RELEASED: FEBRUARY 16, 2018, Director – Ryan Coogler
REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U, International Rep for Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition
DISCLAIMER: This review is written from the perspective of a casual fan, and not necessarily that of a Marvel Comic fanatic.
The craze began mid-summer of 2017…after the success of the Netflix hit ‘Luke Cage’ which had hip hop and Marvel fans in a frenzy, it was time for director – Ryan Coogler to pull the trigger and announce Black Panther… not only was it the first superhero movie of its kind (Black director, Black writers, predominately black cast, with the lead role also played by a black person) but it is also a vital piece to the puzzle which coincides with the story to the 2018 blockbuster – The Avengers: Infinity War. The hype leading to this movie has been incredible, to the point where a superhero film has crossed mainstream borders the magnitude of the first Spiderman movie which starred Tobey Maguire back in 2002. I can tell you that I never saw the trailers, yet I got hype. How does that even work? Maybe it was word of mouth, maybe it was the talk of black people dressing up in their Sunday best which was unheard of. It had me contemplating whether to draw for the Infamous Purple Suit… I walked into Cineworld Wolverhampton expecting a total takeover by black people carrying the dutch-pot with fried fish, dumpling, hardo bread, plantain, Guinness punch, bun & cheese, all that good stuff, but instead what I saw was a glorious mixture of my fellow brothers and sisters, with the Marvel Comic fans, with even older people 50+ years old attending this movie. The moment that got me hype however was this video…
Special shout out to Kendrick Lamar who provided the soundtrack to this movie. The lead single ‘All the Stars’ featuring fellow label-mate SZA captured the true essence and vibe, something not seen in a superhero movie since arguably Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’ for Batman Forever. If this feel good track does not get you hype for the film, you’re reading the wrong review.
Black Panther is a story of how the perception of the African nation Wakanda is viewed by the whole world as a third world country, but they couldn’t be further from the truth as Wakanda is the most technology advanced place in the world, with its main source coming from a metal called ‘Vibranium’, which powers all their transport and equipment, and best of all – can heal their people. Well that eliminates the legalisation of cannabis, doesn’t it?
The back story dates back to 1992, when the brother of the King of Wakanda was accused of betraying them and steals a piece of that metal. They send a spy after him to help track him down, and when the King finally caught up with him in Oakland California, he kills his brother after he shows resistance, not realising that his son – a young Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens a.k.a. N’Jadaka (played by Michael B Jordan) witnesses what happened from the distance.
Fast forward to present day, and The King of Wakanda has passed away, and passes his throne down to his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), along with the power of the Black Panther.
Killmonger learns of his family history and then devises a plan to overthrow T’Challa. Not just that, but also to use the Vibranium to wage war against the world as revenge for what happened to his people centuries ago.
Let’s take a moment to compliment the movie with its wardrobe outfit designs. they are nothing short of exquisite. I couldn’t help but hear chuckles from some of the younger audiences when they saw what looked like discs embedded in some of the mouths of the tribesmen. As mentioned earlier with regards to Kendrick Lamar, the music treatment really matched those action sequences.
Some of these scenes are straight up epic, such as the ritual combats T’Challa had to engage in to become King or defend his throne against Killmonger. In the former battle, T’Challa was on the brink of defeat when he sees his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) cry out to him which prompts him to hail himself “I AM T’CHALLA! SON OF T’CHAKA!” in a similar war cry fashion to Apocalypto when Jaguar Paw declares himself as king of the jungle before making an epic comeback.
Kudos to the film’s sub-villain Ulysess Klaue (Andy Serkis) who has some great one-liners like telling his enemies to ‘check his music on soundcloud’, or the bodyguards led by Okoye (Danai Gurira) who shows no fear in battles, they are sure to inspire the youth of today just as T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letita Wright) who makes the weapons and what not, or even Killmonger himself, who despite his villainous antics, his heart is in the right place at times because when the film cuts to a scene in London UK you know something is going down when he visits the British museum and puts them on blast about English ancestors robbing Africa for their riches which resulted in gasps heard within the cinema. Yes people Marvel Comics are teaching their fans. And of course, Stan Lee just had to find himself in the film… and rightfully so.
Photo art courtesy of Mike Knoxxx of BDSIR NETWORK/SoulNSports
That is a fantastic line by Killmonger in his dying moments in the film’s climax, just as the final scene where the kids in LA are fascinated by T’Challa’s aircraft while one kid takes a step back and notices T’Challa simply standing there. the kid approaches him and asks him if the craft belongs to him. Very powerful moment to close the film.
Without watching any trailers and not knowing what to expect, this is such a great film and worth all the hype which you couldn’t even tell that it was meant to be a connection to Avengers: Infinity War to the casual viewer. If there were any minors about the feature, it might be some of the CGI effects which looked dated in places, maybe it’s budget cuts saved for the infinity war but the casual viewer is already so engaged and invested in the action that it’s not even a factor. It’s a real shame about Killmonger going forward, he could have made a great ally in future installments but again, steering away from the comic book adaptation may annoy purists. A personal gripe of mine which is not even to do with the film itself, but people going in and out of the cinema, words from the wise – use the bathroom facilities before you leave!
People are going to the cinema to watch this movie, and leave either wanting to be an engineer or some kind of skilled warrior, or wanting their own necklace hoping it will give them super powers. With box office records already broken, Let’s be real – a sequel is inevitable… you best plan out your next outfit from now…