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Black Panther Non-Spoiler Review

For a spoiler review, listen to the Marvel TV podcast, where we discuss the movie in two parts!  For anyone seeing their first MCU movie, please note there are two after credit scenes!

Thursday night I saw a packed theater.  I’m glad I got there early enough to find a seat.  Nervous excited energy ran through me as I waited for this movie to begin.  I enjoyed the trailers but I was getting inpatient. I have waited for years darn it, just start it already!  Then it happened.

I got transported to a country where a new king had to make complex decisions that not only affected his countrymen but could affect the world. I saw the potential of an African nation untouched by colonization.   Most importantly, the main characters featured looked like me.  We were not just supporting characters.  Someone else was not coming to save us.  We had to save ourselves and come out better for it.

Multiple Themes

Moving towards a better future and whether Wakanda should remain in isolation were just a few themes explored in Black Panther. Some of the themes were so profound that it was just scratching the surface.  One that resonated with me was the importance of being better than the mistakes of both yourself and others close to you. I feel like some of the consequences in this movie will still be felt in later Black Panther sequels.

There were plenty of emotions that went through me as the movie progressed into a hopeful conclusion.  A few times I wish I brought tissues. There was one line that had me bust into tears. Other scenes had me chuckling.  Despite predictability, the flick still made an impact.

Characters/Actors

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The chemistry between ALL the characters was on point.  The casting director hit a goldmine with the actors. Chadwick Boseman had charisma as the newly crowned king of TChalla.  I knew he would kill it after seeing him in Captain America: Civil War.  He also showed vulnerability that helped emphasize the fact that he lost a parent and now he has the weight of a country on his shoulders.

One actor that stood out to me, because it was so unexpected, was Winston Duke who plays M’Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe.  The reason I chuckled a lot in this movie was because of him!  It helps that he is a tall drink of water! Oh my!

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There were so many standout moments for characters, but I think Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, had the most awesome moments, especially as she was fighting and the interactions she had with King T’Challa (Boseman) and border tribe leader W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya).

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I loved the sisterhood in this movie! The women were just as important as the men, from leaders in the council room, to the Dora Milaje being the chosen guard of the King. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), a spy for Wakanda, had significant importance and wasn’t just a love interest for T’Challa.  Shuri (Letitia Wright) was intelligent but also had an innocence with the cute sibling moments with her brother, the king.

Michael B Jordan was phenomenal as Erik Killmonger.  He made me sympathetic to his character.  I knew since Ryan Coogler and Jordan have worked on other films together, that this time the villain would have depth. Loki just became 2nd in my book for best villain in the MCU.

Angela Bassett and Forrest Whitaker as Queen mother Ramonda and priest Zuri were excellent as always. Sterling K Brown, while his role was small, was still important and he made me tear up. I should have known though as he plays Randall on This is Us, a show that’s a tearjerker every episode!

I need to make an effort to read the comics to get to know these characters even more.  Reading the first volume of Christopher Priest’s collection of Black Panther isn’t enough.  I wouldn’t mind a movie about each of these characters.

Behind the Scenes  

Ruth Carter did the damn thing as the costume designer! The colors were so vibrant!  I want to do more research now of the different tribes represented.  I loved how even when Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) were out of Wakanda they wore something that had either their tribal colors or jewelry. Just straight up represent!

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Director Ryan Coogler, who also helped write the Black Panther script, made this movie with such detail.  If you have seen the Vanity Fair video where he breaks down the club fight scene, then you can appreciate the attention paid to making this blockbuster.  I’m glad Disney and Marvel decided to have Coogler create the story he wanted to tell versus dipping their toes in it to the point where it lost its voice.

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The entire behind the scenes crew, from the stunt men and women, to the makeup person,  did a great job! I felt the love to make this movie great. Hannah Beachler, the production designer, the art department, digital and special effects outdid themselves creating the world of Wakanda.  I thought the technology like the ships and weaponry flowed seamlessly with the real world.  I loved the mix of old and new with the architecture of the buildings in the Wakandan city.  Nitpick moment, the fight scenes in the panther suits could be a smidge more realistic.

The original score by Ludwig Göransson is WAY better than the movie soundtrack.  The mix of African tribal sounds with a slight hint of hip-hop was a great way to emphasize what was happening plotwise.  I only liked songs from the soundtrack that were played during the movie.

Action scenes

There was a predictable flow to the action choreography, but there was a nice mix of fighting styles.  It wasn’t stale by any means.  The first fight scene was meh because it was shot mostly in the dark.  Flashbacks of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ *shudder* make me leery of dark fight scenes just because it makes it seem lazy in regards to any CGI used or fight choreo period. The scene still had relevance because of Nakia’s mission so it wasn’t a total loss.  Plus it was a great way to reintroduce T’Challa as Black Panther.

I think my fave action sequence was the car chase scene.  It reminded me of Fast and the Furious movies, which are a guilty pleasure of mine.  The tribal battles were also cool, especially with the score in the background, you felt transported to a past that could’ve been.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to immediately get tickets for the next showing after I saw the film for the first time.  After seeing it three times so far I’m still peeling the layers of this movie back. Black Panther is a worthy film added to the Marvel cinematic universe.  One thing that I hope gets some love are characters from the LGBTQIA community if there is a sequel.

Someone from this movie better win an Academy award, Golden Globe, something.  Can we continue wining from playing positive characters please? People who don’t normally watch comic book movies, or sci-fantasy should see Black Panther.  How often are you going to see this genre feature a mostly black cast?  Relationship, comedy, and historical films shouldn’t be the only films that feature us.

This movie shows that us “nerds” can make a deep movie but can also be fun!  There are plenty of black comic writers who I see at conventions where their material could also be a good movie or even a TV show.  Hopefully this starts a trend that will be felt for a long time.

Wakanda Forever!

What did you think of the movie? Sound off in the comments below! Try to keep it spoiler free! I know I want to greet folk this way!

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About Natty Willy

Went to the library and Natty fell in love with all things fiction. Natty grew up watching all kinds of movies ranging from Star Wars, "The Chinese Connection", all things Disney, musicals like "The Music Man" to comedy action films featuring Whoopi Goldberg. Lover of old school cartoons like X-Men, TaleSpin, and DuckTales. Grew up on shows like Family Matters, Full House, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Have eclectic musical tastes. Lover of books, appreciation of all things geeky.
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