Lets get into this 12384955790th review of Marvel’s Black Panther…. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Disclaimer: I’ve only seen it once, so i may not remember everything accurately. Since i saw it, ive also made the effort to stay away from any detailed reviews of the film, to ensure any opinion i form is based solely on my first impression/interpretation. I even avoided my facebook comments, but i’m ready for them now 😀 .. And i shan’t be proofreading this, so take my english as is please… lol
And now for the feature presentation…
Originally, i was going to summarize my thoughts on the movie into one fb post, and another even shorter tweet, and be done. Actually i kinda, sorta did.. saying “ummmm… so i saw Black Panther (yikes emoji)”.
However, that would be doing the film a gross disservice, because i actually have quite a bit more to say about it than that. To properly assess the film, i’ve found it necessary to divide this piece into two parts: Black Panther the Movie, and Black Panther the Moment.
Black Panther The Moment.
Black Panther has created a defining moment in film history for one simple reason: Black representation matters.
Not only is there a dearth of minority ethnic representation in mainstream media period, there is an even more acute shortage of positive portrayals of minorities. That a film with a black cast, and a black director and writers, was greenlit with a 200m plus budget is huge. That the gamble has payed of in the most amazing way is a game changer. Black Panther is putting numbers on the boards! It’s broken multiple box office records and is showing no signs of slowing down.
And for once, it’s not a film about surviving the Antebellum South/Jim Crow/the Hood during the 80′ crack epidemic etc etc. (Not that there isnt a powerful message in any of those narratives).
Rather, it is a film about the world’s richest, most technically advanced nation, and the people who live their best lives in that paradise, just being beautiful, bad- ass, and blackety black black black..and i liveth.
The most important thing to note here is the precendent this sets. It is the strongest possible message to send a commerically driven Hollywood. People WANT to see more movies with black people in them, and are willing to pay good american dollars for the priviledge. The next person who walks into a boardroom with a pitch for an expensive film with a non-white cast wont get laughed out the door. Ofcourse i understand that it is a Marvel superhero movie, and was always going to do numbers based on that.. but no one expected it to be this huge.
OK.. now to the other “moment” this film supposedly creates: an African cultural experience/appreaciation and dialogue about the fractured African/Black American relationship.
Myeah..no.. lol. This is where the discourse about the film starts to get Lemonady i.e ascribing all manner of lofty attributes that arent supported by the text itself.
Wrapping your head with an ankara scarf, dotting white paint on your face, and watching a movie with a hodge-podge mix of visual artefacts of African cultures is not what i call a cultural experience.. at least not one that isnt the most superficial experience possible. You learn absolutely nothing from that. It’s just cosplay at that point, and even worse, cosplay of extant cultures that people generally dont think are worth going out of their way to learn about.
Infact, im going there… its actually cultural appropriation and not participation that people seem to be patting themselves on their back at having done. If you are wearing Kente, but have no clue that it comes from Ghana, nor it’s significance to the people there, what’s been achieved, except you looking cute? As i said to my friend Ehwi, the same number of people going into this thinking Africa is a country and not caring who Patrice Lumumba is, are the same number of people coming out. This is no cultural experience.. so let’s not. Ive been slightly irritated as well by African’s who are showing up at the theatres basically cosplaying themselves… i mean…really.
Furthermore, my takeaway from the film in regards to Killmonger’s motivations, are that he was upset Wakanda left both him, and millions of black diasporans helpless, when it had the means to change all their lives.
That couldn’t be more different from the reality of Africa vis a vis the Diaspora. We can barely help ourselves right now, let alone anyone else ( dont at me, its true). The Black/African relationship IS fraught, but for a whole nother set of reasons which i blame on each side having bought into the stereotypical negative portrayals of the other.
Africans think blacks are under educated, violent and unmotivated and tell our kids not to go out there and be like those “akatas” or “jamaicans”, without putting any effort into understanding the centuries of institutional oppression that caused much of this, and ignoring those that overcame it. We instead spend our days trying to be the “model minority” engaged in respectability politics and avoiding causes like Black Lives Matter. And Black Americans are on to us for it… but also spent their youths laughing at African accents, hair, darkness, obsession with whitey, and thinking we “bootyscratchers” live in huts in the savannah and are disease and poverty ridden. So myeah… there are issues, but not the ones in the movie.
Black Panther the Movie
..had plot, pacing and cgi issues. Please tell me why the ‘last show’ took place in such a dimly lit, muddly looking location that it took me a minute to figure out Killmonger had been fatally stabbed. Herh. lol
Also the motion cgi in some of those scenes where SO dated. Mtchew.
It dragged in the beginning, and after the first hour or so i leaned over to my friend and asked ” so where is the movie? Is this it or?”. And then the last act was SO rushed. T’Challa was “dead” for 5 minutes max. lol
And those godforsaken accents.. hah my gawd! When Andy Serkis’ Klaue ( who was delightfully unhinged and fantastic!), has the most convincing accent out of all the non africa-raised cast, that’s a problem. Even Daniel Kaluya was tripping. smh. ( Plus the less said about his character W’kabi’s epic flipflop, the better. WTF??)
Is it really that hard to do a decent African accent we can attribute to an actual country, not this strange made in Hollywood African accent everyone goes for?
That said, no Marvel movie has ever tried to ask or say more than Black Panther, and i commend them for that.
They have also created a “villian” in Eric Killmonger that is the best in the whole MCU ( Loki is an asshole because its his nature, Eric got reasons).
The rest of the cast are extremely likeable and instant favourites… M’Baku and Okoye stole the movie, Nakia, Shuri, Killmonger, Klaue, The Dora Milajae.. everyone had their moment to shine…and then there’s T’Challa.
It pains me to say this, considering he was one of the best things about Civil War.. he’s not even in my top 3 favs here.
When he re-appeared from the dead i was like.. look sweety, you had your chance and you blew it, now kindly let Eric’s fine ass destroy the world in peace. LOL. And that was NOT what the script wanted me to feel, im sure.
But T’Challa was a straightman to the point of being borderline dull. No bueno. I hope he stole his wardrobe though because he looked goodt af in them. lol.
And i have high hopes for him in Infinity War, maybe even the BP sequel.. but he was boxed in by the script here.
Ok this is long enough.. too long even … so lets continue the debate in the comments.