“Black Panther,” Marvel’s final film to be released before the highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War,” is out, and it’s awesome.
The film follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the young Wakandan prince who was introduced in the 2016 film “Captain America: Civil War,” as he returns home to his technologically advanced African country to take his late father’s place as king. However, he is faced by Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who disagrees with Wakanda’s tradition of hiding their technology from the world and is willing to go to drastic lengths to change it.
This is a very different Marvel film. It still has the incredible action sequences and light-hearted humor that the Marvel movies are famous for, but it takes place in a totally different environment, and the change of scenery is refreshing. The world of Wakanda feels very well fleshed out, from the technology to the customs to the characters. It’s quite obvious that a lot of thought went into building this culture, and it pays off.
The characters are some of Marvel’s best. Brilliant writing merges with talented acting to produce characters that just feel so real. Marvel has been criticized in the past for always having very one-dimensional villains. That cannot be said about “Black Panther.” Everything about Killmonger– his backstory, his motives, the way Jordan crafts his laidback but unstable personality– makes him feel like an actual character, not just a villain. He helps to keep the line between what’s right and what’s wrong very blurry. Killmonger wants to fix legitimate problems in the world; it’s the means by which he wants to go about fixing them that makes him the bad guy. And the other characters in the film are just as dimensional. My personal favorite was T’Challa’s snarky little sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), a genius who designs all of his weapons and armor. She helped add a lot of comedic elements without making it feel forced.
However, this movie did have a few problems, at least to me. I found myself getting bored in the first half of the film. While there are a couple of really entertaining action sequences, a majority of the first part was spent in conversation, explaining backstories and building up the culture of the Wakanda people. And it was well done conversation, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look at my watch a few times during this half. Now, this might have just been me– I saw the movie with my brother, and he said he never got bored once. Personally, I could’ve done with a little more action. But it was fine as it was, and the intensity of the second half made up for any shortcomings that the first had.
I had very few expectations coming into this movie. Unlike other recent Marvel films such as “Thor: Ragnarok” or “Spiderman: Homecoming,” I knew very little about the characters, and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how much I found myself enjoying it. I would definitely recommend it, and I hope that, if you go to see it, the power doesn’t go out in your theater in the middle of the climax like it did for me.