Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Black Panther and Killmonger
This Marvel superhero movie won three Academy Awards out of seven nominations! Neat! 🙂
2018 was the 10th anniversary year of the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’! Looking back, it’s amazing the ‘MCU’ film series lasted so long since it began with ‘Iron Man’ in 2008. I’ve reviewed all of the movies featured in the ‘MCU’ film series so far on my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog on DVD and Blu-ray.
The 10th anniversary celebrations of the ‘MCU’ began with the film ‘Black Panther’! I saw the film at the cinema on the 24th of February 2018. I heard many good things said about this movie and was looking forward to seeing it with Stephen, my best mate from school. There was much hype about it!
And all in all, the reviews were well-justified. I found how immensely engrossed I was into seeing this film on the big screen back in February 2018 and I enjoyed it even more on Blu-ray in June 2020. People claimed this was a groundbreaking film featuring a black superhero in the Black Panther here.
I didn’t purchase ‘Black Panther’ when it came out on DVD/Blu-ray at around May time in 2018 after it was shown at cinemas in February that year. I had it given to me by my parents as part of the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe – Phase Three: Part Two’ Blu-ray box set for Christmas 2019. Fantastic! 🙂
‘Black Panther’ stars Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa/Black Panther. The film was directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler. It also featured Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. The cast for this film is really sensational.
The character of the Black Panther made his first appearance in the Marvel comics in ‘Fantastic Four’ #52 and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Black Panther in the ‘MCU’ film series made his first appearance in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. I didn’t know what to expect when I saw this movie.
I hadn’t read any of film’s previews or synopsises and I hadn’t seen many trailers for the film. So, in a sense, I was going into this movie blind. But I was looking forward to having a good time with this film as I usually do with Marvel superhero movies. The ‘MCU’ movies were often pretty entertaining.
The film has T’Challa/Black Panther becoming the new king of Wakanda in Africa. T’Challa carries on the good work of his father to preserve peace and to stop unrest in his kingdom. But his position as king becomes threatened when someone from his father’s dark past attempts to claim the throne. 😮
T’Challa has to work hard and believe in himself in whether he is the rightful king of Wakanda. Very soon, T’Challa takes on his nemesis Killmonger in order to restore peace and unbalance in his kingdom. Can T’Challa/Black Panther stop the menace of Killmonger before it goes out of control? 😐
There’s a lot of African atmosphere and tone featured throughout the movie. This is especially shown in the costume designs; the production designs and the musical score. The city of Wakanda in Africa is brought to life in a pretty exotic style and there are strong undercurrents of African culture.
It was extraordinary to hear African choirs singing in the background during the movie’s incidental music and also amazing to see the African dance styles by the Wakanda members during T’Challa’s coronation ceremony. The African influences are also in the fight scenes between so many warriors.
You could say there are elements of Disney‘s ‘The Lion King’ featured in this film, especially when T’Challa goes into the afterlife somewhat and sees a vision of his father. To be honest, I think there’s more 1994’s ‘Lion King’ influences in ‘Black Panther’ than from the 2019 remake, which is a relief. 😀
There are also the mentions of the metal vibranium that created Captain America’s shield. Vibranium tends to be a metal that the Wakanda people use in their technology as well as in their clothing, although they don’t share the technology to the outside world. This is a disadvantage here.
There are also family tragedies featured in this movie, especially when T’Challa’s father killed his brother to defend a friend. This leads to how the villain in ‘Black Panther’ got created and how he has justifiable motives. It makes the Wakanda people and the royal hierarchy not perfect in the film.
In Wakanda, we see various tribes loyal to T’Challa once he becomes the king. There are a few tribes that aren’t supportive of T’Challa and pretty soon, when the villain Killmonger takes over and causes division among the tribes, Wakanda’s existence could be threatened by attacking the outside world.
Despite Wakanda being isolated from the outside world, T’Challa still goes out on missions in order to secure the safety of his kingdom. This includes going to South Korea to capture the villainous Ulysses Klaue. It allows some action scenes to take place in South Korea, such as a thrilling car chase.
‘Black Panther’ mostly features an African-American cast of black actors and actresses. It was fascinating to see this movie where most of the actors/actresses were black. I’m fine with this and with Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis appearing in the movie, it provides a very nice balance here. 🙂
Chadwick Boseman delivers a great performance as T’Challa/Black Panther. Having seen him in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, I was able to recognise who he was and get into his character. It was very fascinating to see the journey he had in being sure of himself and whether he’s the rightful king.
The scenes where he’s reunited with his father in the afterlife were interesting to see and the moments where he can get angry because of his father’s past actions were fascinating. T’Challa’s fight style as a warrior, with and without the Black Panther outfit, evolves during the movie’s events.
I wish there were more scenes of T’Challa in the Black Panther outfit as I don’t think there were enough for us to enjoy. It was exciting to see him wear a Black Panther suit that went on quickly and didn’t require him to put on his mask in a long time. 😀 T’Challa’s family interactions were intriguing too. 🙂
Michael B. Jordan stars as Killmonger, Black Panther’s nemesis. He’s also known as N’Jadaka as well as Erik Stevens. Killmonger is the son of Black Panther’s uncle. So in a sense, Killmonger is Black Panther’s cousin. Killmonger is pretty ferocious when he wants vengeance on T’Challa’s family here.
Interestingly, Michael B. Jordan has been in a Marvel superhero movie before since he played Johnny Storm in the 2015 ‘Fantastic Four’ film. As much as I prefer Michael B. Jordan in ‘Black Panther’ than ‘Fant4stic’, two Johnny Storms (including Chris Evans) have come home in the ‘MCU’. 😀
Killmonger starts off being a black American who has help from Ulysses Klaue in order to find a way to get into Wakanda. Once he takes the throne, Killmonger has his own views on how to rule Wakanda, planning to overthrow the outside world against the oppressors. This is against how Wakanda works.
Lupita Nyong’o stars as Nakia, Black Panther’s former lover in the movie. Lupita Nyong’o also appeared in the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy, playing Maz Kanata. I prefer Lupita’s character of Nakia in this ‘Black Panther’ film more than I prefer her character of Maz Kanata in the ‘Star Wars’ movies.
With that said, I don’t think there’s enough exploration in terms of the romance between T’Challa and Nakia. I get the impression they had a past together but it’s not properly explored. I want to see more of the relationship between the two and whether they do become properly united by the end.
I mean, they do especially with a kiss at the end, but it’s not deep or emotional as you’d expect. Nakia can also hold her own in a fight, especially since she’s a War Dog, an undercover spy for Wakanda from the River Tribe. Nakia also fights well during the climactic battle on Wakanda’s lands.
There’s Danai Gurira as Okoye, who is an extremely proud Wakandan woman that serves as the head of T’Challa’s bodyguards called the Dora Milaje. Okoye is pretty striking, especially with her bald head and wearing a red outfit. She must have more fight scenes than the Black Panther though.
Okoye comes across as fiercely loyal to her king of Wakanda and is always protecting him, even when he goes out on a mission to South Korea. She doesn’t care for wearing a wig when she, T’Challa and Nakia go undercover. When she fights in South Korea, Okoye clearly shows no mercy. 😮
There comes a point where Okoye chooses to serve Killmonger as king of Wakanda instead of helping T’Challa’s family when they escape unseen. But when Killmonger is clearly shown to not be a worthy ruler of Wakanda, Okoye goes against him. Okoye and her forces are pretty against Killmonger then.
I was pleased to see Martin Freeman return as Everett K. Ross, a special agent for the CIA in America. Agent Ross debuted in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. Martin Freeman is well-known for playing Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy and is also well-known for playing Dr. Watson in BBC’s ‘Sherlock’.
T’Challa meets up with Ross when he’s in South Korea. Ross tries to capture Ulysses Klaue and eventually helps T’Challa and his group in their goals to capture him in South Korea. Ross even gets to go to Wakanda, where his life eventually in endangered once Killmonger becomes the new king of the land. 😐
Ross goes with T’Challa’s family including the mother and the sister as well as Nakia in order to get help in the snowy mountains as well as revive T’Challa who’s still alive after his fatal combat with Killmonger. Ross also gets to fly a holographic Wakanda fighter jet with help from T’Challa’s sister. 🙂
Angela Bassett stars as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother in the movie. Although I like seeing T’Challa’s mother be represented in the film, especially after T’Challa’s father died, I don’t think she gets much to do. She’s mostly there as an observer and an advisor to T’Challa once he’s the new king of Wakanda.
T’Challa’s mother becomes upset once her son is lost and presumed dead after a fatal combat with Killmonger and falling off from a waterfall. Ramonda, her daughter Shuri and Rakia form a tight unit in order to revive T’Challa once he’s found in the snowy mountains. They even bury him in the snow.
I do think that Ramonda has similar problems to Thor’s mother in the ‘Thor’ films of the ‘MCU’. Maybe there’s more to Ramonda and I hope that’ll get explored in future ‘Black Panther’ instalments. Ramonda does dress nice however. Angela Bassett even wore a silver, waist-length wig.
Forest Whitaker stars as elder statesman Zuri, who is the keeper of the heart-shaped herb in Wakanda as well as a former friend of T’Challa’s father. I’ve seen Forest Whitaker before as he was in ‘Vantage Point’. He also starred as Saw Gerrera in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ which I enjoyed.
At first, you might think Zuri isn’t that important a character as he conducts the ceremony to establish T’Challa as the new king of Wakanda. But then, as the movie progresses, you find out more about him especially since he was saved by T’Challa’s father who killed his brother to defend Zuri. 😐
In the combat between T’Challa and Killmonger on the waterfall, Zuri begs Killmonger not to kill T’Challa and claims he’s to blame for his father’s death. Unfortunately, Killmonger kills Zuri, determined to kill T’Challa anyway. A pretty abrupt and shocking end to Forest Whitaker’s character!
And there’s Andy Serkis as the villainous Ulyess Klaue. Ulyess Klaue has been in the ‘MCU’ before since he was in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. Andy Serkis is very well-known for playing Gollum in ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogies and played Snoke in the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy.
I greatly enjoyed Andy Serkis’ performance in ‘Black Panther’ as he’s very good at playing a bad guy, isn’t he? I especially enjoyed his scene with Martin Freeman’s character in the movie. I wondered if the two were going to do another riddles games like that it happened in ‘An Unexpected Journey’. 😀
Ulysses Klaue allies with Killmonger in order to steal stuff from places like London and South Korea. Klaue gets himself a sonic disruptor arm-cannon that replaces his left arm which was lost in ‘Age of Ultron’. Klaue sadly gets killed by Killmonger in the film. Andy Serkis’ time in the ‘MCU’ is short-lived.
The film also features Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, who first becomes a confidant and best friend to T’Challa and leads the Border Tribe as Wakanda’s head of security. Daniel Kaluuya was in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode called ‘Planet of the Dead’ with David Tennant and he was in ‘Johnny English Reborn’.
There’s also Letitia Wright as “WHAT ARE THOSE?!!!” Shuri, T’Challa’s 16-year-old sister who designs Wakanda’s new technology as well as for Black Panther. There’s amusing bickering between Shuri and her brother T’Challa in the film and even she’s stunned by his open-toed shoes in the movie. 😀
And there’s Winston Duke as M’Baku, who is the powerful, ruthless warrior leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, the Jabari. He first protests about T’Challa being the new king of Wakanda before he fails in a combat with him. T’Challa soon asks for M’Baku’s help once Wakanda becomes threatened.
The film also features John Kani as T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father, who was in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. There’s Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu, Killmonger’s father. Stan Lee even makes a cameo in this movie, playing a patron in the South Korean casino. Stan Lee gets everywhere in these Marvel films. 😀
The action sequences are pretty amazing! Even by the time we got to the climactic battle, I was feeling a sense of thrills when Black Panther fought against Killmonger and his forces. Even those who turned against Killmonger like Okoye, Nakia and Shuri were amazing to watch in the final battle.
The CGI world-building of Wakanda is very impressive. It was amazing to see what Wakanda looked like deep underground, especially with the trains powered by sonic projectors. The thrilling scenes of Agent Ross piloting a jet via holograms as well as Shuri driving a car from Wakanda were so amazing.
The visuals for ‘Black Panther’ are pretty good and the action sequences are very engaging to watch. I became intrigued in seeing how the ‘MCU’ came up with this superhero movie filled with African mysticism and legend which managed to blend in some pretty impressive action and CGI sequences.
It holds up pretty well and the storytelling was very compelling to enjoy here. There’s another thing about this movie. Unlike ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ where the tone was pretty all over the place and played for laughs, the drama does feel real in this film as you do feel empathy with the characters featured.
That’s not to say, I despise ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. On the contrary, I enjoyed it in the same way that I enjoyed ‘Batman Forever’. But with ‘Black Panther’, you get a sense of things being epic; especially as the African elements play very strongly and you don’t feel dumped down by any cheesy humour.
Also, as I’m not familiar with the ‘Black Panther’ comics since I’ve not read many of them; it was interesting to discover more about the ‘Black Panther’ characters for myself in this movie. The story does feel stronger in tone for this film compared to ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ as I appreciate the serious tone.
The Blu-ray special features of ‘Black Panther’ are as follows. There’s the director’s intro by Ryan Coogler; ‘Crowning of a New King’; ‘The Hidden Kingdom Revealed’; ‘The Warriors Within’; ‘Wakanda Revealed: Exploring the Technology’; a gag reel; deleted scenes; ‘From Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion’; ‘Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – Connecting the Universe’; an exclusive sneak peak at ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ and an audio commentary with director/co-writer Ryan Coogler and production designer Hannah Beachler.
‘Black Panther’ is a pretty good superhero movie in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’. I enjoyed seeing it at the cinema and recently on Blu-ray and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. It started off the 10th anniversary celebrations for the ‘MCU’ well and I especially enjoyed the performances of the cast. 🙂
Chadwick Boseman is very good as the Black Panther and I look forward to seeing more ‘Black Panther’ movies with him. After seeing ‘Black Panther’, I was looking forward to seeing ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ next which was about to be released later that year and in time for my birthday in May.
In the mid-credits scene, T’Challa addresses the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s new status in the world. In the post credits scenes, Shuri helps Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes with his recuperation. Ah! Bucky Barnes is still around! I had wondered what became of him after ‘Civil War’.
‘BLACK PANTHER will return in ‘AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR’. As well as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, War Machine, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Falcon and others…not mentioned by me…yeah, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is next.
‘Black Panther’ rating – 8/10
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