Black Panther  (2018)

I finally got caught up with my MCU movies before I can get to Infinity Wars. I've been trying to watch them all, keeping things mostly in order. I've said before that it can start to feel like homework, but when all the movies tie in, you never know exactly what might be a spoiler, so I just prefer to keep going in order. The MCU has leaned towards successful for me, with most movies being in the 7 out of 10 range, but it has had occasional clunkers. I had high expectations for Black Panther, but in the end, fashion seemed to outweigh function.

We were introduced to Wakanda and the Black Panther during Captain America: Civil War. Quickest (full of spoilers (for a two-year-old movie)) recap: The Winter Soldier assassinates the king of Wakanda; his son T'Challa goes out for revenge; Captain America tries to stop him to protect Bucky; everybody fights.

Wakanda is a country tucked away in the middle of Africa, believed by the rest of the world to be full of farmers and simple people, but in reality they're the most technologically advanced culture in the world, thanks to their country being the only source of Vibranium. After the death of his father, T'Challa takes the crown. While most of the country supports him, a Wakandan who has been living in America returns home to challenge him for the throne, with plans to reveal themselves to the world and fight everyone.

The visuals, as with all of the MCU, are fantastic. The landscape of Wakanda, the African dress and culture of the characters looks great, the CGI is smooth...but beyond that, I never really felt engaged. Chadwick Boseman is fine at best, but his villainous counterpart Michael B. Jordan never felt like a real threat. The supporting cast of Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Lupita Nyong'o were okay; Danai Gurira (Michonne from the Walking Dead) flexed her badass muscle, but it still felt like "Michonne in Africa". I think the worst thing you can really say is that even though I watched the movie just a few days ago, there is barely anything of it left in my memory.

Black Panther is akin to Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, in that he's something of a B-level hero in the MCU. You have the A-Team of the Avengers, and then you have those other guys who have peripheral stories but are still being woven into the grand storyline. I enjoyed Ant-Man, but Doctor Strange has been my least-fave of the MCU to this point. Black Panther is falling short of most, but still a bit above the Doc.

 

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Black Panther" a 5 out of 10.

 

 

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