2018. Directed by Ryan Coogler
With his third film, Ryan Coogler creates not only his most financially profitable film, but also one of the more interesting and engaging MCU films to date. Coogler is a director of evolutionary consistency, coming from his previous success with Creed and Fruitvale Station. In Black Panther, Coogler showcases his ability to take on mega blockbusters while maintaining an exceptional talent that yields stories that both take the box office by storm and explore the human condition.
Although it has been over a week and since I viewed the film, Black Panther is still weighing in heavy at the box office and receiving high praise. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I wasn’t madly in love with it. While its importance, with respect to representation and agency cannot be denied, there were several flaws that I could not look past.
The film takes place in the fictional land of Wakanda; a sacred, peaceful, and spiritual realm hidden away from the rest of the world on the continent of Africa. It is a place of cultural tradition and spiritual practice. The Wakandans use what is known as vibranium to develop advanced technology. Actor Chadwick Boseman is in the role of Black Panther, and is made the leader of Wakanda after a test of power amongst his people.
When a Wakandan artifact is stolen, T’challa (Boseman) discovers that an arms dealer played by Andy Serkis is working alongside a mysterious outsider (Michael B. Jordan) in a plot to take over the throne.
The film does good on its representation of not only people of color, but of women as well; making them strong and independent while also including them directly in the story. However, I found the CGI work to be clunky and some of the action sequences to be generic. Also there are some issues with the films pacing where some scenes feel dragged out, and also the humor feels forced and dry at times. The music; which is a combination of hymns and RnB, is unique and adds to the atmosphere of the overall structure. The cinematography for the most part is stellar but there are moments when it feels average.
Despite the subversive tonal shift amongst previous MCU films, Black Panther rises to the ranks of being one of the more engaging and overall entertaining superhero films despite its minor flaws/ It is also without a doubt a triumphant landmark in the history of cinema that represents a change we are in desperate need of.