want to ask Majestyk: is it fair for me to suggest that your defiant refusal to appreciate costumes is kind of like reading a comic book and not caring about the drawings?

  59. “Plus, he could have just shown up at the first challenge, as the sister points out.”

    I thought about this and maybe one possible explanation is that it was deliberate. The first challenge had everyone there with many of their soldiers and supporters. There was the risk they might not have taken to a complete outsider who’d just appeared out of the blue without warning. They might have tried to stop him some way or not followed his orders. Too much risk and uncontrolled variables.

    By turning up later, he forces them to act on the fly, they can’t assemble more than a handful of people and he gets to do a decapitation strike while the majority of people and supporters are elsewhere. It also gives him a chance to win over some people to his side like W’Kabi with his arguments.

    I could see they were at least trying to set up his differences in opinion between him and T’Challa about their approach to things so a wedge could be driven in later, which Killmonger did. I could see the doubt building and the possibility of changing sides coming before it actually happened.

  60. The costuming for this movie, at points, actually works to further the storytelling at points. So I wouldn’t discount it. Just like how I don’t discount the costuming in REAR WINDOW.

    I agree a lot of the action scenes were lackluster. The first one was too dark and the last one was too normal for this genre and too much blade ii bad cgi moments but extended out. And I agree with Maj about Killmonger’s plan. But I don’t agree that every convo and point between him and T’Challa is repetitive. I also don’t think it’s predictable in a huge Disney produced MARVEL movie for Killmonger’s final lines to be some shit that could’ve come straight outta ROOTS. Nevertheless, the plot has plenty of issues. People have slaged on THE DARK KNIGHT for similar reasons. Personally, I care more about story and character than plot.

    IMO, the sketchy killing of N’Jobu was intentional. Forrest Whitaker might’ve defended it as “he saved my live [that’s all]!” But I think we suspect otherwise and the movie is ambiguous about it’s ultimate meaning, especially since the king could have taken in N’Jobu’s son but didn’t, and T’Challa is emotional about it and confronts his dad about it like somebody might with someone they truly love and owe who they are to, but that somebody has done a really bad thing. Hell, T’Chaka even tells his son it’s hard to be a good man and be a king. Gee, that sure sounded defensive to me for doing some cold-blooded shit because he was pissed off his brother helped some outsider still some vibranium and then tried to shoot his buddy. That’s one reason why I don’t view all those ancestral plane/dream sequences as expository at all.

  61. It sounds like this is more a sequel than a remake of PINK PANTHER.

  62. Yeah, I think calling those trips to the Ancestral Plane “expository dream sequences” is massively reductive, especially since Killmongers is of huge thematic importance and one of the best scenes in the film.

  63. What’s with the hostility to costuming Majestyk? You know it affects your enjoyment of the film subconsciously, even if you won’t admit it. I know it’s not a manliness thing because you’re too woke for that insecure shit.

  64. See, when it was suggested that I do a podcast with Majestyk someone said it would be boring because we would agree too much. But if there was ever a lull I’d just start talking about how great BLACK PANTHER was and specifically because of the costumes and accents.

  65. “is it fair for me to suggest that your defiant refusal to appreciate costumes is kind of like reading a comic book and not caring about the drawings?”

    Don’t want to speak for Majestyk (or anyone else) here, but I do think that’s unfair. Not caring about the drawings in a comic book would be like not caring about the cinematography in a movie.
    Not caring for the costume design in a movie would be more like… not caring about the costume design in a comic.
    I mean, it’s important (especially on superhero stuff, and when a movie focuses on it like it seems they do here) but can absolutely be classed as secondary.

    About it not feeling like a personal project… I dunno. It might well be, but Coogler still had to operate within the constraints of being a Disney Marvel movie. Vern, you mentioned yourself (IIRC) that none of these feel like real movies, and don’t really compared well to proper standalone films, something I share. (Or, if I’m misrepresenting, feel.)
    This might be a major step up, haven’t seen it yet – but the things Majestyk describes are similar to the kind of problems I had with, say, Civil War.

  66. But I seem to remember that our man Majestyk don’t care about cinematography either. Shit, maybe he’s blind…

  67. Vern had I cared about the movie enough I’d have actually finished it.

    I don’t know if things got better but it kept jumping from character to character so swiftly there was no room for actual engrossment. Just felt like a bunch of checkpoints being checked off. Not organic character development. Something the last Spidey arguably had too much of but this could’ve used more.

    As for the BTS shenanigans I did state “but who knows” cause clearly I didn’t. I no longer engage with movies outside of the finished product. I don’t follow movies news or development of anything and just wait to see the finished product. So I was honestly clueless but thanks for the info.

  68. Just pointing out that perception is key and I’ve already seen a lot of black folks on other forums have similar interpretation.

    Like I saw someone complain some where that they hated how AAs were portrayed via stereotypes of coming from a broken inner city with a dysfunctional state of mind and daddy issues. Where as their African cousins were more regal and “civilized”.

    I pointed out of course that the Africans actually came across as more ignorant and intolerant while there was more room for empathy with the AA character. They were also the group that had no issue turning to a racist white man for a solution. So they weren’t exactly as flawless in perception as that person argued. Nevertheless I still get how somebody could see it that way.

    Now if that was something from Coogler himself then hey. I do think it’s probably something that could’ve been kept out of ultra corporate and mainstream escapism and probably used elsewhere. At the same time I once again can’t be mad either at an MCU joint actually trying to play outside the shallow end of the pool for once. Simply because we don’t get that enough.

  69. The costume thing/ Obvioudly costumes are important. They tell you who the character is. But once they’ve done that, I don’t care about them anymore. I’ve never once in my life thought a movie’s wardrobe was a reason to like it. Ever. The only time I ever notice costumes is when the designer fucked up and picked inappropriate ones for the characters. Do your work right and it’s invisible to me. That’s the way it should be.

    Same with photography, by which I mean the actual quality of the film image, not the camera movement and framing and mode en scene and etc. Photography allows me to see the image. It gives a tone to the story, and the tone needs to be appropriate to the story, but beyond that I don’t care. I’m here for visual storytelling, not pretty pictures. Save that shit for the establishing shot. Again, it’s something that only matters if they fucked up and made me notice it. Too dark, overenthusiastic color grading, too washed out, cheap looking, etc. When people come back from a movie and start gushing about its “look” first and foremost, I know to avoid that movie, because it’s focusing on the wrong things. A look has never made a movie interesting, especially now when every movie can have an amazing look if it wants to. Of course it looks good. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this shit. It better fucking look good. But looking good should be a supporting element, not something that draws attention to itself.

    I’ll say this again and again: It’s what happens that matters. They’re movies. MOVE.

  70. And I don’t even think BP looks that good. People keep gushing over how beautiful Wakanda was. I’m like “That nature documentary footage with an Apple Store in it?” Compared to other Marvel movies like the GUARDIANS films or DR. STRANGE, it looked positively workmanlike.

  71. Not caring about costumes is a luxury afforded you by movies with good costume design.

  72. Hate to agree with somebody who didn’t see the film, but I completely see where Broddie is coming from. I don’t think there was interference in the gestation of the film and there are so many elements of it that obviously come from a personal place for Coogler, but god damn if the final product doesn’t seem ground through that Marvel blandness especially when you compare it to the emotional caliber of his previous works. I stand by the notion that there’s a 2 hr 45 minute cut of this film that really gives all these character arcs room to resonate and fulfill their promise. Like, just one more scene demonstrating W’kabi’s festering resentment would have gone so far. As it stands it feels like painfully missed opportunities.

  73. renfield: That’s exactly what I just said. Costumes are like wire removal or matte paintings: If you do your job right, I don’t have to notice you at all. Fuck it up and draw attention to yourself and we have a problem.

  74. Oh, I get it. You were making a white privilege joke.

    I get jokes.

  75. I guess the question really is, Mr M, which film is winning costume design this year?

  76. I have a feeling SOLO: NOT A MARIO VAN PEEBLES MOVIE will have some pretty cool costuming myself. Lando’s coat look is totally gonna be my 2018 Halloween jumpoff.

  77. emteem/Michael Mayket

    February 21st, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Well, Coogler’s first cut was 4 hours long. There is a scene of a conversation between W’Kabi and Okeyo about the new king and their feelings about him and their duties , etc that was one of the last cuts made and Coogler fought to keep in the film, but they’ve promised it will be on the DVD.

    Anyway, I’m a white dude, but I loved it. It’s not my favorite Marvel movie, but it’s definitely top 5 and probably top 3, however it’s way too fresh for me to make that decision rationally. I haven’t met anyone in real life who didn’t love it. My wife, and our female friend who saw it with us were both in love with the badass women. I mean I know they just had Wonder Woman last year and now they think they get a second superhero movie with kickass women? Who do they think they are. Anyway my point is the movie is huge for black people and for women… oh, and for people who just enjoy a good movie.

    But, I do love coming here so I can see the same people who will write ten thousand words defending Hatchet also write ten thousand words saying why Black Panther isn’t as good as everyone thinks it is. Never change boys.

  78. I really feel like Solo is going to be the Star Wars movie everybody hates that we end up loving. We are like that.

  79. “Coogler’s first cut was 4 hours long”

    I wish websites would stop reporting such things, because in 99.9% of the time, they talk about the assembly cut, where they just put pretty much every piece of footage together to see what they have. It’s the first step in editing and as normal as reshoots, which are most of the time already scheduled before the first frame is shot.

  80. Broddie, when I saw the preview for BP my red flag got raised when i heard the accents of the hero and the villain too. Had you stuck around for the whole movie, you might have been as annoyed as I was to note that a beat drops on the score every time the villain does villainous things, and then it goes back to the symphonic/African blend for everything else. But the movie makes up for some of that, or at least makes it a little more complex, by having the villain be basically right. His villainy comes from the fact that he’s too damaged to know what to do with his convictions. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that Coogler brought that idea to the table, along with the focus on fatherhood and the exultant celebration of women. and, yeah, all that stuff is a couple steps closer to respectability politics than i would have liked, and i agree that it’s disappointing for them to have oriented the first black marvel movie about black vs black conflict and leave white oppression almost totally out of the picture, with the exception of 2 or 3 lines of dialogue — the whole reason I’m bummed that they (spoiler) don’t keep Killmonger alive is that his presence in the sequel would have given them a great opportunity to tackle that (not that this first movie wasn’t already a great opportunity to tackle that, but, yeah, Disney) —

    …. but at the same time… last weekend millions of people got to have an experience in a movie theater that they’ve never had before. i overheard someone compare his experience seeing it to what it must have been like to see a movie in color for the first time. Obviously that’s not gonna be true for every viewer, regardless of their race, but I’m not about to try and argue or nitpick that high away from anyone.

  81. Oh man, both the things being said for and against the movie are setting off all sorts of alarms. Still going to see it, both because it’s worth supporting and because all the Marvel movies I’ve actually liked have come from established moviemakers whose previous work I liked… but I guess expectations have been lowered.

  82. emteem/Michael Mayket

    February 21st, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Sorry I hurt you, CJ. I was referencing an article that referred to it, but it’s link was to an article talking about the assembly cut. I hope we can still be friends.

  83. I get that as a white non-American I’ll always be coming at the film from a different angle, but, man, “inner-city African-Americans bad, noble Africans good” is such a bizarre misread of the film.

  84. Mr. M: but it’s fun to unpack what’s going on under the hood and see what makes a film work, and this is a film where world building is vital to its success. For civilians it’s all well and good to have an unexamined reaction but us movieologists want to dig in and compare notes on the details. I’m glad you didn’t skip FURY ROAD over people talking about how cool the art design of the film was (slightly unfair but you get my point).

    You can have the unintentional white privilege joke for free :)
    Also I fucking love it when T’challa gets teased about his sandals and then puts them up on the table to show them off.

  85. psychic – What each person wants out of BLACK PANTHER is between them and their panther god. But personally, I think your request for more white oppression (in the movie) goes against one of the things that makes it so special and unique. The whole premise of Wakanda is the fantasy of a place in Africa that was allowed to evolve and thrive without suffering at the hands of white oppression. And the movie certainly deals with their guilt in remaining isolationist while other people around them were suffering. But I don’t think it is a fair or good expectation that finally making a big fun event movie for black people means they have to also have to eat their vegetables by contemplating slavery and racism yet again, just as the WONDER WOMAN movie didn’t have to be about rape or something. The unique thing is a movie like this where white people are mostly irrelevant.

    Now that they have opened up to the rest of the world it’s only natural to deal with those things more explicitly in the future, but for the first installment I strongly believe they had the right approach.

    Crustacean – I absolutely agree. Just knowing anything about Coogler or hearing him talk about the movie, I don’t see how you could possibly think he would feel that way. The movie clearly has great sympathy for Killmonger (who is even given Coogler’s home town and played by his close friend and collaborator!) and criticism of the (fictional) African country. In the end T’Challa learns from his African-American cousin, changes the entire destiny of his country based on it and specifically reaches out to the children of Oakland as his first bridge to the rest of the world.

    But I think I’m out of my element on this one too because the criticism seems to come out of an ongoing cultural thing that I as a white person had not heard of before.

  86. From a Black point of view, if I found out there was a real Wakanda and they were so technologically advanced that they could have helped us break our yokes and yet stayed hidden, I’d be bitter as fuck. So, yes, the film does advocate Killmonger’s POV. What it doesn’t advocate is his methods. Killmonger’s a warrior, not a statesman or a leader. His entire worldview is seen through the prism of violence. Rather than uplift the African diaspora through education he’d rather use violence to subjugate our former colonial masters. But he obviously forces Wakanda’s blossoming, so in the end he served some good.

  87. Vern mentioning the Panther God reminded me that the Panther God is actually a GODDESS. Just another reason why T’Challa should step down as Black Panther and hand the mantle over to Shuri or Okoye or Nakia!

  88. Don’t worry, emteem, I’m not mad at you. It’s just one of those internet things that annoys me.

  89. I mean the movie definitely portrays Killmonger as a character who is misled but who had virtuous ideas as well. Killmonger argues that we should learn from our enemies and T’Challa enacts the fuck out of that, moving Wakanda forward in a way that honors the spirit if not the letter of what Killmonger wanted.

  90. Vern— i hope i didn’t sound like i was requesting scenes of white oppression in action to be a major part of BP. i don’t want that any more than i’d want to see a rape scene in Wonder Woman. what i wanted was more pushback against the globally-dominant monolith that is white oppression, and i want to believe there’d be a way to do that without turning it into Katherine Bigelow’s Black Panther. either way, though, you’re right: a black superhero movie that emphasizes joy and unity is a greater gift to mainstream audiences than one that’s constantly bringing up the legacy of oppression.

    That said… some people here wanted more from the fight choreography; I wanted more from the script. In particular I wanted the sociopolitical shading of the plot to go deeper than it did. but before i go further, i just want to thank you for engaging with me about this stuff. i have always admired your ability to share an honest and insightful perspective on black culture, and i don’t know of another white writer who’s able to speak with your authenticity and authority about black music and film, while still respecting and acknowledging the boundaries between your experience and black experience.

    i’m also white, so, like you, i’m not getting the hourly reminders of racism’s thriving status in everyday American life that other people have to put up with. but (and please don’t think i’m saying what i’m about to say because i think it makes my opinion mean more than your own; i bring it up so i don’t come across as the kind of idiot who goes around lecturing people while living life with his head completely up his ass) i saw BP with one of my best friends, an ex-girlfriend who is black and who is also what the young people of today would call “woke AF,” and she agreed with me: BP fucking rules. BP also limits what it has to say about black issues in America to some pretty safe, even conservative ideas. and that totally pales in importance when you put it next to the towering behind-the-scenes achievements that BP serves as a showcase of, and its ability to marginalize white involvement in the plot like you point out. but i think it’s ok to appreciate those accomplishments and still note the times when the script pulls its punches.

    for example: not to keep harping in this, but they kill off the sole character whose dialogue acknowledges, say, over-policing as a destructive force in black communities. that idea shouldn’t be seen as anything but a common-sense statement of truth. but by making Killmonger the one who says it, BP poses it as a radical, even dangerous, at the very least debatable idea. what’s more, by killing him off, they run the risk of creating the sense that the world T’Challa is building/saving doesn’t have a place in it for the people who feel the same way Killmonger does. and sure, “black fathers need to be there for their sons” is not something i’d ever push back against either, but it’s a Bill Cosby-level social critique, the kind Obama was rightfully criticized for trucking out during at least one commencement speech he gave for a historically black university. that this is also about as far as BP is willing to go in terms of offering solutions to real-world problems is, i’d contend, maybe even more “eat your vegetables” esque in its way than it would have been to include a scene where a racist cop gets their comeuppance or something.

    at the end of the day, though, i have a huge amount of faith in Coogler, and i imagine he knew that he needed to play it as safe as possible just to get this movie made. by avoiding any content that a Disney executive’s idea of a white mainstream audience would feel any discomfort with whatsoever, he shaped a powerful ode to black strength and non-isolationism. i loved BP, and i loved the experience of watching it, and i share your high hopes for the sequel (even though i’ll always wish Killmonger was in it). again, thank you for taking the time to share your take about this aspect of the film.

  91. Doesn’t N’Jobu bring up the police too when he’s arguing with T’Chaka? And as I’ve previously written, I don’t think this movie is hugely pro T’Chaka—a big part of the story is how wrecked T’Challa is to see his father and idol essentially fall. And his dad was there for him.

    It’s easy to look at the movie as a binary between T’Challa and Killmonger, but there’s a continuum in the characters and the views in the movie. Nakia basically from the beginning is onboard with Killmonger’s ideas, but she doesn’t want to accomplish it through violent revolutionary means. It takes until the end of the movie before T’Challa comes around to that point of view.

  92. “i have always admired your ability to share an honest and insightful perspective on black culture, and i don’t know of another white writer who’s able to speak with your authenticity and authority about black music and film, while still respecting and acknowledging the boundaries between your experience and black experience.”

    I agree with psychic_hits. It’s a big reason I always come back. It’s very hard to find genuine voices like Vern’s and many others here in this community anymore.

    Every other forum I’m on is driven by black men and women and some hispanics because of this. This is the only community on the net im a part of that is mostly occupied by white men in terms of demo and yet that is not at all to it’s detriment. Unlike a lot of other communities in this toxic internet landscape. It’s a tremendous strength since it’s not just your run of the mill white dudes venting on the net it’s empathetic and genuine voices that identify as human first. Always seems so refreshing compared to the cesspool that is virtually everything else out there in terms of movie review sites.

  93. Thank you Psychic. I didn’t think of it as a “fathers need to be there for their sons” story, especially since T’Challa’s father is the one who took away Erik’s father. But I see what you’re saying. Maybe we should pin our hopes on the fact that resurrection is possible in the world of Black Panther and that Coogler likes to work with Jordan.

  94. right on. at the very least i’ll keep my fingers crossed for an MBJ ancestral plane appearance.

    thanks to everyone who’s pointing out the details i’m glossing over, also. you’re making great points and helping me to relax the stubborn grip i had on mine.

  95. Thank you for getting in touch, VERN!

  96. Vern, you’re not alone on Winter Soldier and I thought Black Panther’s Action, tho comprehensible, was about the same as most non shaky Marvel movies so I too was more into the story and it’s representation and themes. I also think green screen still looks like green screen even when the background is awesome Wakanda visuals. And I could’ve done without Klaue’s vibranium antics and just focused on the kingdom and Killmonger coming back.

    But all in all totally my second favorite Coogler movie and I too loved the dramatic moments he found at the end of big battles. That’s the Coogler version of James Gunn and Taika Waititi making Marvel movies funny.

  97. I’m kinda perplexed that nobody really mentions the Wakandan body count in this movie – this was a pretty solid, Top 5 Marvel entry for me for most of the movie, and then it loses me in a big way when Black Panther and Co. just start killing fellow Wakandans left and right and the movie doesn’t bat an eyelash. I mean, they go to the trouble of establishing T’Challa is such a good dude he spares the life of THE GUY WHO BLEW UP HIS DAD in the last movie, and he later tries to spare the life of Kilmonger, but I don’t get why we’re suddenly supposed to cheer when he blows up a bunch of pilots and his sister shoots a bunch of guys off ledges. I mean the movie even goes out of the way to establish Okoye and her team still chooses New King and Country over her friend T’Challa, shouldn’t we assume all the faceless “bad guys” suddenly on Kilmonger’s side are still good people begrudgingly following orders? Did those pilots even know what they were carrying and what it was for until they got shot in the back?

    I heard someone mentioning drones but if there was a line of dialogue establishing all the ships had no pilots, I never heard it (nor did anyone else I talked to). There was certainly a pilot trying to shoot Black Panther on the field before he got speared, and another one trying to shoot Martin Freeman through the glass. For a movie that’s legitimately thoughtful and sensitively written for the most part, the entire finale is just kind of mind-bogglingly callous. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is the first Marvel movie that actually would have been IMPROVED by another endless army of robot drones for people to fight at the end. Or have Kilmonger bring in a bunch of his mercenary buddies to fight or SOMETHING, I dunno. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t want to hear anyone talk about this being “the best comic book movie ever!” while still crying about that time Superman snapped a guy’s neck who was trying to fry a whole family.

    Other than that sticking point, it’s still a very good comic book movie – it’s not as good as Creed, but it’s fun and well-acted and never boring. It’s nice that it has alot on its mind and poses interesting, messy questions with no clear answers. The action scenes were basically incomprehensible to me, but it was clear from the muddy trailers beforehand and the chopping off of people’s names during the credits that the theater was underlit and poorly framed, so I won’t hold that too much against them. Another complaint (which I’ve heard other people say) – there’s so many cool and badass supporting characters, that T’Challa really does get lost in the shuffle. He’s not bland or boring or anything, he just gets overwhelmed in a way that Wonder Woman wasn’t (in a movie that still gave room for Chris Pine, Robin Wright, etc… to establish memorable supporting characters). Also, as I think Majestyk pointed out, him and Kilmonger don’t really have enough interaction together – they’re final scene is great in concept but their relationship is so thin it rang a little hollow for me. In general the movie feels like it’s missing two or three more scenes that would have really made it a classic.

  98. Saw this the other night, and thought it was pretty good. I liked the heavy African influence that was way above pandering or heavy stereotypes. The dude with the big plate in his lip is treated with dignity and respect. Other than the lip plate he’s got the most Western-ish clothes on of anybody in Wakanda, but he’s not okay with just a blue or tan suit, it’s gotta be bright green or orange, but still professional and not too crazy. Still pretty pimp though. A tan suit just once would have been a nice touch though I think.

    The gorilla tribe was really cool, they are kind of warlike but they live up in isolation in the mountains and don’t cause any trouble, and they seem pretty smart. When the white guy starts talking clearly out of turn the king just starts gorilla-barking at him and his guards all join in to drown out the interruption. I loved that. And the gorilla king has some great screen presence.

    Michael B Jordan, who I liked ok in CHRONICLE but was pretty lousy in F4NTASTIC FOUR (along with everybody else, so can’t blame him too much), was really good. That dude has been working out, holy shit.

    Chadwick Boseman was good, I guess. I couldn’t remember where I had seen this guy before so after some IMDBing… He’s the god of wisdom in GODS OF EGYPT! Man that was a weird fucking movie but he made somewhat of an impression so that’s good I guess.

    My biggest complaint is Martin Freeman. You could remove his entire subplot and not lose a thing from this movie. The movie could have used 15 minutes trimmed anyway, so there you go. I agree with some other people that a bit more interaction between Boseman and Jordan would have helped both to give Boseman a bit more to do and to give the end a bit more payoff, but considering that Jordan came close to stealing the show already maybe that would not be wise.

    The finale with all the formerly friendly Wakandans somehow bloodlessly fighting each other with spears and knives was weird. It seems like it would have been more dramatic and less weird to have a big standoff instead. Aren’t we all tired of long CGI combat scenes yet? It would be much more dramatic to have all of these relatives and friends and countrymen balk at a civil war rather than just jump at each other’s throats. You could fit the nice scene with the rhino charging at the female guard into a Mexican standoff type thing pretty well I think.

    Anyway, not bad, worth a watch, could have been better.

  99. grimgrinningchris

    June 26th, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    I only just now finally saw this.

    There is an instrument (I assume some sort of percussion thing, though it seems to KINDA have “notes”) that keeps popping up in the soundtrack that I only ever remember hearing all over the score for PUNCH DRUNK LOVE.

    Anyone know what that is?

  100. grimgrinningchris, to my shame, I’ve still not seen BLACK PANTHER, but I’d thought the instrument on the PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE soundtrack was a balafon, though now I come to look I can’t find any mention of that. Wikipedia does say a balafon was used in BLACK PANTHER.

    How’s this?

  101. grimgrinningchris

    June 27th, 2018 at 4:29 am

    That may be it… but what I am hearing (and now just in my head on both since I don’t have access to rewatch either atm) is a far more subtle difference between “notes”, and in both seems to only be a an ascending scale of 3-4 of these “notes” as opposed to any kind of melody. Guh, I dunno what is driving me more nuts… that I don’t know what this thing is or that I am too ignorant to properly describe the sound.

  102. And like I said, I’ve not seen it, so I’m flying blind too.

    I’m thinking it’s not the mbira (thumb piano) though the limited range you mention does sound like it; and I found someone online complaining about the lack of mbira on the BLACK PANTHER OST.

    But here’s Konono No. 1 and their brilliant congotronic amped mbiras anyway:

  103. grimgrinningchris

    June 27th, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Borg9… I think that actually may be it. That sounds more like it than the previous, though again, in both BP and in PDL, it is just used in a two or three “note” ascending thing… Where it almost sounds like water droplets (if that makes sense)… but yeah, I do think that is what it is since the pitch and tone on the individual “keys” sounds very similar.

  104. I saw 21 Bridges and thought it was a pretty good remake of The Negotitator.

  105. Holy shit y’all, Chadwick Boseman just died! This fucking sucks! Colon cancer since 2016 apparently, goddamn.

  106. Saw that. What a tough and inspiring dude. He made those last four years count for so much for so many people, just persevering.

  107. Well, shit. A lot of kids just lost a badass role model, and we all lost a good dude and a helluva actor who was just getting started. I wasn’t gonna drink tonight, but what the hell, let’s have one for the man. This year can just blow already.

  108. But as my roommate points out, now Shuri can be Black Panther. Or M’Baku. Or even Angel Bassett. As much as losing Boseman sucks, the story of the Black Panther is prolly not over. But man does it suck. We should’ve had another 40 years of great Chadwick Boseman performances.

  109. I won’t lie: I’m still not a fan of BLACK PANTHER the movie, but I’m in love with it’s success, and Boseman was a big part of that. He was perfect for the role and I’m shocked and saddened by his death. It’s a loss when anyone so talented dies so young, but this one is extra cruel. Fate itself seems to conspire to rob the black community of its heroes right when it needs them most. If there is a god, he’s a sadist.

    Every day, this year finds new ways to be a bastard. Every. Single. Day.

  110. Also, this conversation may be in poor taste at this particular moment, but I can’t help myself. I’m calling it right now: Killmonger isn’t dead and will be the new Black Panther.

  111. And so……WAKANDA FOREVER.

    It’s overlong, the action’s choppy and the frequently sketchy CGI is yet another damning indictment of how overworked and underpaid these VFX artists are becoming.

    But those nitpicks aside, the movie mostly worked for me. Timing is everything, and coming after the shit show that was THOR LOVE AND THUNDER (seriously, fuck that piece of shit movie!), it’s such a joy (which is probably a wrong choice of word) to see an MCU installment that gives it’s world and the events within it some hefty gravitas. WF is suffused with grief and layered with an undercurrent of loss and guilt, it’s somber, meditative and melancholy, and isn’t afraid to let scenes breathe and play out and unlike your regular Marvel movie, it’s not terrified of silence. The absence of Boseman is keenly felt, but WF manages to craft a mostly engaging storyline without it’s OG Black Panther. And Angela Basset, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright all turn in terrific performances.

    I still think it’s a mistake not to have recast Boseman, but at least WF gives me some confidence that a T’Challa-less Black Panther universe can stand on it’s own.

    Oh, and great score by Ludwig Goransson

  112. I thought it was very good, had a decent plot(though the geopolitical aspect of the story is a bit anvilicious at times and could stand to be more analytical of Wakanda’s ways of doing thing), emotional weight, better CGI than the first movie(thought still suffers the problem of people clearly standing in front of an obvious green screened background), and the cast all do a great job. Huerta’s a great new antagonist, and I thought Wright carried things well.

    My main hangup is how it handled T’Challa. I too think they should have just recast Boseman in the first place. I don’t think they should do it NOW, because THAT would just compound the problem after all they’ve done to honour him, but that’s also my issue. The movie’s handling of the death of T’Challa is all about Boseman, and not T’Challa himself. They make his death parallel Boseman’s to a degree that I find to be either tone deaf or crassly exploitative, and they can’t even do it in a way that commits, instead being vague as possible on what exactly happened. And post-death, they don’t really make it about T’Challa in a substantive way. Like, he’s just “my son”, or “my brother”, or “my king”. There’s no texture to talking about T’Challa. There’s no anecdotes about him as a person, no “T’Challa used to say ________” type of things. It feels like they kept it so bare bones so they could project Boseman onto T’Challa, and as such an important fictional character, I think T’Challa himself deserved much more than that. And if you are okay with that, if you think it works to do it that way because of your own feelings about Boseman, fair enough. I’m not gonna blame you for that. But I will ask…will this element stand the test of time? Twenty, thirty years from now, when people watch the MCU movies for the first time, are they going to feel it the same way people do now, or is the progression of T’Challa as a character going to seem a bit awkward? Standout supporting role in one movie -> Great solo movie -> Supporting role in a team up movie where he “dies” -> Extended cameo in another team up movie where he comes back -> Off screen death in what would have been his second solo movie. Take away the meta and the current day context, is that gonna work for those viewers?

  113. I always thought they could have bought themselves some time by setting BP2 during the Blip. Then they could have the movie mourning T’Challa/Boseman but leave room for a recasting a few years down the line.

    I feel for the creators and the hard choices they had to make, but I have very little interest in WAKANDA FOREVER, sadly. It looks unwieldy and lugubrious and I find Shuri annoying. I’m waiting for Disney+ on this one.

    I’m sure the costumes are great, though.

  114. Actually, one of the nice things about WF is that Letitia Wright plays Shuri straight with nary a joke or snarky put down in sight. She’s weighed down with twin burdens of Guilt and Grief, wrestling with her legacy even as she’s trying to come to terms with the loss of her brother. She gives a surprisingly moving and affecting performance. It’s the best Tragedy-Spurred Transformative Character Arc since Sarah Connor went from naïve waitress to field stripping automatic weapons.

  115. That sounds a million times worse, frankly. I realize I am out of touch with the current zeitgeist, but I kind of prefer my movies about people who get magical powers from a glowing plant and run around doing kickflips and shit to be, like, fun. I don’t particularly feel that escapist entertainment starring people in molded latex jumpsuits who shoot lasers out of their eyeballs to be the most conducive venue for soul-searching explorations of grief. I’m not saying you can’t wedge some reality in there, but the laser eyeballs have really got to be the main draw or I start wondering why I’m bothering. I am not equipped to take this shit as seriously as some of these movies expect me to take this shit. “A fun time at the cinema” is clearly not the hand this production got dealt, so I get why they went this route, but I’m still not really in the habit of rushing out to the theater to get bummed out.

  116. There is fun stuff. Namor’s supposedly super secret army is a bunch of blue skinned people wearing brightly coloured Mayan tribal gear, who ride Orcas into battle and throw water grenades at people. Riri Williams is a bit of a comic relief character, though she kind drops in and out of the movie a bit, and there’s the humour of Dora Milaje IDGAFness.

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