Black Panther (2018)
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Written by: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Rating: R Running Time: 2 hr 14 min.
My 2 Cents:
On this trip to the movies I was joined by my brother Andrew, and his girlfriend, Negin.
The secretive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda examines its place in the world. Its new king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) must take on all challengers to his throne, and learn some hard truths about his father.
Black Panther is a very good film. Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I found it to be more entertaining than the last two Iron Man movies, and the first two Thor outings. It’s a solid flick from beginning to end, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of Captain America: Civil War, or the first Avengers film. It’s not something I need to add to my film collection at home, but I’ll probably watch it again when it’s available to stream.
The film’s greatest strength, highlights its one main weakness. The supporting players in Black Panther are all really interesting characters, which unfortunately makes the titular hero a little forgettable. T’Challa’s little sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his General, Okoye (Danai Gurira) and ex-girlfriend and spy, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), are just a small sample of a large group of supporting roles that steal every scene they’re in. They get the best dialogue and they’re just as credible and fun to watch on the action front as the big bulletproof cat.
This focus on the very nicely realized world of Wakanda and its people, may have been all part of the plan. But it comes at the cost of establishing the Black Panther as a truly formidable component in the MCU. When the movie finally gets around to the inevitable confrontation with the story’s villain, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan in a great performance) I found myself more entertained by what everyone else was doing.
Any other quibbles I have with this film are minor. There are one or two poorly composed green-screen shots, and some slightly less than grade-A CGI elements during the third act. The script is good, but occasionally gets bogged down with awkward exposition designed to explain how things work later in the film. Beyond all that, Black Panther delivers where it should. The finale is exciting, the characters are fun to spend time with, and the stakes feel real in a world worth caring about.