In preparation for Avengers: Infinity War, I’m watching all the Marvel Studios movies leading up to it.
Black Panther (2018)
Wow. Here it is. The final movie in my MCU re-watch. This one, I had to go back to a theater for. I wish I’d gotten back to the theater a little earlier, as the movie was now in one of the older theaters at the multiplex and it showed, as the bulb seemed weak in the projector, meaning everything wasn’t quite as bright as the first time I saw it in IMAX. Still, it was just as great as the first time.
My main connection to Black Panther was the excellent run by Christopher Priest as part of the Marvel Knights imprint that Joe Quesada oversaw in the 90s. It was a fantastic run, and really brought the character to life for me. I’ve read a couple issues of the new run by Ta Nehisi Coates and really enjoyed it. But I decided to wait for the trades to read the run, and I have a nice hardcover waiting for me. All that being said, I was impressed by the introduction to the character in Civil War. Visually, it’s hard to imagine him looking cooler. But nothing quite prepared me for his dedicated full-length feature.
The movie has been a box-office marvel (pun SO intended) even by, er, Marvel standards. It’s a really well constructed movie narratively. The character stuff here, especially around Killmonger, is fantastic. He’s so strong, he does threaten to eclipse T’Challa in some ways. But I don’t see that as a flaw, really. Part of the point of the movie is that T’Challa is made stronger by the people he surrounds himself. His mother, his sister, Nakia, the Dora Milage, and eventually Ross. There are so many lovely moments, and almost all my favorite moments are character moments. The way M’Baku surprises us, the audience, in his mountain home. The moments between T’Challa and Shuri. Really, ever freaking scene Shuri is in. She plays off of everyone so well. Okoye throwing her wig as part of her fighting technique was awesome as well.
The look of the picture is really awesome. I love all the design and costume work. It feels like a really unique identity, while at the same time embracing the “just go for it” boldness that Guardians and Thor Ragnarok displays.
If I have one complaint, it’s that there’s too much CGI in the final Killmonger/Black Panther battle. It just takes me out of it, some. I much prefer the fights on the waterfall. The fact that pretty much every other action sequence works so well helps. I just wish they relied a little more on practical effects at times. But that’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. I’m really excited to see where T’Challa’s story goes next. And certainly excited to see Wakanda again in a couple days in Infinity War!