sat 17/03/2018

Black Panther review - more meh than marvellous | reviews, news & interviews

Black Panther review - more meh than marvellous

Black Panther review - more meh than marvellous

The Marvel movie made by black talent takes itself too seriously

Chadwick Boseman and Daniel Kaluuya in 'Black Panther'

Black Panther arrives with all the critics displaying superhero-sized goodwill for its very existence. It’s a big budget mainstream Marvel movie that not only features a nearly all-black cast, but it also has an African-American writer director (Ryan Coogler) and co-screenwriter (Joe Robert Cole). And it was lensed by Rachel Morrison, tipped to become the first woman to win the best director of photography Oscar for her work on Mudbound.

So why am I going to be a miserable sod and say it’s all a bit meh? I don’t think it’s just I’m too old  the two teenage Marvel fanboys I took along were underwhelmed, too. We saw it in a sold-out cinema on its opening day surrounded by young black people and there was not a lot of enthusiastic energy coming from the audience. What’s the problem? Well, there’s way too much expository dialogue and there are too many turgid flashbacks detailing the history of the legendary, secretive African kingdom of Wakanda and its relation to the rest of the world to be quite bearable. And the hand-to-hand fighting and battle sequences are now so formulaic and predictable in Marvel films that the adrenaline just doesn’t kick in.

There’s also not enough of that handbrake-turn humour and self-referential ironic dialogue that made the first Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy movies great. The scenes with Andy Serkis, playing a truly evil South African assassin, are fun but he’s out of the movie too swiftly and there isn’t enough of tribal warlord MBaku (Winston Duke), who has an excellent ability to redirect racist stereotypes with comedy. Sadly, Black Panther is just a bit too worthy and even my 13-year-old got bored of the endless "daddy issues" in the narrative and was a touch underwhelmed by the superhero costumes. There were moments when The Lion King and Power Rangers crossed our minds and not in a good way.Black PantherThere are some real pleasures – the British actress Letitia Wright is a blast of total freshness as Black Panther’s princess sister Shuri. She is more interested in designing and demonstrating her extraordinary superweapons arsenal than dressing up in ceremonial corsets  think Q in the Bond movies replaced by a deliciously spiky young woman. There are several other seriously feisty women fighters, and Lupita Nyong'o as the Panther's love interest delivers some subtle challenges to gender stereotypes. It’s also a treat to see an older generation of great African-American actors get a decent role on screen; Angela Bassett (pictured above with Letitia Wright) and Forest Whitaker acquit themselves well.

But Chadwick Boseman (as Black Panther) and Daniel Kaluuya (as his rival/ally W’Kabi) are entrusted with roles that require such tormented gravitas and Nelson Mandela-ish accents that it’s hard not to miss their more nuanced, energised performances in Get On Up and Get Out. Black Panther is not utterly without charm. The production design is rather fabulous, fusing African tribal townscapes and costuming with sci-fi futurist fantasia  referencing films from Metropolis to Blade Runner. Perhaps it’s a film to go to without the high expectations, but time will tell if the initial hype pays off in the kind of repeat viewings that really make a great Marvel film a box office wipe-out.

The hand-to-hand fighting and battle sequences are now so formulaic that the adrenaline just doesn’t kick in


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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This movie is not overhyped like The Last Jedi (which was good but not great). Although this movie is warm and sometimes funny, like Iron Man and GotG which you referenced,, it has genuine drama with some of the best dialog in any recently released movie. There’s a reason why even the British have referred to this film as Shakespearean. There was only 1 “flasback” explaining Wakanda. There were 3 sequences, of less than 2-mins each, shot in vivid color with dream-like qualities in which the antagonist and protagonist speak with their ancestors. These sequences explain character motivation and, in the case of the antagonist, help humanize his character. How is it you missed this and got the flashbacks so wrong? Your counterparts -the ones who didn’t miss these things because they are described in one way or another in their reviews - perhaps like this movie because they were paying attention.

I agree this person must be a white person who is just mad it wasn’t an all white cast

The color of the cast has nothing to do with the fact that the movie while enjoyable was a disappointment in the MCU. Doesn’t even come close to the last 3: Ragnarok, Homecoming, and Volume 2.

It has a great cast, several great scenes, but it was boring overall, and most of the actors looked awkward (not sure if it was the accents, the script, or the production in general, but it was hard to stay "in" the movie). It's not because the cast was black, but sadly, the faults will unfortunately be more heavily criticized in this movie by closeted racists than other Marvel movies. My spouse is black, and we saw this with our Mexican friends. I'm the only one in the group who didn't fall asleep.

this critic was actually lenient, I saw and it was really bad

OK, If I understand you correctly you are saying if a person (A white person) doesn't like this movie then they are racist! Give me a break! You sound like the biggest racist around.

Will a person who happens to be white ever be able to make a criticism of a film or actor that is not white and not be a racist? Your assumption that the critique of the film is by a black hating white person is juvenile and insulting. Maybe the film should be seen because it is good and not because it is an all black cast. I have not seen the film yet. I hope it is great. I am a big Marvel fan and really like the Black Panther character. Not because he is black - because he kicks ass!

Please stop. Are only angry white people not allowed to like this film? There are many black peple in my family and I, despite not being black, d not identify as white. We all wanted to love this film but the fact that it is about an African superhero and has an almost all black cast does not turn it from a mediocre production to an outstanding one. I wanted to love this but I got bored and was disappointed by: Bad accents, other than Lupita Nyong'o. Yes Wakanda is fictional but it is not in a fictional continent. It is in Africa, East Africa to be precise. They should sound East African. BP sounded like An American trying to sound like Nelson Mandela but failing. - Lacklustre soundtrack. At times (the first ritual fight) it was like the sound designer pressed their "African Drums" button on their Casio keyboard. - Wooden and dull Black Panther. Snooooze. He was so boring to watch. The character that really did have a story to tell was and was exciting to watch on screen was Erik Killmonger. He was abandoned after his father was killed. He's a revolutionary who wants to continue his fathers mission but jaded by anger and a ned for revenge. He turned up had a few fights and died (probably). - Unimaginative visual aesthetic for Wakanda, the most advanced civilisation on Earth. Just lloked like a futurustic Western city with a few more jacked edges. Doesn't really live up t the comicbook illustrations. No impact. -Where were the people of Wakanda. We just saw some Royals and Tribe leaders. I mean, where were those trains going? Who was on them? -Why was I supposed to care about these characters. Other than the fact that Wakanda is really advanced, why shouldn't Erik have his way fir his father's murder? -Really slow plot development. I literally almost walked out. I could go on. This film is a 6.5 out of 10. 7 if you're in a really good mood. The amazing film that everybody is talking about hasn't been made yet. I hope the next one lives up to some of the better examples from Marvels competitors, DC, like Batman Returns.

Shakespearean ha ha, never read so much nonsense in all my life. Just one more generic Marvel film that has a 7/10 rating from fans and was over-hyped by critics and little kids.

Thank you so much. This is the first review I've seen that touches on how banal and contrived this production seems. Additionally you touched only three only two actors I believe made this movie worthwhile. Lupita and Letita. So many overwhelmingly positive reviews. Thank you for not making me feel like I'm the crazy one anymore.

I agree with you Baron, completely. I'm sure there will be hoards of Kool-Aid drinkers like the above who will harangue you for not join the snowflake mentality of everything white bad, everything black good. If this were ANY other IP, it would have been savaged by any honest journalist. There's no "there" there. Nothing of interest or substance. No real style or skill. No well-drawn character. The Shakespeare is a weak photocopy of the Lion King, which it itself cribbed from Hamlet, but there's nothing new or interesting to be seen. It's silly and nonsensical. The fights are boring. The plot is formulaic. It's just trying too hard to be Africa. I lived in Africa. I know, somewhat, what actual Africans are like. They don't take every chance to look like some over zealous Cross Colours ad from 1991. It'd be nice to see them relaxing in sweats instead of some ridiculous outfit in every single scene. Andy Serkis was wonderful as Klaw. The sister was hilarious. Bilbo was enjoyable as Agent Ross and Michael B. Jordan almost succeeded as Killmonger. There was a seen where Michael B. Jordan talks about how being buried at sea, like slaves plunging off a ship to escape slavery, would be preferable to captivity. If the movie was honest, T'Challa would have replied, you know it was the village elders who sold their own people into slavery, right?

The barbaric slavery system in the West was much different than what was practiced in Africa. "The setting up of collaborators among the colonized population has been a successful tool of domination in every instance of European colonialism around the world. Africa is no exception. Europeans attack societies in Africa, Asia, or the Americas, destroying their traditional economies and long-standing social relationships. A unilateral colonial economy, which starves the people and creates the dependency on the colonial power, is militarily enforced. The European invader gets richer and richer through his bloodsucking relationship, and offers resources, guns and special status to a minority sector of the oppressed population. The selected “elite” or the colony can themselves become enslaved or carry out the will of white power. If they take any stand independent of the colonizer as have, say, Panama’s Noriega or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in today’s world, white power spares them none of its wrath."

But slavery practiced by africans was a "good kind" of slavery then? :)

You should research it for yourself to answer your question.

Thanks for your honesty. I thought me and the friends I went with were the only people in the world who thought this was a terrible film. Its not about racism. If a movie is bad its bad whether its a cast of white people or black people.

I really wanted to enjoy this film. And I was looking forward to it after all raving reviews I read. But sadly, it is just another cookie cutter superhero marvel movie with way too much expository dialogue with action scenes that we've all seen before. And I just did not care about the plot - at all. It seemed rather small to me, considering we all know a gigantic invasion is about to take place very soon on earth in the marvel universe. Plus, thanks to the trailers, we all know Black Panther survives this be in Infinity Wars. It just seemed like a wasted opportunity. I wish the plot was at least tied in some way to what is about to happen instead of something that doesn't really make much difference. And it was just waaay too long as well. Too bad. Like I wrote, I wanted to like it.

Thank you. This movie was so damn boring and I’m glad someone was finally brave enough to say it.

Could not agree more! Not sure if everyone is trying to be too PC these days to be honest. Visually appealing but it was boring in comparison to a few other Marvel films.


Watch out now! If you are white and give a negative review you will be branded a racist.

I went into the theater with an open mind and no expectations. To me MCU films are hit and miss and this one was a miss for me. The best thing about this film was the supporting cast who all performed superbly. Michael B. Jordan pulled off a good villain with style and swagger. The scene with him talking to his father in the spirit realm seemed genuine and felt appropriate for his character and to the plot as a whole. The appearance of Black Panther in Civil War was pretty cool, but here I found the character a little one dimensional. Where the film started to lose me was with all the CGI. Yes, it was creative in its depiction of Wakanda, but something didn't seem right compared to films like District 9 and Chappie where the make believe merged incredibly with reality. The action sequences lacked something also. I'm not sure if it was the lighting or direction, but I was not convinced of any peril facing the heroes. If you want to experience a cultural and action packed blockbuster, I highly suggest watching the Tamil/Hindi films Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion.

Thanks for the very honest review. Agree with your points fully. Good job and keep it up! Look forward to your next review.

The review is correct. The Black Panther could have been a dark, exciting Batman meets Spawn hero. But even if I overlook the misguided political- social commentary, I can't forgive a superhero movie if it bores....

The movie sucked! It is one of marvels most boring! My family is from east Africa and the accents in the movie were all over the place. The CGI was ropey in places and what the hell was with the action scenes? We didnt even get a glimpse of life for the average Wakanden. They didnt even explain how vibranium allowed all the tech especially the healing, are we to just guess how an alien metal which can deflect/reflect energy magically fixes bullet wounds and allows for amazing tech? The whole movie was sold to black people who have no interest in comics. Marvel just ignored the fans who have made them who they are to sell a boring movie to race obsessed afrocentric divisionists who actually think africans would be advanced if it wasnt for europeans? The people saying this is some how a cultural phenomenon are idiots! Vibranium and purple heart shaped herbs DO NOT EXIST! Swedes and Norwegians didnt go nuts over Thor! This is fantasy not politics, just give us the movies we the comic fans deserve not a movie designed for racists!

Three words, people: Armored. Battle. Rhinos. Everyone in the theater broke out in unintentional laughter when they made their appearance.

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