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Battle of the Reviews: Black Panther


A Marvel film different from the rest, it’s what we all hope for when we sit down in the theater and watch the lights dim. We all hope to be transported to the Marvel Universe thrown right into the middle of the fast paced ever changing world of superheroes, drama and villainy. I’ll admit readers its been a while since I have written a movie review especially one as highly anticipated as this. Let’s all admit, Black Panther has been on everyones must see list since we first met T’Challa the newly crowned King of Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War. So it should be no surprise to any of you that Marvel again knocks it out of the park.

It would be dumb of me to not mention that this film is centered around African culture, and the struggle of all people of African descent, globally. Most prevalent is the internal conflict that T’Challa and his colleagues face as they attempt to decide between actions that keep within their traditions and those that invite potential hazards to their way of life, permanently.

I’d like to expand on how important I believe this film will be to the black community but I also don’t want to sound like some know it all white woman who thinks she knows what the black community needs. If I’m honest I hope this film is a huge success and that little black girls and little black boys all over the world finally get to see a super hero that looks like them who is successful, strong, smart and talented. I want more than anything for people to see this film and maybe recognize and realize how impactful it is to see a character that looks like you on the screen. I know that’s how I felt when I saw Wonder Woman last year and I hope that as the Marvel universe continues to grow and expand that it further develops and raises to a higher standard how we all see our heroes.

What is by far the most successful aspect of Black Panther is not just the characters themselves which have depth and internal struggles visible on screen but also the character that is the country of Wakanda. The most amazing cinematic endeavor I think that most Marvel films have struggled with in the past has always been the development of an environmental character. What I mean by this is how severely lacking Marvel has been in developing anything outside of the characters and super heroes themselves, for instance can anyone tell me anything defining about Asgard? Can you tell me any characteristics of the temples from Doctor Strange? Don’t get me wrong comic fans, I’m sure you guys can because you’ve read the comic books you know these areas you know how these locations look and their little idiosyncrasies  but for those of us who have only seen this world through film the environments are severely lacking in characterization. Not Wakanda: the land, the people, the clothing, even the tech is all a character of their own.

From the very first moment you lay eyes on Wakanda from the sky-scrapers to the city streets mixed with the underground caves and train-stations throughout the country it is mesmerizing. There is so much detail in the country itself that it can feel almost overwhelming. What I found also fascinating was the clothing of every character which was seemingly designed for each person with colors and accents hand picked for each of them. This movie is beautiful, let me just leave it there.

Now when it comes to the story itself, unfortunately it is a pretty run of the mill Marvel intro film, you see the character exist at the highest point of their capacity then it pretty much follows the regular formula. Black Panther excels at remaining a single film on its own without necessarily having to tie into the rest of Marvels universe. This is a nice change of pace considering the puzzle piece type film that Marvel has relied on in the past.  I have not even seen Thor: Ragnarok mainly because I didn’t have the time but mostly because I wasn’t as interested in another piece of the puzzle unlike Black Panther.

You don’t have to look far in the MovieFloss archives to find that I love Chadwick Boseman, I have written reviews on three of his films including this one and I really think he as an actor will be a powerhouse when given the chance to do more. Angela Basset is severely under used in this film as the Queen Mother aka T’Challa and Shuri’s mother who is this fierce queen of Wakanda. However, it is Michael B.Jordan who I felt was phenomenal in his performance even if his character was predictable and albeit purposefully flawed. I also loved Lupita Nyongo because who doesn’t? But my favorite characters are actually played by Letitia Wright (Shuri) and Danai Gurira (Okoye) both of their characters were dynamic and interesting and also had struggles outside of their character that I appreciated seeing.

With everything that I have told you so far, I hope it has convinced you to see this film sooner rather than later. Open your eyes to the beautiful world they have created and savor these characters who are by far the most interesting in the Marvel-verse. Also please don’t be annoying and get up before you see the after credits and after-after-credits scenes you know they are there don’t be one of those people. MovieFloss pro-tip you do NOT need to see this movie in 3D, IMAX maybe but 3D is unnecessary and really just an added feature without being a feature.

Black Panther (2018)
  Director:  Ryan Coogler
Studio:  Marvel Studios
Genre:  Action Adventure
MPAA:  PG-13
Release Date:  February 16th, 2018
Author:  Natasha Paiva
Natasha Paiva Natasha Paiva is a San Diego native born and raised along the shores of Ocean Beach and hills of Point Loma. Natasha is a graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in English Literature, currently she writes in her free time while working full time for a tech company. She hopes to one day see one of her scripts produced into a film, or one of her books published. She also likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.