Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black Panther

Movie Name: Black Panther
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Ryan Coogler
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, John Kani
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer

Director Ryan Coogler has followed his successful film "Creed" with a foray into the Marvel Universe. This time around, the story focuses on T'Challa, the new elected king from an African kingdom by the name of Wakanda. This nation has thrived for centuries under the blessing of a rare substance by the name of Vibranium, which among its many applications, has given their rulers enhanced strength, speed and healing capabilities. The newly minted king, finds himself dealing with a vibranium smuggler, and most importantly a figure from the past, who unknown to him, is someone casting a big shadow on his new ruling. It's up to him and his family and closest allies to battle these dark forces and prevent the dangerous situation of escalating to a world menace.
"Black Panther", unlike "Doctor Strange" or "Ant Man" for instance, doesn't benefit from an introductory film or storyline. That has already happened in Anthony and Joe Russo's "Captain America: Civil War", where the character was introduced in the context of the battle that raged between the other superheroes in that film. "Black Panther" deals with the aftermath of the events of that feature, giving some insight into the burden carried out by the son of a great ruler, and the expectations he holds on himself to follow suit. That's the most humane thing about a film, that other than that plot point, ends up being pretty formulaic and relying once again on the exquisite special effects and production design to actually make an impact. Sadly the arc and story developed for the lead character, and also the supporting ones, doesn't do justice to the available means that were put together by the Marvel production machine. It's of praise that the female characters are indeed given more relevance, but they're barely defined (and it's not compelling enough to say a film has good female characters just because they fight men on equal terms), while the main antagonist, has little definition, or even motivation to do whatever he's doing. Sadly in this film, there's not really anyone who actually creates a memorable character, with Letitia Wright walking away with the most humorous moments. The cinematography from Rachel Morrison is beautiful, as are the stunning costumes created by Ruth E. Carter. Another impeccably done yet instantly forgettable film from the Marvel cannon.