[SPOILERS] 3 hits and misses of Black Panther12 min read
We discuss 3 places Black Panther hits and 3 places it misses. Warning of mild spoilers.
As we speak , Black Panther continues to shatter records to make its place with the excelsior class , when the dust clears from the storm it has created. The Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut is an interesting comic book movie recipe and a bold step towards diversification. And in its versatility in doing so , it has its fair share of hits and misses.
Based on a screenplay by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole , the Marvel movie is powered by a stunning plethora of acting talent comprised of the likes of T’Challa , Michael B. Jordan , Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. The movie takes place in an African country technologically superior than any other and revolves around its monarch after the events of Captain America : Civil War.
Today we address 5 major hits and misses of the black royalty.Before we proceed we want to put a disclaimer once again that the whole article is crawling with spoilers. So if you didn’t get to see the movie , this might be the final retracting moment. Let’s start with the hits :
Music is a quintessential need in crafting a motion picture that intends to break grounds on diversity. Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a bad reputation as per as symphony is concerned. I am happy to say that I am not dissapointed with the music Ludwig GÖransson has put into Black Panther. Be it Baaba maal’s exotic voice tuned in to talking drums to transcend the Wakandian beauty to Senegalese skies or be it the exotic voice justifying the sunset of the King….its spectacular.
There are touches of music incorporated from western instruments such as trumpets. But the music whenever required , resonated with me and my affection towards African beauty. The flute , reasonably noticeable in “The King’s Sunset” and “Killmonger” reflects on and off screen mentality of the movie.
Other noticeable parts are the Dora Milaje themes in Casino Brawl and The Great Mound Battle and the drums in the T’Challa vs Killmonger battle. The composer has skillfully shuffled basic tribal and epic orchestral music back to back throughout the score to give us a good insight into Wakanda.
All in all , the music was great according to a comic book movie attempting to address African culture and ethnicity.There is a good probability that more and more people will talk about the music as it takes the liberty of time to grow on them.
In the books , the character was a native of Wakanda, born under the name N’Jadaka. When Ulysses Klaw and his mercenaries attacked Wakanda, they press-ganged N’Jadaka’s father into helping them. When Klaw was defeated, his father died and his family was exiled. N’Jadaka ended up in Harlem, New York, nursing a hatred against the super-villain and T’Challa, the king who’d exiled him. He changed his name to Erik Killmonger and studied at MIT, desperate to avenge his father’s death. Later he was called into Wakanda by T’Challa.
While his history was gifted to Daniel Kaluyaa’s W’Kabi , Erik Stevens was wrapped in a battle more personal to T’Challa. Taking a fair advantage of a personal battle between N’Jobu and T’Chaka , the audience are left standing from a vantage point of hatred and helplessness with the character.Influenced by the “white colonialist” cultural influences from his comic book counterpart , the antagonist is a shout out to all the punishments the natives of Africans as well their american descendants endured back in the days.
A lot of people are pulling in racism in the movie but the movie has no such intentions. The hate monging Killmonger though had his justified hate towards a specified group of people , the movie itself discouraged his aggressive approaches.
This is not the first time a superhero adaptation is addressing an injustice prevailing in the society. Punisher season 2 , for example , is rumored to adapt one of the darkest Marvel story line related to sex trafficking in USA.
Along with the customary good superhero lesson where the villain matures a hero’s experience , Killmonger adds his own subjective to the villain.Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger breaks the “one needs to be pure evil” middle line to elevate to a better class of villains. He will leave a more prominent mark than the hero in the hearts of many.
Representation matters. It’s not that black kids can’t celebrate a white superhero but it’s good to see someone like you on the big screen. Yes we have had Blade but there’s a difference. It’s easier to create a cultural influence with Black Panther because he is a king. He leads and inspires.
To make a movie about the goodness about a specific culture every once in a while empowers. Wonder Woman proved that. Coco proved that. Black Panther walks in the same line.
Black Panther is a complete superhero movie portraying the country of Wakanda through rich visuals. But what’s admirable is that even while justifying the superhero element , it addresses some real life troubles our brothers and sisters from Africa faces even today. That’s what a superhero movie should be about.
We get to see an insight into the culture through attires of different classes and genders , prayers , rituals , celebrations , battles and more. Black Panther provides us some very strong and inspiring African women , and a lot of credit goes to the production designing team for that representation.There are also a minor con to this which we will be discussing in the next section.
Africa is a land filled with natural beauty and bliss. But most of the times , all we see of it is the suffering some people are enduring there. Both of them are addressed in the movie. While Nakia continuously addresses the outside world of Africa that are suffering , it took T’Challa to know about his family’s history and encounter with Killmonger to do something about it.
The end of the movie sees T’Challa extending his Wakandian hand to the black generations for years to come as well as others in the UN. Black Panther’s representation will give the black kids an ideal to strive towards besides the likes of Superman , Captain America and more.
That was the major hit points of Black Panther. But like anything of this world , everything good has its fair share of flaws. While some of them may seem as knit-picking , in the ideal form of definition , they are still points the movie could have bettered on. Without further adieu , the misses of Black Panther are :
When it comes to modern day superhero movies , CGI plays a founding role for it. When it comes to Black Panther….well ! Marvel has delivered much better over the years.
Most of the times the VFX is steady throughout but sometimes the flaw is noticeable enough. Especially considering the $200 million production scale. Previous Marvel Cinematic installments with lesser budgets have shown a better class of VFX and/or CGI render.
Speaking of VFX , it is important to be noted that the flaw was more evident on characters rather than environments.The environment CGI is practically nice enough , which raises another question. Why use green screens for showing the natural beauty of Wakanda ?
Yes , we have modern unreal technology but what about the outposts and the outside Africa , before they get in. As a movie buff and a fan of the entire film-making process , I will forever condone this aspect. Not just of Black Panther , but superhero movies nowadays in general.
Of course , CGI is required but why eliminate the little scopes of natural filming that are left even in superhero movies ? Maybe due to the fear of a bloated production budget , in this case.Hopefully the sequel will deliver a better product and will try to address this issue.
2. Predictable at times
We have come a long way since the good old days of Bryan Singer’s X-Men and Sam Raimi’s Spiderman. Audience has faced quite a bit of thick plots in the form of thought provoking CBMs. And Viola ! Now standing in 2018 , plain and simple plots are somehow received as boring unless they have a sense of thrill to it.
Quite honestly , the enormous goodies the movie bestows lets the movie preform so good at the box office. If not for them and the intelligent direction of Coogler , this movie would have been just another movie trying to leverage on a particular culture. Part of this roots from not enough development of some of the major characters , Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa included.
Still at the end of the day , the movie is more of a character driven flick rather than a plot one , and thanks to that , the predictability of the plot acts as secondary. This , if repeated , can act as a major factor in the upcoming sequels.
Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue was there in the movie , just because he needed to. Being the remarkable actor Serkis is and the manner he left us stunned with his performance of Caesar after the Apes trilogy , the way his character was handled was frustrating.
Fans had no idea that Marvel will just keep him to complete his arc from the Age of Ultron. It’s like….come on ! Infinity War time ! Whose arc is left before we close shop ? Oh you ! Hop on-board ! We have a place right for you in Black Panther. And I am not exaggerating ! Anyone would notice Marvel’s desperation to complete his story since fans last saw of him.
Klawe is a titular villain for both T’Challa and Wakanda. And the movie reduced him to an hysterical villain sounding like an ape for most of the time. Nevertheless , he was killed by Erik and then the whole focus jumped onto Killmonger.
When it comes to Marvel Cinematic Universe , Ulysses Klaue is a wasted chance unless they find a bizarre way to put his game back in.
So that was it , guys. That was the 3 hits and misses I found in Black Panther. I came across some other knit-picking issues like problems in dialects and a slow paced first half , but I chose to ignore them as major cons. A foreign language is hard to master , especially one that exists and can be judged upon by experts.
If you disagree with me , fair enough ! Use the comments to sound off your thoughts. I am not an African , so if we have any African friends over here reading I would love to hear their perspectives. Use the comments section to start a conversation.
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