Black Panther: The BRWC Review
By Johnathan Bonham.
Well I had to take a break from work today around noon to walk to the theater and pick up my ticket, which is always a good sign that a blockbuster is opening. The 7pm and 10pm shows had already sold out, so I decided to catch a nice late afternoon matinee. And I’ll have to say I’m very relieved with my decision, seeing as the line to get into the theater was around the corner when I left the movie. But let’s cut to the chase, this is movie is good. Very good, as a matter of fact. Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan strike success in their third outing together, with Chadwick Boseman leading the way a s the Black Panther. The movie effects of the fictional world of Wakanda are beautiful and mesmerizing, and the action sequences are top notch. The acting across the board is more than up to par, and man did they
do it right with the music. I honestly don’t have any gripes about the movie, but it also didn’t have me leave the theater in awe. It was kind of how I felt after seeing Thor: Ragnarok. I really enjoyed the third Thor movie and I was certainly laughing my ass off throughout, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
The movie starts in Oakland, CA circa 1992, as King T’Chaka visits his brother who is an undercover spy in the hood. The King has come to confront his brother about some stolen Vibranium that he believes his brother aided in the theft of. He learns that his brother has lost his way and winds up having to kill him. Flash forward to present day in Wakanda, the beautiful and mysterious land within Africa that is unbeknownst to the world. It’s time for Prince T’Challah (Boseman) to take over the throne. In order to do so he has to battle for it against anyone who will oppose him, and for the fight he must relinquish the Black Panther powers. He is challenged by a fellow tribe, but T’Challah is victorious and takes his place as king. Shortly into his rule, a foe of Wakanda pops up on their radar, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, who we all remember from Age of Ultron), the man who was aided by the former King’s brother in stealing the Vibranium many years ago. T’Challah, along with his love interest, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’O), and his general, Okoye (Danai Gurira). They find Klaue at an underground casino in South Korea where he’s looking to make a deal with CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman, who we remember from Civil War). All hell breaks loose in the casino and a shootout/fist fight ensues. Ross and T’Challah capture Klaue and take him to a safehouse to interrogate him. In the midst of the interrogation, Klaue is rescued by Eric Killmonger (Jorda), who also fires a would-be fatal shot into Agent Ross. T’Challah decides to bring Ross back to Wakanda where they can save his life, and we then start to learn more about Killmonger’s hidden agenda.
I’ll stop right there in the interest of spoiling anything. I think one of the best things about the movie is its flow. They keep the pace of the movie moving, mixing in strong dialogue and intense action sequences throughout. There weren’t really any slow or boring parts where the movie slowed, and the 2:15 flew by in my opinion. Coogler succeeds in bringing the expected level of Marvel humor, without overdoing it as I felt that Whedon did in Ultron. He had a great vision for the idea of Wakanda, mixing African roots with the most advanced technology known to man which resulted in an aesthetically appealing backdrop. As I mentioned earlier, the music is awesome. They play a lot of traditional African music in the pan shots of Wakanda, but then they bring some solid rap into the action sequences or
whenever something badass is happening. There were some really solid visuals, one in particular that stood out when Jordan is standing with his back to the camera with the world aflame around him, I thought it looked amazing. I guess the one thing I really wanted from the movie was more of a connection to the other ones. The only cameos were Serkis and Freeman, meanwhile I was anxiously awaiting Bucky Barnes to join the fight the entire time. Having said that, I respect that Coogler wanted the movie to be a true one-off and focus almost entirely on T’Challah.
I have to give a shout out to the women of the movie because they were totally badass. The best was probably T’Challah’s general, Odoye, who was fearless and did NOT mess around with her spear. Also phenomenal wereT’Challah’slove interest andspy, Nakia,andhis sister/headof technology(almost a Q-esque character), Shuri (Letitia Wright). Shuri actually stole a lot of the scenes with her rebellious little sister attitude. T’Challah’s main guard is all female soldiers, similar to Odoye, and they do some se rious ass kicking at the end of the movie. Actually, on the subject of the end fight scene, it was a little much in my opinion. I was ok with everything until they brought out giant, armor clad rhinos. At that point I was kind of thinking “ok, let’s wrap this up.” Having said that, at least they weren’t fighting Frost Giants of evil elves (sorry Thor movies), so I can’t complain too much. Regardless, the girls brought the pain.
The acting was pretty flawless. Boseman shines as the lead, and he feels comfortable doing so. When I saw Den of Thieves recently, Pablo Schreiber seemed to have trouble carrying his side of the movie. This was not at all the case for Boseman. He plays the part of a strong yet conflicted king perfectly, while also being a total badass at the same time. Serkis and Freeman are excellent character actors in the movie, and Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker are solid as well. I really enjoyed Michael B Jordan taking a turn as the heel. He just does angry so damn well. He plays a pissed off and scorned character with a vendetta, and we see just how unforgiving and cruel he truly is. I’ve been a big fan of Michael B. Jordan in a lot of his movies like Creed, Fruitvale Station and That Awkward Moment, but I really liked seeing him in the antagonist role. I think Jordan has a long and prosperous career ahead of himself.
One of my favorite parts of the entire movie are the “challenge the king” scenes that they have. The backdrop of these just look really cool as they take place on top of a hug e waterfall, and the fight scenes are just super intense. Two dudes duking it out for all the power, and they do NOT hold back (well, T’Challah does a little bit I suppose). I just thought that the set up and choreography of the fights was excellent, and I could feel my heart pounding and palms getting sweaty throughout. I enjoyed all of the movie’s action, but those parts really stood out in my mind.
This one is a must see, no way around it. It’s a phenomenal theater experience, and you’ll be getting your money’s worth. I don’t want my gripe of the movie being a little over-hyped to take away from it, because it really is a well-done and entertaining movie. I just don’t think it’s near perfect. If you look at Tomatoes it’s 97%, but it’s a 7.6 on IMDb. There is a clear disconnect and I think that the IMDb score is a bit more reasonable. Regardless, go see this, have a great time and enjoy the last Marvel movie before Infinity Wars comes out. WOOOOOO!!!!!!!
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