The Cambridge Geek

Black Panther

The last Marvel film I watched was Thor: Ragnarok, and it didn't really impress me. It struggled to find its position on the comedy-drama scale, and didn't really do well at either. Black Panther knows exactly where it sits, and maintains that tone perfectly throughout.

It's mostly dramatic, with the only comedy elements being either the personalities of Klaue and Killmonger (who are brilliant at it) or the small bits of dry wit peppered throughout the dialogue. None of it ever feels silly, even if it occasionally overdoes the superhero aspect, mostly by having a bit too much fighting. A little less action at some spots might have helped. (Especially when the CGI gets more obvious.)

Part of the reason for the excellent quality is that it's telling a very personal tale, with the overarching villainy plot being well grounded in the familial conflicts of the Wakandan people. It humanises the villain more than we usually see, and gives the whole piece an impressively deep emotional resonance, especially with the running theme of fathers and sons.

The story does float around a little bit as to what it thinks it is. There's mostly traditional superheroing in here, but the middle third does a rather impressive version of the James Bond trope. There's gadgets, car chases, a fight in a casino and a brilliant version of Q in the form of T'Challa's little sister, played by Letitia Wright.

She's fun, but the whole cast is impressively strong. Boseman is a good centre, but honestly best person in it is Gurira. Absolutely delightful in her sarcastic approach to deference, as well as a very convincing soldier forced to follow a leader she doesn't approve of. She's also the first person I've seen use a wig as an offensive weapon.

Also had a very deep atmosphere. The soundtrack was nicely percussive, with some good thumpy tracks, which I'm always fond of. And the costuming, according to the Girl is remarkably modern and likely to lead to a new trend. She was impressed when we saw them last year.

London Comic Con.

The effects were generally pretty good, and I particularly enjoyed the sand based holographic systems and the initial scene which gave a background to Wakanda with more of the neat sandinesss. Reminded me of the Netflix Daredevil opening, though with rather more dynamism. And how many other films get war rhinos?

Definitely one of the best Marvel films out thus far. I'm very late getting to it, so you've probably already seen it, but if you've not, you should.

Score 5

Tagged: Film Superhero Marvel Fiction Cinema