Films that are groundbreaking come once in a blue moon, and a cultural and social groundbreaking movie event is something that the masses can all get behind. Black Panther is the 18th Marvel film, and the first black MCU character to get his own movie. That being said, a lot of expectation has been placed for this movie, even back in 2016 Twitter was in a frenzy when the cast was announced so for it to finally happen has been a long road. Helmed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) the film is a well realized spectacle filled with more substance than the average superhero movie, and it’s refreshing. Taking on social and geopolitical issues really breathes new life into a genre that can often feel formulaic especially after 17 movies in the same universe. It’s well acted, well written, and well shot, but that’s not to say it isn’t flawed.
Many of the issues with the film come with it’s pacing, feeling every minute of it’s two hour and fourteen minute runtime. A good portion of the VFX shots look unfinished in some aspects, and the fight scenes that are CGI look admittedly cartoonish. Those issues aside everything else works well here. The world building of Wakanda is amazing, the score is great, and the story moves along well and progresses well.
The highlight of the film is without a doubt in Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Erik Killmonger. Every Marvel villain aside from Loki is one note and throwaway, leaving nothing interesting to chew on and having all their motives the same (world domination.) But Killmonger feels more like an opposite of Black Panther rather than a villain, and it makes his story and character arc significantly more compelling and somebody you can empathize with even if you don’t agree with his views.
It’s a great Marvel film, thought not one of the best superhero movies. It’s conflicting in the sense of how much hype led to this and how it was pushed to be so perfect. It’s not perfect. It’s not incredible. But it is by no means bad. It’s a good film and a great addition to the Marvel canon, building even more hype for the oncoming Avengers: Infinity War. Black Panther is one of the best Marvel heroes in the MCU for sure and it’s exciting to see where his character and country’s reach extends to in future installments.