movies: black panther

black panther: long live the king
While the overall quality of Marvel movies is pretty high, every now and again they absolutely hit something out of the park.

Black Panther is that something.

Writer/director Ryan Coogler and his co-writer Joe Robert Cole have put together a story that both fits the mould of a Marvel movie but at the same time breaks it. It's an origin story without being an origin story since everything you need to know about the origins of the Black Panther is covered in the opening narration.

And for once there's a villain character that actually has a personality and more of a backstory than any of the previous ones.

A lot of this is the story, some of this is the directing, but I think that a lot of it comes down to the fact that Coogler has put together an outstandingly talented cast. There really isn't a single bad performance from anyone in this movie.

Chadwick Boseman showed us what he was capable of in Captain America: Civil War and he continues to do that in this movie but at the risk of having the internet beat me up and steal my lunch money, as good as Boseman is, he's probably one of the least interesting (major) character in Black Panther.

And a lot of that is because of the women of Black Panther... Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia... hell, even Angela Bassett as Ramonda... these are strong, capable women with personalities and dimension. For me though, it's all about Gurira, she manages to make the warrior general of the king's guard interesting, funny, graceful, strong and magnetic. And watching her and some of the other Dora Milaje when they're being bodyguards... they never stop looking around, scanning everything and everyone. It was a tiny detail but they got it so spot on and it added so much.

Michael B. Jordan plays, I think it's safe to say, the most interesting Marvel movie villain yet. And the one who looks absolutely amazing with his shirt off too. But the character has actual reasons for what he's doing and while what he wants to do is bad, he's doing it for the right reasons.

That's one of the things that struck me about this story to be honest... there are many conflicting viewpoints and some people clearly want to do or are doing "the wrong thing", but almost everyone is coming at it from the exact same place or as I said before, for either right or understandable reasons... which is fairly unique is superhero movies in general and Marvel movies specifically.

And speaking of beautiful men... Winston Duke sprawled on his throne in his mountain lair is a beautiful man. But again, M'Baku is the kind of character you don't expect to be who he turns out to be. Which just proves how much Coogler understands character and story.

I also think the fact that Coogler brought people he's worked with before over to work on this movie, including cinematographer Rachel Morrison, production designer Hannah Beachler and composer Ludwig Göransson... which was obviously a very good choice. Especially the former two, because this movie looks amazing.

From the aforementioned mountain lair throne room to all of the costumes, weapons, buildings, all of the graphic design, basically everything visual. It's all so, so good.

If I had any quibbles, it would be the very, very, very minor one that I kind of prefer the Black Panther costume from Civil War, mostly because of how much I was in love with the first helmet. But they've changed the Captain America suit, what, like five times now? I'll survive.

Given how much money this took on it's opening weekend, I'm not sure I need to suggest to anyone that they should go and see this movie... but just in case... go and see this movie.

yani's rating: 5 vibranium gadgets out of 5

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