Black Panther

A Film Review by Joseph Waukechon black panther movie poster

Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on the comic book character of the same name, the film stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, ruler of the fictional and fantastical African nation of Wakanda, who undergoes an almost Shakespearian symphony of turmoil when a ruthless outsider named Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) challenges him for the throne.

It’s likely readers have heard some of the buzz for this movie, all of which burst with zeal at the cinematic tour de force and are completely justified. It’s no secret lately that we as a nation have been in a regressive backslide socially, as the smug ogres who prowl the web and seek to discredit the idea of equal rights seem to be getting louder and harder to ignore. Coogler claims the film’s timing was unintentional, but we can certainly add satisfying to the positive adjectives the film supplies. Despite the certain wails of bigotry, the movie continues to snowball into Marvel’s magnum opus.

The film feels so much more like the celebration we wanted than the finger-wagging we needed. Politics aside, this film seems to scrap the cliched ‘superhero movie’ story and go for a whole new concept of story.  It’s a major risk that pays off beautifully. Coogler seems to beam with pride over his African roots, as his artistic voice is clear. While remaining grounded and somewhat stoic, the film still is a fireworks display of African culture, music and art. Anyone remotely fond of anything African will find this film dizzyingly fun to look at while being enthralled at the performances of Boseman, Nyong’o, Jordan, Kani and Basset. This is an amazing movie, especially as a die-hard fan of the source material. Black Panther in comics has always held a more mystical and solemn tone than fare such as Spiderman or Deadpool, which the movie parrots. And as I say farewell to being the only guy in the room whose favorite Marvel hero is Black Panther, I ring in the new age where this amazing character is given the recognition and celebration he deserves.

One small flaw of the film is the semi-inconsistent quality of CGI. While the Black Panther and Golden Jaguar suits move and glimmer like reality, a character with a missing arm and some of the sequences featuring rhinos feel a little sloppy. I also felt Daniel Kaluuya’s performance was a little stale and underplayed his character’s significance. 

Small nitpicks aside, this movie is a dazzling new world and phenomenal step in the right direction for Marvel. Although the civil rights theme is actually subtler than you’d think, I truly hope the underprivileged African-American fans of Captain America and Thor look up at this movie and think, I really CAN be anything.
Now, when the first Native American superhero is onscreen, hopefully I’ll be right here, praising that too. 

Joseph Waukechon is a Menominee and Chippewa college student, who’s officially enrolled in the Chippewa Tribe. He has always had a deep and laughably emotional love for film.  He enjoys celebrating and rejecting them, but always giving credit where credit is due.