by dominic v. cassidy (@lyre_of_apollo)
Black Panther – the latest film from Marvel Studios – is finally out, after being rescheduled to fit in with Marvel’s Nostradamus-esque phased plans. With a star-studded cast, in addition to Ryan Coogler of Fruitville Station and Creed fame being at the helm of the operation, it’s no surprise that the last inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also one of its most ambitious.
It may stick true to the usual globetrotting shenanigans that we’ve come to expect from Marvel, everything about this film feels somewhat smaller in scale, ultimately feeling more introspective. Sure, there are colossal threats aimed at the head of the world but the way the story is told seems to take into consideration how what is happening, well, happened and the chain of destruction that could come from a bad decision.
Considering that this take isn’t the norm at this point in the series, or the action genre in general, the plot can feel slightly muddier as a result and arguably less clear though it doesn’t detract from it being interesting. There’s a repeated complaint about these superhero films and how we’re on the umpteenth one (realistically we’re only at number 18 which is admittedly still bizarre) but Black Panther makes sure that viewers question what they’re watching and taking in, resulting in a movie that ultimately deals with mortality, loyalty and how far is too far in order for the greater good.
Considering Black Panther is a superhero movie some thought should be paid to the action scenes which just drip cool. There are a few fantastic fight scenes throughout the movie, some of which are aided by CGI, but it is at the set pieces where these moments shine, the audience chiming to themselves “cool”, or “wow”, or “holy shit”. They make excellent use of space and camera angles, as well as going in a completely different direction from where an action fan might think they would go, resulting in this aspect being equally as interesting as the story itself.
The easiest thing to praise in the film is by far the acting; where maybe the tension falls short, or some of the story just loops forward, the acting is consistently worth being commended. Chadwick Boseman gives a really nice performance as the warrior king T’Challa and in the moments where he’s not panthering around, you kinda just want to be his pal. With a cast as impressive as this movie has, a lot of the actors do just run away with the scenes, one of these guilty thespians being Letitia Wright, who plays the new king’s kooky scientist/younger sister. Wright absolutely commands every scene she’s in, being equal parts sincere and heartfelt, as well as absolutely hilarious which really brightens what can be quite a dark film. Someone else who deserves praise for their performance would be Danai Gurira who plays the proud warrior part very well, acting as a large strong figure on the screen.
To conclude while Black Panther is by no means the best superhero movie of all time, it is at its core an oddly thought-provoking movie, with more depth than a regular spandex clad romp, and so full of talking points it permeates the movie. With smashing set pieces and great performances put in by the cast this movie is well worth a watch, regardless (or especially) if you want to catch Infinity War in just a few months.