One of the first Marvel comics I ever owned was a Jack Kirby drawn team-up between Captain America and Black Panther. It was my introduction to the Black Panther character. My first thought was that he seemed to be Batman without a cape.
Last night I saw the Black Panther movie. I enjoyed the character in Captain America: Civil War and so I had high hopes for this movie.
I was not disappointed. It didn’t strictly follow the Marvel formula which was refreshing. There was humour but it was not forced the way it was in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
One of the things I liked about Black Panther is that it was not a one-man show starring T’Challa. There were other strong supporting characters. Two of my favourites were Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister and M’Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe. This latter character was nicely reimagined from his horrible comic identity as “Man-Ape.”
One of the most interesting parts of the movie was the struggle of conscience. Wakanda is the richest and most technologically advanced country in the world and yet they are surrounded by some of the poorest countries in the world. They have isolated themselves for their own protection, but at what price?
Interestingly, it ends up that both the good guys and bad guys agree that something has to be done. But what? Killmonger wants to arm black people around the world with weapons based on Wakandan technology to overthrow the colonizers (white people). But could there be another way?
Another important part of the movie is about the consequences of our actions. Decisions we make, which might seem reasonable at the time, can have drastic consequences for tomorrow. T’Challa struggles with a decision made by his father and wrestles with what that means for his own decisions as king.
I will admit that I was not all that impressed with the villains. I found Klaue to be annoying and Killmonger not very believable. The good news is that the other characters in the movie are so well developed that it doesn’t really hurt the movie.
The depiction of Wakanda as a society both based on traditional African culture and extremely advanced technology was fascinating. It made me want to see more of it and I hope any sequels also take place in Wakanda and not in the overused New York.
Black Panther works not just as a good action flick (which it is), but as movie that asks important questions. The message doesn’t hit us over the heads but it is there plain and clear.
I really enjoyed Black Panther and it is definitely one of the top Marvel movies.
You can find some background on Black Panther here.