Movies / Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW: It’s Good to be the King… Unless that King is the Entertaining, but Overhyped, BLACK PANTHER

A photo shoot fit for a king. (Assuming that king doesn’t have proper lighting.)


There are three things you should know before I delve into my thoughts about Marvel’s latest Superhero flick, The Black Panther.

1)      I’m whiter than a set of teeth on a Crest commercial.

2)      I write movie reviews based purely on how much they entertain me personally (for the most part.)

3)      While an enjoyable flick, I did not find The Black Panther to be the greatest Marvel movie, let alone superhero movie, since sliced bread. (Be it white, wheat or pumpernickel.)

If you are among those that feel otherwise with regards to my third statement because you assume my thoughts are directly linked to my first statement, then apparently you didn’t read my second statement.

Why do I even bother mentioning any of the above? Good question. I figured since I did not absolute love The Black Panther movie, the facts above would be informative for those readers who have undoubtedly already informed the interwebs what a backwards, Ghostbusters reboot hating, anti-every color of the rainbow, racist Cro-Magnon the Geek Outlaw is. The other half undoubtedly fell asleep not long after reading the opening sentence (for which I don’t blame them.)


Made you look at my review! Instead of getting punched, you’ll be forced to read the rest of this post. (OUCH!)


On a somewhat serious note, my sincere intent of sharing those tidbits, stems from the loosely based observation that 132.7% of every review and article I’ve read about The Black Panther over the past several weeks has put in their 2 cents on the cultural significance and achievements of the film, including what a brilliant masterpiece it is. Prior to my viewing, the hype on this film was so palpable, I thought theaters would sell it as a new topping on their popcorn. While I applaud the successes and significance of the movie, I’m also of the belief those accomplishments can affect how people perceive the overall quality of the film; for better or for worse.

Thus, I’ve set out on a mission to provide a non-political look at Marvel’s latest blockbuster with colorblind spectacles. (Although, I do have a funny way of showing it based on my first statement.)

Simply put, I just wanted to share a basic breakdown of my enjoyment (or lack thereof) with Marvel’s latest and greatest cinematic entry. Not that there’s anything wrong with one way or the other, I just felt like going against the grain. (What else is new.)

On that note, if I haven’t already offended all three of my readers (despite the fact I think I just offended myself), please read on to see where I think The Black Panther stands among the Marvel stable of cinema.


The only Black Panther spoiler you will find in this entire review.



ALWAYS BET ON BLACK (aka the Good):

A Wakandan Woman Hat-Trick:

Why have one strong leading lady when you can have three? The film answers that question in spades thanks to the strong, touching, and humorous characters Okoye (Lupita Nyong’o),  Shuri, (Letitia Wright ), and Okoye (played by The Walking Dead’s own Danai Gurira.) All three showcase their unique mixture of strength, heart and intelligence in a way far superior to any of the leading men on screen, including the King himself (Chadwick Boseman) and super-baddie Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Sadly, both leading men played their parts with the roughly the same passion as the automated computers found at the self-checkout section grocery many stores. If you’re a fan the Walking Dead, it’s also a treat to see Gurira carry over some of Michonne’s weapons training onto the big screen.

Black Panther who? These three ladies pretty much steal the entire movie.

Visually Pleasing:

One of the most eye-catching (literally) elements of The Black Panther is the stunning cinematography along with the expansive color pallet used to depict Wakanda. From the sprawling African vistas, to the Panther’s own glowing purple suit, The Black Panther pops on more than a few occasions. However, it does so in a more natural Earthbound way than some of Marvel’s recent space-based films, such as Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, I’ll take Marvel’s more colorful comic book approach to film over DC’s dark-and-gritty photoshop spectrum. Furthermore, the car chase scene alone is worth the price of admission, just so it can be witnessed on the big screen.

The Humor:

On the topic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe versus the DC Cinematic Universe, the subject of humor is another variable Marvel’s films have nailed down to almost near perfection, and The Black Panther is no exception. Granted, there aren’t quite as many laughs here as the previously mentioned Thor and Guardians flicks, but the tone of The Black Panther is also much darker (no pun intended.) Given the more serious nature of the film, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of laughs the entire creative team were able to squeeze in.



LEAVING SOME ON RED: (aka the Not-So-Good)

CGI Too Far and the Dreaded Shaky Cam:

One of my big deal-breakers when watching any movie is the use of the shakey-cam. You know the one I’m talking about, right? The hand-held camera style first introduced to most moviegoers as they watched snot drip out of a young girls nose in the Blair Witch Project a few decades back. To be fair, The Black Panther is nowhere near as bad. Still, combined with quick choppy editing, the choice to use this unstable camera style during some of the fights scene (especially the darker ones), ended up being headache-inducing. Call me an old curmudgeon, but I like to see what’s happening during a fight, not feel like I’m part of it. Last but not least, as beautiful and pleasing to the peepers most of the film is, there were also more than a few sequences where the CGI looked bad enough, I wondered if maybe part of the film was entirely animated. (Most notably, the final scene between the Panther and Killmonger.) Granted, the scenes in question were ambitious ones, nevertheless they were just jarring enough to pull me out of the moment.


I don’t know about you, but I would never want to piss Danai Gurira off. (Especially while she’s holding sharp objects.)


The Runtime:

This is the segment of the review where my bladder likes to chime in with a few words. No, The Black Panther is no Titanic, but it still felt like a long film in its own right. Yeah, I get it. The Black Panther is one of Marvel’s lesser known superheroes (although not anymore thanks to Civil War and this solo release), so a proper origin film was necessary. That said, whenever a film feels the need to start out with a narrator telling us how a character came to be, my red flags swiftly go up since most films which begin in such a fashion usually don’t pan out so well. (What’s the rule again, show, don’t tell?) Needless to say, the first half of the film just felt a bit slow. To be fair, if you read my reviews, this has also been a complaint of mine about most theatrical blockbuster releases these days. Alas, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling the film could have shaved a good 15 – 20 minutes off the final runtime.

The Ending:

Ok, so, I lied… kind of. I may have to get slightly political, but only because I wasn’t very keen with the way in which Killmonger was given the last word after the final battle scene. The villain’s statement was meant to be powerful, but I feel it was given too much emphasis by letting it hang out in the air for the audience to absorb for several seconds without any rebuke. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issues with closing out a penultimate confrontation in that manner, assuming the audience is also fully aware of the entire context of what is being referenced. Since I have no interest in entering a fruitless political debate with the entire internet community for the rest of my years, I will leave it at that.


If you loved “Dick-In-A-Box”, wait until you see the brand new…


Another minor issue I had with the ending had to do with where the real ending was located, or at least I thought it should be located. As pretty much everyone knows – minus roughly three individuals and some rare forms of plant life – Marvel movies end with at least two post-credit scenes. One occurs not long after the main stars are listed in an animated fashion, and the other after everyone remaining in the theater has technically fallen asleep. In my humble opinion, the first post credits scene of The Black Panther should have been tacked on to the end of the film. I felt like it would have gone a long way towards more immediately rebutting the words the villain muttered in the scene I just rambled on about incoherently. Even director Ryan Coogler originally wanted that scene to end the film, but apparently was convinced to do otherwise. My argument here is that some people, specifically the three referenced above, actually left before seeing that scene. Dare I say, they will most likely still go on to live fruitful lives, but for me it would have made for a much more satisfying ending had it been connected.

To quote one of the most overused starting phrases for a concluding thought, “at the end of the day”, The Black Panther is a fun watch, but far from what I consider one of Marvel’s best movies. One must also take into consideration, Marvel hasn’t had too many stinkers since the first Iron Man hit theaters almost exactly two decades ago. I’d personally place The Black Panther no higher than the middle of the pack, although given the nature of Marvel’s already strong cinematic universe movie roster, that’s not necessarily a slam. Although I found the film somewhat entertaining and a virtual candy shop for the eyes, I also found it to be massively overhyped. As many learned with the Ghostbusters reboot debacle, the mainscream media and critics never met a social cause they couldn’t oversell. The Black Panther is a decent popcorn flick, but only an average one at best. Even the generous helping of media hype as a topping, can’t save it from mediocrity.




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