I was worried, walking into the cinema before my showing of Black Panther at Vue Plymouth. Worried that this film had been hyped up so much by the general public, and by some reviewers, that it wasn’t going to live up to those expectations. But it did…mostly…
So, if you don’t know, Black Panther is the first Marvel film of the year, and Marvel Studios first attempt at a film where the lead is a person of colour. And its a great success, i really did have a lot of fun with this movie. But just because it preaches equality, doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
So I’ll start with the pros…
First of all, the cast is amazing. Not only does Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther/T’Challa himself) give a cool and collected performance but Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger) and Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaw) give incredible performances as the films two bad guys. Andy Serkis especially gives such an underrated performance in this movie that I’m really surprised more people aren’t talking about him. Martin Freeman, reprising his role as Everett Ross from Civil War, is also a solid addition to the background cast that includes Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia) and Letitia Wright (Shuri).
The action sequences, as well, are pretty entertaining and really up the tempo of the movie whenever they take place. One set-piece in particular is the hand-to-hand fight between T’Challa and Killmonger that sets up the 3rd act of the movie. The fighting in this film feels grounded and gritty, something you don’t normally get with a hero that wears a metal suit for the majority of the movie (looking at you Iron Man).
A final pro is the world building. Yes, this film is the first solo outing for Black Panther but it is also the very first appearance for Wakanda in the MCU. After being hinted at in Iron Man 2 and Age of Ultron, we finally see the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda in all of its glory. This city and its people really adds some more depth and creativity for the MCU and it opens up a lot of possibilities for the future of this universe, something hinted at in the first of the two end credit stings.
But, as for all movies, there are some cons…
The first and major con for me is the final act (potential spoilers but only minor in this paragraph). This final act is just the same as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America: The First Avengers, the hero just fights an evil version of themselves. I feel this is something most critics and fans are ignoring because of the cultural significance of this film. I don’t mind that because I’m not really against that kind of third act, because in a superhero film (and the comics) that is basically what the villain is supposed to be, but it could be a deal breaker for some people and that’s why I’ve decided to add it here.
Now my other con for this film is some of the CGI. There are a couple of times (especially during the final fight) where the humans look a bit too CGI when they’re flying around and fighting…think the Spider-Man/Venom fight in Spider-Man 3, yeah, not very good. That and there is a scene towards the start where T’Challa looks up the mountain to see thousands of people stood looking at him, except, they seem to be a bit copy-and-paste, which looks very cheap and a tad bit disappointing. But other than that the CGI is really good, especially the big sweeping shots of the city and the Wakandan Ships.
So, overall, Black Panther is another solid entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for me it ranks up there with Civil War, The Winter Soldier and Avengers Assemble. Very much worth a watch, and it is very entertaining. Go see it.
Black Panther: 4/5