Disclaimer: The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of allgames.com.
Introduction to the Black Panther Movie Review by Ms. H
Many of you may have been hyped to see the Black Panther movie in theatres. I was interested in this movie as well. In fact, I was trying to decide if I should see Black Panther in either RPX, 3D or the standard format. Probably like you, I also went to see the movie on opening night, anticipating to be among the first to see this groundbreaking, block-buster movie. However, to say that I was happy I saved money by seeing the movie in regular standard format is an understatement. Unfortunately, my high expectations of the Black Panther movie were quickly deflated.
Casting of Characters in Black Panther Movie
You may remember the actor from the Rocky Stallone movie, Michael B. Jordan. He played the role of an underdog who triumphantly trained and in an attempt to win the fight of his life. Michael B. Jordan’s persona matches that particular role; however, he was miscast as the villain Erik “Killmonger” Stevens in Black Panther. It was difficult for me to imagine him as a villain even though he tried to change his looks with his dreadlocks hair-do. To me, he is best cast as either a victim who rises up similar to the role he had in the Rocky Stallone movie or maybe even a superhero of sorts. In my opinion, he did not fit the part of the villainous Stevens which he played in Black Panther. I wanted him to be on the side of Black Panther, instead of against him simply because he gave me vibes as a “good guy.”
On the other hand, Andy Serkis who played the part of the villain, Ulysses Klaue fit the role perfectly. You could just look at him and tell by his appearance that he was up to no good. This was not the case for Michael B. Jordan as Stevens. Of course in movies sometimes you have people who are miscast in these roles intentionally, but in Black Panther, I think the casting person or staff mistakenly thought that Michael B. Jordan could play the part of a villain – which he could not.
For the most part, the other characters were cast adequately, including Chadwick Boseman who played the main character of T’Challa or Black Panther. However, I was not impressed by Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia who was his romantic interest. I was also not a fan of the fake African accents that some of the characters used.
By the way, I wonder what happened to Black Panther being a block-buster movie with an all-Black cast. From my recollection of seeing the movie, looks like this was false advertising. I think this news should not have been leaked if it was not factual.
Consistency in Black Panther Movie
As I alluded to earlier, I saw Black Panther simply in anticipation of being entertained and not to notice the various inconsistencies in the movie. Without going into detail, since you may want to see the movie if you have not already done so -- there is inconsistency in the king “ritual” relative to Forest Whitaker’s character. Watch Whitaker’s face closely during both rituals (yes, there are two king rituals) and you will know what I’m talking about. Either he didn’t feel it was necessary to be consistent in this part or thought the audience would not notice. Unfortunately, I did.
The Setting of Black Panther Movie
You may know that Africa is a gigantic continent brimming with natural resources. In fact Africa is the second largest continent in the world in size and population behind Asia. Africa is so large astronauts can see it from space. On the flip side, Africa is also one of the poorest countries. That being said, I see Black Panther as a superhero, similar to Spider-Man, Superman and others. I believe Black Panther is from Africa. However, regardless of where Black Panther is from, I think the setting of the movie should have been Africa or America, not a hodge podge of both locations.
In the movie, Wakanda which is fictionally located in Africa is depicted as a technologically advanced area. The movie scenes were quite impressive showing their medical facilities and other facilities. However, the movie scenes went back and forth to America and then to Africa. A decision to base the complete movie in the fictional technologically advanced Africa would have been a win, with maybe a few flashback scenes to America. The scenes were possible due to CGI so this could have done easily to show more of technologically advanced Wakanda in Africa.
Historical Inferences and Treatment of Characters in Black Panther Movie
In one of the scenes, when a Caucasian tried to speak while in the presence of Black Panther’s rival, he was quickly silenced by the character and others making noises that sounded like “Woo..Woo..Woo” which started off low than built up very loudly. I guess the sounds were some form of communications. Black Panther’s rival then said the character was not allowed to speak. My question is, if he was not allowed to speak, why was he a character in the movie at all. Maybe the movie crowd saw this as a sign of power to deny someone the right to speak, because there was clapping when this part of the movie was shown. Of course, depending on where you see the movie, the audience may not respond the same. This was the response from the movie audience from the showing that I attended. I thought denying someone to speak was a down-turn in the movie, especially since he was not an enemy.
Another word thrown in by Black Panther's sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright was she called a character a “colonizer." I’m not a proponent of mixing politics in a made-for-entertainment type movie.
Family Connection Confusions in Black Panther
Again, not to spoil the movie, but there is a family relationship between Black Panther and Stevens, played by Michael B. Jordan. Apparently, Angela Bassett who played the part of Ramonda is called “Auntie” – a term I’ve never used but is used by some to identify their aunt. Regardless of terms used for relatives, I do not like watching movies that have an ambiguous family line. What I got from the movie is that Black Panther and Stevens have the same father, but his father left him in America while the Black Panther returned to Africa. From my purview, this relationship was confusing, and I do not think I should have to figure out who’s related to who when watching a movie.
Covert Symbols in Black Panther
I did not like the use of the ungainly rhinoceros in the Black Panther movie. Since when has a rhinoceros been the choice of transportation in battles in a movie, regardless of where the action occurred? It was odd to me that warriors would use the huge, unrideable rhinoceros as if they were horses in the movies. Rhinoceros are huge, heavy animals who enjoy muddling around in the mud. Some have been described as being untrainable, slow and other negative terms that I will not divulge here. Of all the animals in Africa, the warriors used these unlikely ones during battle. Why not use an animal that would be more plausible such as zebras or even giraffes if horses were not to be used.
Apparently this African tribe uses a huge statue of either a large monkey or a gorilla as an entrance statue to their location. This monkey was prominent in one of the scenes of the movie even if it was shown as a silhouette. It was a quick scene, so if you blinked your eyes, you may have missed it. But, it was there.
Additionally during the movie, Michael B. Jordan as the villain Stevens made a reference and I paraphrase here that “slaves drowned instead of facing the prospect of bondage.” My question here is why bring up slavery out of the blue which had nothing to do with the events in the movie.
Also, during a certain part of the movie, when some children saw a space ship land near them, why couldn’t they just be curious about the vessel and make a statement such as, "Wow! I wonder where this came from!” rather than erroneously stereotyping their dialogue by having them say “I bet I can sell this for parts” – referring to the space ship. I found this statement to be demeaning.
Comic Relief in Black Panther
You could count on Letitia Wright who played the part of Shuri for comic relief. She was cast well in her role and did an adequate job. However, I do not think she was believable as a warrior, when during the movie she portrayed herself as an inventor or researcher in the technological advanced Africa. For instance, could you imagine Alfred, Batman’s researcher, donning a costume and fighting alongside Batman? This would be a stretch for him and is one for Shuri even though she is much younger than Alfred. But actually did fight as a warrior in the movie.
Predictability of Black Panther
There are some interesting action scenes in Black Panther which is probably simple to create with the use of computers and technology. While these scenes may have looked impressive, unfortunately they did not make the movie. The Black Panther storyline should have kept my interest, but it didn’t. Anytime there was a setback for the Black Panther, you knew he would return somehow. Looking back on the movie, there was nothing unexpected that happened except for the first king rival fight, but that was expected as well.
Assessment of Black Panther
Overall, I found the Black Panther movie to be exhaustively long, predictable, uninteresting with quite a few undertones that I did not like. As discussed above, there were some noteworthy action scenes as well.
If there is a sequel to Black Panther here are my suggestions to make it a movie worth the hype.
- Keep Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther,
- Keep Angela Bassett as whatever Black Panther relative she played in the movie.
- Bring Michael B. Jordan back to life to fight alongside the Black Panther as his sidekick and a good guy, and make sure those spots on his body are erased.
- Cast another actress in the place of Lupita Nyong’o
- Limit the number of bald-headed women in the movie to the one that was played by Danai Gurari who did an adequate job without her look-a-likes
- Have the Black Panther fight crime in technological advanced Africa and maximize the technology.
- Refrain from any references to slavery in the movie unless it is a big part of the storyline.
- Start off the movie with a car chase scene similar to the scene where Black Panther was on top of cars to capture viewer interest early.
- Have actors talk in their normal voices without the fake accents
- Last but not least, if youth are in the movie, make them intelligent and curious about a spaceship landing, rather than out to make a quick buck by selling it for parts.
Rating of Black Panther
Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the best, I rate Black Panther one and three-quarters (1 3/4) stars.