Marvel Fatigue and Black Panther


Praise Eteng '18

Black Panther is an average, inoffensive movie that does nothing to deviate from the norm. It’s not a bad movie, but it certainly isn’t great. It’s just lukewarm, which is a bit of a disappointment because there was so much going for this film; it has a loaded cast in Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and others. In addition to a fantastic director in Ryan Coogler, and a unique score from Ludwig Göransson. With all this talent, we’re given another superhero movie. Before I get more into the negatives let me start with what I liked. The performances are good, not only from the lead actors, but from the supporting actors as well. Andy Serkis is very entertaining in what little screen time he has. Letitia Wright is also very good as Shuri; she even holds her own when she is on the screen with Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett. The costume design is fantastic; it utilizes African culture, but also makes it futuristic. The design helps in making Wakanda a place of its own, separating it from other futuristic Marvel movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor. The musical score is great, which is nice because Marvel movies tend to have bland, forgettable music. So it was nice that they had a score that elevated the movie. Finally I must say that the story was better than most Marvel films. The theme of learning from the past and fixing those mistakes is refreshing and helps heighten Black Panther above other Marvel movies.

Now, for the negatives. I thought the fight scenes are either poorly shot or just full of special effects making it hard to know what’s going on. In the beginning of the movie there is a fight scene that is shot at night with a handheld camera, so it is almost impossible to tell what is going on. Additionally, the final fight is a CGI mess, with people and objects flying back and forth with no rhyme or rhythm. Also some fight scenes drag on for too long, making them boring. Another issue is with the villain Erik Killmonger. His motivation made sense and his goal was admirable. It made me almost understand him, but the way the writers have him achieve his goal makes him fall flat. I’ll try to keep it spoiler free but his plan is basically to have Wakanda share their weapons with insurgents to overthrow those in power. Does he not realize how illogical that is? Of all the things Wakanda is advanced in why sell weapons? That’s exactly how terrorist groups like the Taliban (or The Ten Rings if we wanna stay in the MCU) were formed, and those are probably the people he fought when he was in the army! Marvel had the chance of creating a villain as great as the Joker, Magneto, or even the Vulture, but they wanted to play it safe and we’re left with another villain that will be forgotten.

Another small issue that the film had is the country of Wakanda. We get a hint of the culture and the people there, but I wish there was more. It’s supposed to be this vast, rich country, but we only see a few places making it feel more like a city. The final issues are things that most Marvel movies have: almost no blood (even though someone’s throat gets slit open right in front of the camera), the big CGI battle to end the movie, the lack of surprises and twists throughout the movie, lack of development in some characters, the protagonist fighting an evil version of themself, characters that no one cares about dying and we’re supposed to care about it, et cetera et cetera. Black Panther has a good amount of issues like other Marvel movies but it’s strong story does help put it a step above others. If I had to give a rating, it’d be a 6/10. However, I’d still recommend that you watch it.