February 22, 2018

Black Panther

AMC Aviation Plaza Linden with Sara!
The theater eventually filled up.
An excellent movie. Highly recommended.
A action-adventure superhero movie about Africans, made by black filmmakers and black actors, that does not concern itself with the needs and opinions of white folks, is long overdue and refreshing.
I also appreciated all the women in charge in Wakanda. No one even talks about it, they just get shit done. I especially liked Letitia Wright as Shuri, the royal gadget/tech genius - she charmed the whole crowd. She led T'Challa through her lab, demonstrating her future tech, just like Q in the James Bond movies, it was great.
I was expecting more of a globe-trotting Iron Man-style action movie, but Black Panther was mostly a Shakespearean royal intrigue drama as T'Challa struggles with the loss of his father the king, the hard choices necessary to rule, and the secrets uncovered from his father's reign.
Wakanda has thrived over the centuries thanks to its vibranium-fueled technical advantages, but also through its isolation. Many other African peoples have suffered by comparison, indeed, the whole world could benefit from the advances hoarded by Wakandans. At different points in the film, King T'Challa is approached with different proposals:

  • Why not admit Africans refugees into Wakanda,
  • Why not emerge onto the world stage and take an active role in improving world affairs?

T'Challa shares the traditional Wakandan policy - isolation is crucial for Wakandans to thrive - but he discovers over the course of the film the price that has been paid to protect Wakanda at the expense of everyone else.
The movie is not all talky-talky, there is plenty of action - if you're looking for armored super-rhinos on the rampage, and remote-drive Lexuses tearing through Seoul, you're in luck - but Black Panther has a sharp point to make too.

Theater Notes: When Michael B. Jordan took his shirt off, I am pretty sure I heard a dozen women in the theater ovulate simultaneously. I haven't witnessed that level of female smitten-ness since Ryan Gosling charmed his way through Gangster Squad.

Trailer Report:
  • I am sad to see the immensely talented Tom Hardy cast as the new Venom. He deserves better than a C-list villain!
  • The Deadpool - Cable trailer was funny, but the crowd in my theater was completely silent through the whole thing.
  • Another Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer. The guy playing Han Solo looks perfect, and he's, like, nine years younger than Harrison Ford was in 1977. All the buzz has been bad, but then again, in the fall of 1997 everyone thought Titanic was going to be terrible too.