Black Panther Offers a Brief Glimpse of Light in the Current State of the Dark & Gloomy MCU (Movie Review)

Black Panther Movie ReviewOutside of the Black Panther in Marvel’s Civil War my exposure to the character is null and zero.  I have no understanding of what his powers are, how he can jump like a cat or even what his weaknesses are.  I am assuming it’s all because of that sinister looking, fancy black feline costume he dons, but that’s why I am here today at the press screening of the Black Panther to hopefully find all this out.  I want to know what makes me the man tick, the history, his lore, etc.  Now say what you want about the Black Panther movie trailers, but so far the one thing I could not get past is Michael B. Jordan’s hairdo.  That was the Achilles heel of the marketing push for me.  I know I am petty, but hey I am giving this one a chance regardless to win me over despite my angst for the boring and depressing Civil War.  So there’s that.  However, what really makes me curious is the early reviews of this one.  I am not going to lie.  From what I read it seems like the Black Panther’s sh1t does not stink and he can do no wrong.  That’s what I hope to clear up here down below.  Will you join me?

So here we are.  It’s 2018 and we have three connected MCU films on the calendar: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp.  We’re gathered here obviously to talk about the former.  It’s the 18th film in the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and I guess I would not be politically correct if I didn’t mention this.  It’s Marvel’s first feature with a predominately “black” cast (I was told to use this word), which sees direction under Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by him and Joe Robert Cole.  Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (aka Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.  That’s quite the cast!  In continuation from the Civil War storyline T’Challa returns home to Wakanda as king, but finds his kingdom challenged by a treacherous adversary.  That would be Jordan and his crazy hairdo, which I read is a modern-day substitute for the long hair his characters dons in the comics.

Black Panther Movie Review

Like I said up above, Black Panther sees an angst ridden, grieving T’Challa returning home to Wakanda as King after the events in Captain America: Civil War.  However, enemies are waiting for him and make plans to conspire against the King.  The outcome of such aversion also carries global implications with it too.  It all boils down to Michael B. Jordan’s character of Erik Killmonger.  Nice name, huh?  He’s a Wakandan exile who became an American black-ops soldier and has his own vision on how Wakanda should be run.  To defeat him, Ulysesses Klaue (Serkis) and the others the Black Panther, whom actually gains his exceptional strength by eating some herbs I found out (how imaginative huh?), must team up with CIA agent Everett K. Ross and members of Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces.  I loved seeing Serkis back here!

I guess outside of the aforementioned herbs and shape-shifting black suit what makes Black Panther a wee bit interesting to me is that he’s a politician so to speak.  He’s the leader of a country after all.  That carries a lot of responsibility in its own, and Spider-Man thought he had it rough.  Ha!  It just so happens that his country is a warrior-based one, which makes sense that the dude knows how to fight too although he’s not flashy say like a Tony Stark.  However, if you’re talking this film solely I’m going to drop the following on you.  I dig the James Bond-like spy thriller nature of it all in one sequence.  Sure it takes place in the MCU and in a fictional world, but at the end of the day it’s still on our planet and there’s a very caper-like feel to the some of the story here…up until a point.

Black Panther Movie Review

That’s where the good times end for me though.  The story for me is just so-so afterwards and I was even a bit bored.  I really can’t see any reason why people are saying this is one of the BEST MCU films ever made.  Have they not seen Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy or even Captain America: Winter Soldier yet?  Ultimately, even the character of Black Panther himself is a very uninteresting one to me.  He’s not on par with the rest of the major players we have been introduced to thus far in the MCU and don’t even get me started on that necklace suit thing.  Ugh!  I’m not going to say that DCEU films are better because obviously they are not, but to me the characters are richer (minus Aquaman and Cyborg).  I don’t know what it is, but outside of Guardians and Thor I’m a bit bored by the depressive tone that the MCU has adopted (I know it’s funny coming from a DC movie guy).  It’s all despair and no more fun (with the exception of Ant-Man and Dr. Strange) and the two aforementioned properties of course.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I did not hate Black Panther.  However, to me it’s just a very average entry and judging from the trailers I feel like I will have more fun with the newest Ant-Man entry.  Black Panther is cool, effective and flashy.  I loved learning more about Wakanda, seeing females have their way, playing around with all the cool tech and seeing their culture from behind-the-scenes.  And quite honestly the thing I loved about it the most is how standalone the movie really felt from the connected MCU.  Acting was spot on too.  However, the villain like usual for the MCU was weak.  I’m not convinced by Jordan’s ability to play a bad guy.  He’s too much of a good guy.  I loved the relationship between him and the Black Panther, but the Rocky-like storyline here was just nothing special for me to walk away from with a big smile.  That’s why my score while still positive down below is nowhere near that of the masses.  Unlike The Last Jedi, which I vehemently hated, I’ll give the Black Panther another watch on the 4K Ultra HD format.  I’m just not expecting any reconsiderations of adoration for the property.  I have been wrong before and I kind of hope that is the case here (hopefully I was just tired).  It’s just that for now this one screening of Black Panther was enough.

Bring on the Avengers please (and don’t screw it up with the inclusion of the superior Guardians in it).  Thanks for reading!

Black Panther Movie Review


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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