Film Review: Black Panther

The latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther has found great success both critically and at the box office. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 97% certified fresh, with 79% of the audience leaving satisfied. Perhaps equally as impressive is the recent accomplishment of over one billion dollars in earnings. Of course, as a MCU enthusiast, I went to see the movie. My thoughts are as follows.

  1. Black Panther was an excellent movie. The action was well done, the stakes high, the characters developed, and it checked all the right boxes. Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) is a compelling villain who possess an edge often lacking in movies this large. His introduction in a daytime heist grabs the attention of the viewer and holds it for the entire movie. He is, without a doubt, among the most interesting of the villains we have seen thus far. Likewise, T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) exudes a regal presence and a concern for his people in every action. His heroic portrayal will no doubt linger with all who watch the film. Setting also dazzles the viewer, with a striking representation of Wakanda and superb visual design.
  1. Much has been made of the racial representation within the movie. Undoubtedly this is an important development within cinema. Few movies with budgets of this size and such a degree of publicity have had a similarly composed cast. Hopefully, studios will notice the success of Black Panther and create more movies like it in the future. The more overt political rhetoric present surrounding race was limited to perhaps a few minutes of runtime. The sentiments expressed during these periods were relevant to the topic, but not requisite, and likely detracted from the movie more than they added. Regardless of political ideology, most people do not go to the movies to hear an opinion, but for entertainment.
  1. Unfortunately, as good as the movie is, it fails to break a number of significant trends. The premise still falls within standard Marvel tropes, despite its best efforts. The plot of the movie follows the same path as previous installments, with the introduction of a source of power, an introductory battle, turmoil, a lost battle, and a final victorious showdown. The trend of making the villain a reflection of the hero, with a similar power set but a twisted motivation, is also found.

At the end of the day, I find Black Panther to be among the best movies in the MCU thus far. It functions well as a standalone film, appeals to the average viewer, and leaves the audience satisfied. Despite its flaws, which include more political commentary than necessary and a predictable formula, the movie breaks away from the pack. Though I find the Rotten Tomatoes critical rating to be a bit high, I recommend the movie to anyone looking for a pleasant way to spend 2 hours.

Rating: 9/10 Franklins


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