You know, I have a serious love/hate relationship with comic book movies. And more than likely, odds are you do too. But instead of going on and on about the usual <insert this isn’t like the comics here>, let’s just get down to the easy part. Black Panther is a really good movie. Is it the best comic book movie? No, but it stands on its own pretty well. I’m going to keep this fairly spoiler free as far as the movie goes, but I will be talking minor comic to screen differences, and a few other things. Hey, see that band-aid? Yeah, let’s go ahead and rip that right off.
Honestly, Michael B Jordan’s portrayal of Erik Killmonger is the star of the show here. And in comparison, he just makes the other characters sort of forgettable. Including Chadwick Boseman’s reprising role as T’Challa, who after his father died in the bombing during the events of Captain America: Civil War, has risen to the permanent role of Black Panther and King of Wakanda. Here we get to see inside the inner circle of Wakanda, and some interests of T’Challa, such as his sister Shuri(played by Letitia Wright), who by all accounts is just as smart if not smarter than Tony Stark at such a young age. Could we see a future Ironheart in the making? Shuri has made massive strides in advancing Wakandan technology, and even developed the Black Panther suits that we get to see T’Challa use throughout the movie. The banter back and forth between brother and sister is shown here, on top of what seems to be a bit of sibling rivalry when it comes down to who is the smartest. I enjoyed it for what it was, and that only extended when we see the king’s guard Okoye(Played by Danai Gurira) join in on the fun. Throw in a love interest which is Nakia(played by Lupita Nyong’o), and we have a decent start to a well rounded cast of supporting characters for our Panther friend here.
But we can’t have a comic movie without some of those, what do you call them? Oh yeah! Villains! Here we see Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw, your regular happy go lucky psychopath hellbent on destruction and getting paid. And while he definitely delivers on that aspect, there is a whole lot missing from the character established in the comic. On one hand, I get it, there isn’t enough time to follow through in the limited time frame, but what eventually unfolds with Klaw is rather underwhelming. But it does lead to a prominent Killmonger showing up in Wakanda, seeking the throne. While this story takes a few arcs to get to in the comics, we see some things changed to ramp up the encounter between Killmonger and Black Panther. With Wakanda in chaos, and different tribes at odds with the future of Wakanda, we really see Black Panther shine here by showing the dynamic and deeply rich culture combined with the amazing Wakandan technology.
By now I am asking myself, how is this going to tie into the Infinity War? Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross helps in that department. Picking up where S.H.I.E.L.D. left off, Ross gets intertwined with all the behind the scenes hero/villain ongoing while trying to pull a few strings for his country. He really has that smile on his face while stabbing you in the back demeanor, which was a nice break from all the blatant good versus evil story going on here. But then I ask myself, is it really that simple? We see a backstory here for Erik that leads to a different, but not so evil from his point of view push that leaves you having mixed feelings on painting him as the real bad guy. It is great, and Jordan really hammers it home with his past, and how proud he is to have stepped up for the rest of the world that didn’t have super technology to help them along with their struggles. Overall, how this plays out just makes for a good time, with some really neat set pieces, and some decent action scenes. The heart shaped herb plays out different here, but we’ll go along with it.
Remember that sting of pulling the band-aid off? Sort of gone now, right? But you will think about it a few more times before forgetting about it. And that is how I felt about a decent part of Black Panther. Outside of T’Challa, and maybe Shuri(for moving forward), you will forget all about the rest of the cast once Infinity War releases. The brilliant picture painted will not mean much in the grand scheme of events, with the exception of Wakandan technology. But the real question here is- Now that Disney has the X-Men back, will we see T’Challa and Ororo become a thing? I hope so.
The rich African culture combined with Wakandan technology was a site to behold
Michael B Jordan stole the show
The fight scenes were fun, and not having to worry about a cosmic villain was nice for a change
Michael B Jordan was almost too good, resulting in the rest of the cast being in his shadow
You will forget about almost everything when few characters will be seen for Infinity War