Let me start off by saying this: I liked the movie. There. So everyone that hate-clicked because of the title to come drop some insults why I’m wrong can shut the hell up. It was a good movie. I left the movie thoroughly entertained and not regretting a minute of it. However…..Black Panther was not as good I expected, or as much as I hoped. Keep in mind that this is all SUBJECTIVE.
I realize full well I might be opening a can of worms for even deigning to criticize this movie. The critics can’t keep their mouths shut for more than a second without regurgitating praise for it, and every review you see will wax poetic about how IMPORTANT this move is. And that’s part of my problem. It IS important…so why did they insist on making it so god damned generic?
To me, Black Panther is indistinguishable from any other superhero movie except for the fact it is set in Africa. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that Marvel took a movie that could have been so much more, and watered it down to mediocrity. What do I mean? Let’s start with the plot.
Or better yet, let’s not, because we’ve heard it 1000 times. I’m completely numb to this kind of origin story. I had hoped they would go a little further in the timeline so they didn’t get bogged down in the banality of a Marvel origin movie, but that’s what they gave us. Don’t get me wrong, seeing it all from a different perspective was a nice touch, but there was nothing surprising here…which brings me to my next point.
There were at least five times during this movie where I quoted parts of the script almost word for word because it was so obvious. Without getting into spoilers, it mostly deals with the big fight scene at the end as well as interaction with Agent Ross. If I’m saying lines of dialogue in my head before they happen on the screen, you’re not trying very hard, and I really don’t think they were.
This next one is probably only noticed by very few people, but is one of my biggest pet peeves: the fight choreography. When it’s bad, it kicks me out of any reverie I might be in during a movie. I know I sound like a pompous ass when I say this: if I can tell people are just training for the scene and not understanding what they’re doing, it annoys me. Yes, they are actors and that is exactly what the vast majority of them do, Yes, it still gets to me. The example that immediately springs to mind is Michael Jai White. (It’s a fucking travesty he wasn’t given a prominent role in this movie. He’s hands down my favorite martial arts movie star and I will never stop singing his praises.) White is a guy that kicks a mother fucker in the face on screen and you can believe he did it because he knows what the hell he’s doing. There was just no impact in most of the action save for a few moments with Michael B. Jordan, who I also thought was underutilized.
And the last thing I’ll mention: director Ryan Coogler is a better director than this formulaic movie within the confines of Marvel allowed him to be. With Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi was able to inject a lot of his own style into it, which made it my favorite superhero movie. Coogler SHOULD have been given the same amount of leeway, but I don’t think he was. If he had, we would have gotten something that would have hit us in the gut and never let us recover.
Okay, I got that out of the way. You still with me, or have you already left your angry comment and scurried away? Because I’m about to go through my list of why it’s still an awesome movie.
Formulaic it may be, but it’s a formula that works. Having more of a pseudo-origin injected with African flair was more than enough to keep me interested, which is not easy.
And while I felt Chadwick Boseman’s performance fell a little flat, the supporting cast made up the difference and then some. Let’s start with Sterling K. Brown. He wasn’t on scene for more than a few minutes total, but dear god the man is enthralling. Then we have Andy Serkis who just straight pisses me off at how god damn good he is at being a bad guy. And Lupita Nyong’o? Just a ball of talent, cute, and heroism I could watch all day. Angela Bassett? Still hot. And I’ve already mentioned Michael B. Jordan, but he certainly shines. His motivations were a little far-fetched, but he’s still amazing. Forest Whitaker? Legend. Letitia Wright was a nice surprise,too. I had never seen her before, and she may have stolen my heart. My only complaint is Winston Duke as M’Baku, but only because I wanted more of him and never really got it. He had more personality than any of the other men, and I was hoping for more screen time.
You want more praise? Cuz I got some. Let’s talk about how fucking awesome Wakanda looks. That mesh of unbelievable technology and African culture was perfect for me. It made their country and culture feel more real, more reverent. It made everything they did have an emotional impact. I didn’t need to wonder about their feelings because you always felt the love they had for the country and its people.
And now I get back to what I said in the first place, and what you may have forgotten with all of my ramblings: I enjoyed this movie. “Kerry, why in the hell did you criticize it so if you enjoyed it so damn much”, you might ask. To you, fictitious person, I say that I only criticize BECAUSE I enjoyed it. If a movie is shit, my review consists of “this movie is shit dont bother”, and I move on because I can’t summon the energy on something I cared nothing for. But if a movie is good, but missed a lot of its potential, I feel the need to get it out there and maybe they can work on a few things for next time. If there is one thing I would shout at them, though, it would be GIVE RYAN COOGLER MORE CREATIVE CONTROL you fucking shits (the last three words would be said under my breath).
Now get out there and go see this movie if you haven’t already. If you have, then sup? Whatcha wanna talk bout now?