BLACK PANTHER REVIEW! (SPOILER-FREE)
Ever since we first saw T’Challa in Civil War, I’ve been itching to see Wakanda, and to see Chadwick Boseman hold his own in Black Panther’s first solo outing. Eighteen movies in, and we’re still seeing new, refreshing stories and directions! It’s about time we get to see the supremely dynamic world that the Black Panther universe supplies.
The secret African nation is under disarray, so it’s up to T’Challa to not only bring balance, but to figure out a way to maintain it – all whilst trying to stay under the radar from the rest of the world. It’s hard to be a good man as well as a King, according to T’Challa’s Father (from the trailer), and you see exactly what he means throughout the film in different aspects, topics and scenarios. There is a lot of dialogue and general conversation regarding Africa as a whole, the current/relevant state of the world, and the morals and ethics of possessing wealth and safety whilst keeping all of it a secret. I can imagine some topics hitting close to home for a lot of people. They’re certainly not the premise/plot of the film, but those tidbits are definitely there for you to think about or see/listen to at face value.
Director, Ryan Coogler brings Wakanda and it’s characters to life brilliantly. The Afrofuturism is off the chain – there’s a mixture of high tech architecture and traditional African colours and styles. The fact that we’ve seen outer space and Asgard (Guardians and Thor), you’d think we’ve seen it all… and to think that the most advanced and asthetically appealing enviroment has been sat hiding on Earth all this time! The cinematography and the design of Wakanda is truly immersive, making you feel like you’re no longer even on this planet. The differing tribes bring their own vibes to the forefront, so when they’re all together, you have a rich abundance of culture. Black Panther’s fighting style is very close quarters, and it seems that everyone else in Wakanda follows that same style. It was great to see these advanced claws, swords and spears in battle as apposed to a giant firefight. It’s a great twist on what is considered primitive, seeing as though all of Wakanda’s tools and weapons are deadlier and more advanced than any actual firearm.
Boseman, along with his co-stars feel like they were born in Wakanda… to the point where you forget that the whole nation is completley fictional. Their dialect and accents help make things all that more authentic – kind of like Tolkien’s Middle Earth with made-up languages – it makes everything feel real. T’Challa is of course the main character in the story, but Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyon’go) and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) all feel on par with the King. A King is only as good as his people after all. All the ladies kick as much butt as Black Panther himself! The Dora Milaje move as one unit and take each other into account when attacking, so you have this force that comes at you from all sides. The whole cast were able to shift from fun to serious with ease. Also, we hadn’t seen T’Challa evoke anything other than sorrow and anger in Civil War, so it was nice to see the character given some extra layers and dimensions. The. Cast. Was. Amazing!
There is a good balance of drama and action too. Some parts feel like an espionage film, whilst others feel like cut throat political tension (I also got a mini Game of Thrones feel from all the different tribes, all of which had a right to the throne).
The soundtrack and score were superb. If you pay attention to the music throughout these movies, you’ll notice that each film has its own sound, which gives it its own flavour and personality. This is used to the film’s advantage in this case especially, as we get to hear an exceptional twist on the traditional ‘Superhero’ score. As well as the typical “triumphant” melodies that back up the hero’s journey, we also get a load of classic African instruments and tones at the same time, creating a hybrid of what we’re used to and something that was previously, dare I say, more or less alien to the audience (when it comes to the MCU). I found myself bopping my head slightly when the badass orchestral music was accompanied with the beautiful sounds of Wakanda’s continent.
As a whole, Black Panther stands out a hell of a lot more than most of the other MCU movies, and it certainly deserves its own pedastal, as it is truly like no other. In some ways, it didn’t feel like an MCU movie (in a good way!) simply because of how different it was to what we’ve seen before. In other words, it wasn’t “just” an MCU installment… it was so much more. I love it. The score, the action, the drama, the style as a whole – it was killer! The cast was perfection and I can’t wait to see Wakanda again in Infinity War (Thanos may be a force to be reckoned with, but so is Black Panther and his people!) I also can’t wait to watch it again tomorrow!
Have you seen it yet? Let me know what you think in the comments! And of course, no spoilers!