My spoiler-free Black Panther movie review

Wakanda, forever! Happy Black Panther Day, everyone.

To celebrate the release of this groundbreaking new superhero film – the first solo comic book adaptation to centre on an African hero and his world – here you can find my spoiler-free review. Huge thanks to Tracy and Potato the cat for joining in the discussion.


Because I know not everybody has the time to sit and watch a 20-minute clip, below the video you can find our thoughts in summary form – which we used to guide our discussion in the video. The notes should give you the gist of our feelings about the movie.


“Tell me something. What do you know about Wakanda?”

Introduction:
No spoilers in this video. It's also not our place to discuss race and how the movie truly delves into African / black experience.

Synopsis: 
Straight after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to claim the throne and take over as king of the hidden African nation of Wakanda. Thrust into the limelight of taking over leading his people, T’Challa tries to follow in his father T’Chaka’s (John Kani) footsteps. As the film goes on, and T’Challa is trying to balance being a leader while being confronted with differing ideologies, especially those brought in by Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), aided and abetted by Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who has his own ideas about how Wakanda should be run.

Overall impression:
Black Panther is this year’s Wonder Woman. An IMPORTANT movie for capturing different experiences.

It's the 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, but it feels DIFFERENT. Not a hero coming to terms with powers. T'Challa is trained and ready, but the question is what to really do with his powers to make a lasting difference to the world?

What did you like?
  • How Black Panther busts preconceptions about Africa and Africans – how tradition is treated as strength, the communal decision-making and the acknowledged integral role of women in society.
  • It’s an eye-opening insight into a culture completely different from our own.
  • The production design: how it samples from across the  African continent. Examples: clay mosque in Mali, blankets of Lesotho, Masai look of Dora Milaje.
  • Wonderful characters: It may be a comic book movie, with black in the title, but the film shows a real grasp of shades of grey. You agree with villains at times even.
  • SO MANY AWESOME FEMALE CHARS! Danai Gurira as Okoye, duty-driven Dora Milaje general. Scene-stealing Shuri (Leticia Wright), teenage tech genius, who says the most audacious things.
  • Andy Serkis as Klaw. For South Africans he's so much fun. Legit accent plus. Paul Kruger beard.
  • The film's sense of humour and heart, which even applies to menacing characters like M'Baku (Winstone Duke)
  • Black Panther has a lot to say and not afraid to say it. Ballsy. Scene at the UN which throws complete shade at Trump. Props to the filmmakers and Marvel-Disney for letting that happen.

Drawbacks?
  • Obvious CGI and green screen at times.
  • Some action scenes are hard to follow, whether because of editing or close-up framing.
  • Inconsistent accents (worst is Forrest Whitaker).
  • Daddy issues – debatable whether the trope's inclusion is problematic or not though.


Overall rating
8.5 / 9 out of 10.

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