Episode 169: Spoiler Free Review of Black Panther

I have recently returned from the movie theater and the adrenaline rush from witnessing the most recent entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has left me with a feeling of awe that must be shared. I will do my best to not include any of the actual content of the movie but let me explain some of the things that are worth noting.

Let me start out by saying that this movie has indeed been overhyped. It’s not the perfect film, it is not the cinematographic experience that will end all racism. With that out of the way, Black Panther is ridiculously awesome. The story progresses almost seamlessly from beginning to end without filler or moments that felt out of sync that would probably be fleshed out during the Director’s cut.

The visuals provide a look into a world that is both new yet familiar. It is an experience eerily similar to the first time I saw Lion King wherein the exotic is brought forth and central Africa looks like something that is palpable even as its an experience I haven’t felt firsthand. The landscapes, both rural and urban, are a sight to behold as Wakanda’s fields, waterfalls, mines, and even mountains are expansive and filled with detail. Big props to the amazing CGI team who made this world come to life.

The action sequences are intense too as our titular character is an acrobatic badass with and without his suit. All of the other characters have their own moments of awesomeness as fighting sequences have good use of weapons and hand to hand combat. Without Iron Man or Thor in the cast the explosions and beams are minimal but the combat is still enthralling.

As for the acting let me say that this may be the best cast in a Marvel movie I have ever experienced as even the minor characters are memorable. Chadwick Boseman continues his path as T’Challa from Civil War (which is not necessary to see beforehand but helps in fleshing out the motivations and backstory for a hero who has greatness thrust upon him). Danai Gurira is intense yet still approachable as both general and guardian of Wakanda and its king. Lupita Nyongo’s Nakia somehow balances being both a love interest that needs saving and a crafty spy that can stand toe to toe with the best of them (sorry to all the shippers of Widow and Panther). But the true standout is Michael B. Jordan as the antagonist of the film. Without giving too much away, his development into villainy borders on the cliche but still feels intense and relatable. One of the many criticisms of the MCU is that the villains don’t stand and are more a side effect of the story going forward t=rather than the drivers of the plot. Jordan breaks that mold by being top tier bad guy, second only to Loki (who is now almost chaotic neutral but still up there).

All in all the movie is amazing and yes you should stick around for all the post credit scenes. It’s visuals aren’t as psychedelic as Doctor Strange and story isn’t as grounded Winter Soldier but it is still one of the better films in the MCU. I’d go so far as to put it in my top 5 but time will tell if the post premiere glow remains afterward. If you aren’t experienced in English spoken with different African accents you might have to pay a bit more attention but it’s well worth it.

Go watch it for yourselves and stay tuned for an upcoming spoilertastic post later on.

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