As the first Marvel movie to come out this year, “Black Panther” has already made over twice its budget in box office success on opening night.
The film starts out with an artistic introduction on the historical and regional tensions going on in the hidden, highly advanced fictional nation of Wakanda.
After these creative contextual scenes, the story begins. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the Wakandan prince and the Black Panther, loses his father in a terrorist attack and becomes king. As king, he is simultaneously torn between trying to appease the international relation ideals of different Wakandan tribes and seeking the revenge of his father’s murder.
There are three main setbacks that took away from the movie being truly awe-inspiring: the cliché storylines, the meme-referencing younger sister and the occasionally inappropriate music choice.
The cliché story lines include mostly the plot points of the unprepared heir, the main villain isn’t actually the main villain and the romantic subplot. These clichés are not all bad and do serve their purpose, but they are still hard to ignore. Second problem: the memereferencing younger sister. T’Challa’s teenage sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) creates the devices that her brother uses on missions. She is an interesting and well incorporated character, but her dialogue and behavior just feel like pandering to teenage viewers.
The final setback of this movie was the inappropriate music choice in certain scenes when switching from traditional tribal to orchestral music. The most noticeable moment where this happened was during the first scene on the ancestral plain. The scenery, imagery and even attire were so perfectly matched, but the usage of orchestral music instead of something more authentic brought down the whole scene from being top tier quality.
Despite some minor setbacks, the movie itself was very well executed.
The intensity and nature of emotional moments was incredibly appropriate. At the beginning, T’Challa clearly misses and mourns his father, but it never distracts him from his role as a leader. Despite the cliché piece of the story, the romantic subplot was set to the side. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and T’Challa very clearly care for each other, but in a very mature way. Nakia and T’Challa are both highly experienced fighters who can handle themselves well, and both are aware of the extent of danger.
And the amount of action in the movie is very appropriate to the context of the action scenes. Certain Marvel movies seem to be 75 percent story and 25 percent exploding cars and buildings, but the action sequences in ‘Black Panther’ all make sense.
The most phenomenal part of this movie was the world-building. The movie creators put so much time into creating the nation of Wakanda, and it is fantastic.
The scenery, the lore, the balance of Central African culture and technological advancement is all so fascinating. The film continues to show these features so the audience can take them in, as well.
Also, unlike so many Marvel movies with the popular settings like New York City, London or Tokyo, this one focused on an entirely different setting. Any scenes located outside of the fictional Wakanda weren’t overplayed.
All things considered, Marvel handled the clichés well, brought all the subplots to a close, provided strong characters and kept tensions and action appropriate to the context, all while paving the way for the story with a beautifully-done setting.
Well done Marvel, you have taken great strides forward.