Has the comic book superhero film fatigue finally started to set in? Is it on its way out like zombies? Before Walking Dead killed it and World War Z pushed it into the mainstream, I loved zombies. I might have seen just about every single shitty zombie film I could get my hands on back in the day. And trust me, there are way more shitty zombie films out there than there are good ones. I never would have thought that I’d get sick of zombies. Never. But it happened, I can’t stand zombie movies anymore. I scoff each time I see a trailer for a new one. I want to say I will never be that way with superhero movies, but you never know. You’d think DC might be the brand to kill it for me, but it actually might be Marvel. Oversaturation is not a good thing, no matter how good the product is you keep making, eventually you’re just going to get sick of it.
And I really enjoy the Marvel cinematic universe. It’s a great ploy to make it almost necessary to see every film because they are all connected. But for some reason I wasn’t as excited for Black Panther as I was with other Marvel movies. And seeing as the last Marvel film was Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther had some pretty big shoes to fill.
Now that I think about it, Black Panther really should have been the film to come out after Civil War. The timeline seems off to me. Plus it kind of makes every other film seem like a detour. Though isn’t Ragnarok a direct sequel to Age of Ultron? And that was how many movies ago? Shit just seems out of order to me.
The trailers for Black Panther never did anything for me either, so I guess you can say the hype never reached me. And I think it might have to do with the fact up until Civil War, I had never heard of Black Panther. That film left me with more questions than I had answers to. Like, what’s the deal with his suit? Does he have super powers or was that just his suit again? What about Wakanda? How does being the king of a nation no one has ever visited get you a spot at the UN? At least Jim Jones let people into Jonestown. Granted he did kill everyone afterwards, but still.
If you’re such an isolationist, why make public that you’re royalty to Wakanda, a nation no one outside of it even knows exists?
Thankfully, most of my questions got answered. But even after that, my problem came down to Black Panther himself. I found him so boring compared to other superheroes. He’s way too serious to be the lead in a Marvel film. He’s basically Batman. Hell, his suit looks just like the Batman Beyond suit from the animated series. He feels out of place with all the other big leaguers, at least personality wise.
Which brings me to the humor in this. It’s bad. It felt like it was geared more towards younger kids. I kept getting Star Wars prequel vibes from this film. Like on one hand there’s this serious political topic but mixed in was this really bad jokey kid humor. I find this surprising since I read Donald Glover wrote most of the jokes.
It may not seem like it now, but I did enjoy this film, I just found it kind of mediocre. It’s fine, not great or this revolutionary thing that will live on for years and taught to the masses like some have feverously claimed. Hell, like every Marvel film it will be forgotten in a week. By the time this review even comes out I’m sure people have already moved on to the next thing to be excited for.
Black Panther I think also kind of starts off sort of weak. It’s a flashback sequence that sets up the plot to the film, sure, but maybe don’t start your film off with it. Technically it doesn’t start off with the flashback, but with a quick voice over telling us how this secret nation came to be. That I agree is very much needed, as it answers several of my questions.
This is a solo film, but not an origin story, so the problem here is it deals with a lot of the events that happened in Civil War. And to know what is going on in Civil War, you have to watch Age of Ultron and then Winter Soldier… the list goes on backwards from there. And like I mentioned, out of order.
What this film needed was maybe a small part that recaps the events of the UN bombing that killed Black Panther’s father. Like the events leading up to it, maybe with them in the car about to reach the summit, have them talk about Black Panther becoming king one day or what this film is about, making Wakanda less of a secret to the rest of the world. Though thinking about it, starting your film off with that might be just as boring. But at least it sets things up better.
Then give us the quick recap about why this small part of Africa is now secretly the most high-tech nation on earth. Which also has conflicting problems with it as well. They’re so advanced yet they remain culturally so primitive. It really conflicts with their whole “we are better than you” mentality they all have.
I mean, one guy still has the lip plate thing. I was surprised I didn’t see any long neck hoop girls or my personal favorite attire, the penis gourds. Where are all the penis gourds, damn it?! Now that I think about it, the long neck thing might be Asian while the penis gourds are most likely not African either.
But my point remains the same! The nation of Wakanda is this advanced society, yet they hang on to their old outdated traditions. The two greatly clash with each other. Like lip plate guy. Though maybe he was the oddball out, seeing as no one else had one. Gary has been talking about it for weeks, but he finally got that sick ass lip gauge. Maybe he was just their version of a hipster.
I guess we should talk about Black Panther. Actually, that segues into another issue I had with the film. It’s really silly, you guys. Not funny silly, but dumb silly, this is also completely unrelated to the humor.
The fact they all still use spears, that’s silly, right? Or they pilot their ships using African beads, that’s silly too, yeah? Or the hilarious looking arm blasters Black Panther’s sister uses… That was chuckle worthy, at least it was for me. And how can I not forget the most hilarious thing of all, the armor plated battle rhinos that show up. Or the warriors that use their African garb as a shield. I mean, they pop out this actual force field shield from their robes. It looks silly. It all looks pretty silly.
And if they are so advanced, why are they still deciding who rules them by fighting to the death? That’s sounds pretty tribal to me, not something a city with flying cars would do. So silly.
While we are on silly, let’s talk about Black Panther’s powers. So the advanced city thing I kind of get. A meteor fell to earth full of vibranium. Not only is it the hardest metal in the universe but also it has magic properties as well? Apparently, if you eat the flowers that grow from vibranium you get superpowers, granted to you by some magical tiger. And you lost me, movie.
But also, you travel to the afterlife and visit with the other Black Panthers in history. What a raw deal that must be, forever stuck with these other dudes, out in the middle of the desert. If it’s real or a hallucination, the film isn’t clear.
Another problem I had with the film is how thin the plot is. There’s not a whole lot going on. Which might be why the trailers for this film don’t really show you that much. Hey, remember that guy we briefly met in Age of Ultron? You know, the guy that got Ultron his vibranium? You remember, the one who lost an arm? Anyway, he’s back here as our main villain… briefly before he’s quickly killed off.
I’m on the border here in saying that this film is slightly boring. I got more interested with the action happened, but that was very far and few between. I don’t really care all that much about Wakanda, so its fate never really mattered all that much. Plus, I don’t think anything would happen to Wakanda directly, more like the rest of the world would have to worry about Wakanda.
Another thing I wasn’t sure about, so the plot is Black Panther’s father, who is essentially his son’s clone, kills his brother because he wanted to take Wakanda’s vibranium and make weapons out of it. But as he was out on his rumspringa or whatever reason it was he was in the US, he had a son with an American woman.
Now that kid is all grown up and is looking to pick up where he murdered father left off. So he challenges Black Panther to the throne, winning and course correcting their stance on helping the world. Though I guess his goal is more like conquering the rest of the world. Black Panther eventually returns to stop them, blowing up the drones carrying I guess weapons. But all their weapons are spears. Is that what’s on the planes, just spears?
Here, take our spears to conquer the world.
Or, maybe the ships where carrying payloads of vibranium and the goal is to take it to people that know how to make nonspears out of them.
Slightly confusing. What was more confusing was telling some characters apart. Killmonger, aka the evil Black Panther slits the throat of someone but I wasn’t and am still not sure of who. It was one of the bald lady guards who are deliberately made to all look the same. From what I can remember there was only one that was ever presented as a character. Unless it was multiple characters and I only thought it was one. I thought it was like the lead bodyguard lady but she later shows up to stop the fighting. So really, I have no clue who died. Did we know her? Did she have lines? Who died?!
Black Panther’s powers… what are they exactly? Is it strength? If so, what exactly does the suit do? I guess he can run really fast, but again, couldn’t that just be the suit? You never see him use any of his so-called powers without the suit and the only time he ever fights without it is during his getting crowned king ceremony. So… what exactly are his powers?
Another complaint I have is Black Panther’s friend. He’s his best friend, yet instantly seems to turn evil. Black Panther failed to capture Andy Serkis’ character and now he instantly betrays him for Killmonger. Who by the way is the reason why Andy Serkis got away to begin with. It seemed like manufactured conflict.
I know it’s not just me since I’ve seen this brought up in several other reviews but the CGI in this looked really bad. Like they cut corners or didn’t know how to shoot some things… it felt cheap. I’m not the biggest fan of the director, Ryan Coogler. Before this he’s only ever done two movies. I liked Creed but found Fruitvale Station slightly unwatchable. It suffers the same problem Clint Eastwood ran into when he wanted to make a film about an incident that happens less than 5 minutes. A whole lot of nothing until that incident actually happens.
Oh, one last silly bad I forgot to mention. Forest Whitaker. His performance is hilarious, but not in a purposeful way. He is meant to be playing kind of the Obi-Wan Kenobi type of character to Black Panther. But he’s really hamming it up. Especially when he dies, it’s hilarious.
That about sums up everything I wanted to say. Even if it’s not very good, it’s still a Marvel film so it’s still at least passible. If I had to rank it, it’s about up there with Ant-Man. As for black superheroes, it’s better than The Meteor Man. Maybe not as good as Blankman but way better than Black Lightning. But, not nearly as good as Luke Cage on Netflix. Should I even bother ranking it next to Steel?
I know I took a shit on this film, but I still think it is worth seeing, so it gets a SEE IT rating. But it’s kind of a weak see it. If you don’t want to deal with the sold out crowds, maybe just wait until the hype dies down, which won’t be long.
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