I’m not really a see-blockbusters-in-theaters kind of guy. I was racking my brain trying to remember the last one I made it to, and it was Mad Max: Fury Road. Between that and Black Panther, it seems like my instincts are 100% correct on what movies are worth the effort.
Black Panther is worth the effort and then some. It was the best and most interesting Marvel film I’ve seen. It was sincere and serious without feeling angsty or overwrought. In other moments it was lighthearted and fun without feeling snarky or frivolous. It brought together some of the most charismatic and talented actors working today, and gave them roles to match. It created the most compelling and sad villain I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie, so much so I hesitate to even call him a villain. It was, in two words, fucking awesome.
I could go on, but I want to hear what other people have to say. I’ll just point out a few other things:
- Here Film Crit Hulk does his usual thoughtful and eloquent shtick, drawing some great parallels between Panther and Spike Lee’s classic Do the Right Thing. This is just a great piece of writing, and really puts Black Panther into proper perspective.
- I’m a die-hard fan of Jack Kirby, and it was heartening to see his name in the credits of this film, especially considering all the lengths Marvel has gone to in denying him the recognition he deserves. I also wonder if Stan Lee stealing T’Challa’s poker chips is maybe a meta-commentary on this? I mean, surely it’s referencing Colonialism, but it seems at least open to the other interpretation too.
- I didn’t stay to see the post-credits scenes but I did read about them afterwards. Hey Marvel? I think you can stop doing these. Just put them on YouTube.
- I recently dug out my sole Black Panther comic from my comic-collecting days: it was this issue of Jungle Action by writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema. It’s a very fun, mostly stand-alone comic, following T’Challa and some Avengers after their Quinjet crashes in Wakanda. T’Challa discovers that M’Baku has usurped Wakanda’s throne in his absence, declaring himself its new leader (the “Man-Ape”). This leads to a similar showdown as the one in the film, where T’Challa’s true strength and compassion as a leader become apparent.
- Ruth Carter deserves all the awards for this movie’s costume design. Just wow.
So let’s Talk Amongst Ourselves about it!