Black Panther (2018)
134 Mins

**Not Plot Spoilery, but references to visuals**

I’ve had people ask me all day what I thought of this movie.

There is going to be a lot in here that might read as I am being super critical. I really hope the words I chose highlight my honest curiosity more than any criticism or “*splaining”.

The story of T’Challa and his ascension into this kingdom is pivitol and essential for the heart of this story, but I kept being shown other characters and places that drew my attention from it. From the Wakanda reveal to the brief moments in the Ancestral Place, everything mundane or milquetoast about the movie became forgettable. All I really wanted at that point was to know more about the Land and its People and how something that ideal and utopic could remain hidden like it was supposed to.

I was also lost about how certain characters even knew about Wakanda’s existence. However that discovery happened didn’t quite take for me. I feel it may have just been explained in exposition, but other visual details and plot complexity simply demoted its importance during my intake.

Everyone else in T’Challa’s clan could have used about 5 more minutes of screen time. I know that would have made an epic-ally long movie, but I just came away at the end wanting to know more about them. I want to know more about T’Challa and Nakia’s history together. I want to know why his little sister Shuri is as brilliant as she is. I want to know more about how Wakanda could have had as much tech as it did at different periods of Time. Its as if what Black Panther we got out of Civil War was enough and we didn’t need much more. Except, I do need to know what T’Challa has against cars. Never drive them, only clutch on to the top and destroy them.

The dramatic principle of Chekov’s Gun gets a healthy use. Everything you see is important and comes back to pay off later. But, because of that, it’s hard to feel like I’ve gone anywhere. There are a couple set pieces that are a nice variation on the theme, particularly M’Baku’s Throne Room and the whole Mountain Clan design. And speaking of visuals and design, that is the real winning character here. EVERYTHING Wakandan is interesting and at least speaks of its own story.

Fight scenes: many. Plenty to be enjoyed. Although, given the reason for some of the fighting, watching it made me sad. Like, I don’t want to see these people having to fight over this stupid reason. They are too beautiful and interesting to be in conflict. At the end of those scenes I hoped fictional punches were being pulled, but I also highly doubted it.

Black Panther is going to be a film that gets added to my library. I REALLY hope things are singled out and pointed at with “Did you notice?” comments because I’m going to enjoy reading up on those and having more discovery than the 2+ hours allowed.

I can’t sum up without talking about the villain for a moment. Performance wise, Michael B Jordan’s Killmonger is aces. I just don’t know if I empathized enough with his motivation. In order to get where he is in the story he has to rack up so many achievements that anyone else could have just made a decent, honorable life from it. Which means something in the story was missing for me to accept the strides he takes. He gets one exposition moment to sell me his story and I think it may have come too late in the runtime. Somehow, if it had come a few scenes earlier I feel like I would have understood better what he feels he has to do.

I could get more granular about each performance, but then you might as well just go see it. I find nothing really problematic about the production other than I could have used a Wakanda Primer so that I could better focus on the Main Story. I will be seeing this again for that reason alone.

As I reminder, here is my Movie rating Chart:

Found Wanting
Not Good
Not Great
It’s Alright
Uh . . .whoa.
WTF How is that possible?
No words.

Marvels’s Black Panther is Wow for Visuals and Interesting Ideas, Good for Story, which averages out to a Great Rating. See it in the Theater for the full experience!

And as always, stay all the way through the credit roll. Two stingers, one mid-roll and another at the very end before the fade out.
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Updated: February 16, 2018 at 04:11PM