My news feed is flooded with Black Panther reviews saying how great the film is, even going as far as to say it is the best Marvel film ever. It is great, don’t get me wrong but there were some things holding it back.
This film had so many strengths. It looked truly amazing with incredible costumes. The actors looked beautiful and this was tied together with fantastic cinematography that will stay in my mind for a while. This was also supported by an insanely good soundtrack that, other than the banger soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar, is almost entirely instrumental throughout the film. It created a unique visual and audio experience that stood out from the other films.
These elements were brought together by the director, Ryan Coogler (Fruitville Station, Creed) who did a good job but I wouldn’t give him the Oscar. Coogler produced one of the most serious Marvel films I’ve seen, which brings appeal but ultimately I found myself wanting more fun.
This is a comic book movie, which means it’s inherently expected to be f*cking awesome, but there were moments that felt a little slow and, to be honest, failed the yawn test. The highlight of the film, making me sit up in my seat and get the creases out of my Black Panther shirt was the bad ass, kick ass women who made me want to watch a film about them instead. The female cast was strong and captivating and captured my eye every time they were on screen. This was lead by Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright. They were all hilarious, awesome and provided whatever was lacking in the film. It also would have been good to see more of Angela Bassett, who I love.
Sometimes with Coogler’s direction, it felt like the movie moved too fast to create an emotional beat. MCU movies have made me cry in the past but nothing in this made me want to shed a tear, because it felt like we moved on too quickly for me to really care, for example a character death wasn’t as spotent as it could of been.
Part of the issues with the film stemmed from the lead AKA Chad Boseman AKA the Black Panther, who wasn’t as exciting as his appearance in Captain America: Civil War. He was a little dull and lifeless at times and ultimately felt like a supporting character in his own movie to the bad ass women. Michael B. Jordan was a standout in the film (his shirtless scenes definitely caught this lady’s attention). He was engaging and enticing however
his character was a little stereotypical in certain areas. Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis both brought a lot to the film, providing a nice layer of humour the film seemed to be lacking in parts. The film definitely could have benefited from more Serkis (explaining why would mean spoilers).
I have high expectations for a film that cost $200 million to produce, so I was a bit disappointed with the CGI. It looked a few years old and cartoonish in parts. When about 60-70% of the film’s background is CGI it needs to look real or it takes away from the film. CGI is meant to enhance not replace, and I don’t think the CGI in this film enhanced it for me.
Another issue was the lighting which was inconsistent and definitely too dark at times. Most movies (all movies) don’t have pitch black night scenes. They use a slightly different tone to make it more visible, but Black Panther doesn’t do that which takes away from the experience. While some moments of the lighting was breathtaking, especially on the women of the film, others left me disappointed which isn’t good enough for this type of movie.
While it had a lacklustre opening and I feel like it could be streamlined a little (for example, there were two tribal fight scenes in the movie that took up a lot of time it could of probably just had one), there were definitely some exciting action-packed scenes which culminated in a massive final battle that was gigantic and fun, and represents what a Marvel film truly is.
All in all, Black Panther was a great movie despite its flaws. The good outweighs the bad and it continues Marvel’s hot streak of amazing films.