Movie: Black Panther
My Rating: 4 stars
I liked this movie. It wasn’t because the story was particularly complex or well-crafted. The film pretty much follows the format of all these super hero movies we’ve become so familiar with of late. But, it was really fun to see something different. This film is yet another super-hero franchise in Marvel’s vast lineup. And, it really was about time we got a hero that wasn’t a corn-fed white boy. Not that I don’t enjoy those. But, we had so many heroes that were so similar that the gimmicks we were using to distinguish one from another were getting pretty contrived. A lot of it down pretty much came down to cape color. Of course, I’m being a bit reductive and snarky. But the point I’m making is that I always like to see a new element come in to mix up a stagnant pool.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing super hero movies with one token sidekick of color. And, of course, it was nice when we started seeing that trend start up. But, it’s really not cutting it any more. When a story has only one black character, for instance, they’re necessarily written as a pretty broad stereotype. But when you get to work with a handful different characters, a writer is able to create a much broader range of personalities. They become individuals rather than symbols. So, it was very exciting to see the incredible diversity that was possible when every character in this movie was black. (Except for our token Martin Freeman). The variety between all the different African tribes that were represented during the multi-nation summit meetings in this film were spectacular. I wanted to pause the movie so that I could absorb all the little details. We had good characters, and bad ones; strong ones, and insecure; clever and dopey; beautiful and homely; power-mad and duty bound. It was quite a palette to play with. (Plus, I was pretty excited about all the amazing outfits).
This is a fun movie. It’s full of crazy action sequences, wild sci-fi technology, acrobatic stunts, amazing costumes, cheesy dialogue—everything you could desire from an action comic. But, I think it’s also an important movie too. It’s time to move past the era where the default for every lead in a mainstream blockbuster will be a tall, strapping, European man. And, this movie provided an excellent start. This is definitely a movie that everyone can enjoy, and one you won’t want to miss, even if just for the hype.