Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther (2018): Review

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I am super excited to say that I really enjoyed the most recent Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Black Panther.  I have been looking forward to seeing this movie and was intrigued to see what they would do with this character Black Panther after introducing him in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Although the MCU character Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, was introduced previously I do not believe that it is necessary to have watched Civil War prior to seeing Black Panther. For the most part it stands on its own within the MCU. It was very good and besides a few things I really liked it and thought it was worth the hype.  At times, it became a bit preachy with its message, which isn't what I am seeing a big budget action/ superhero movie for, but it wasn't too much to take away from my enjoyment of the movie.

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Black Panther follow the newly crowned King T'Challa of Wakanda, as he takes the thrown following his father King T'Chaka's, played by John Kani, death.  The movie explores that background of the Wakanda and how it has developed it technology and secrecy from being over a mine of Vibranium.  After becoming King, T'Challa works to keep the secrets of his county while seeking down a man who previously store some Vibranium during the reign of his father. Secrets come out and the future direction of Wakanda is uncertain. Also staring; Letita Wright as T'Challa's sister Shuri; Danai Gurira as General Okeye, the head of Wakanda warrior women; Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia; Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger; Andy Serkis as Klaue; and Martin Freeman as Agent Everett K. Ross.

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Black Panther has an amazing overall cast and I love the interplay and chemistry between the different actors and characters. There was the right amount of serious characters and those who made jokes. Those who added comedy or drama were consistent with their characterizations and all their actions felt natural  and made sense for who they were.  There was some development for the main characters and the motivation of the supporting characters was there enough to drive forward what was happening. There were a few missteps but they were minor like with W'Kabi played by Daniel Kaluuya.  I didn't liked Zuri, played by Forrest Whitaker but this probably has more to do with my not particularly caring for Forrest Whitaker as an actor and that he always seems to be these weird characters that take me out of the movie and story as it has been set up with tone and feel.  Angela Bassett as T'Challa's mother Ramonda was fine, but I don't really see what she added to the movie and nothing would have changed with her being completely removed.  The one thing that she actually does could have easily been done by someone else more integral to what was happening. 

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I really liked that there were kick ass women in this movie, that the little sister was the tech person, and that T'Challa aka Black Panther was supported by two amazing strong women; one who was basically a spy and the other the head of his secret service and band of Amazonian-esk warriors. It is always nice to see well develop, strong, stand on their own women.

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Usually with the MCU movies I complain about the opening action sequence and think it is too much, too hard, too fast, but I liked how it was done with Black Panther. There is a bit of backstory and set up so it takes a few minuets to get into the action sequences and it is on a smaller scale, with a single purpose so it doesn't become too more or feel like I want to know why this huge action sequence is happening and why cant I see that.  I actually liked all of the sequences and even later on in the movie when there are jumps between different locations within the climax it works with how it is weaved together.  I will complain that I didn't not like the close up, quick jumping editing during most of the fighting sequences. I feel like I have complained about this type of editing and filming of fight sequences and I will continue to complain about them because I  think they are distracting and lazy.  Show me the sequences and the cool choreography. The tech during the sequences was really cool and I enjoyed how technology was incorporated and not really addressed, just treated as normal and a tool.  

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The main thing that I was not impressed with in Black Panther was the CGI.  I expect more from a Marvel movie and this CGI was not up to par. It was obvious and at times distracting. CGI is suppose to make the shot better not distract me because it jumps out as computer generated.  There were quite a few CGI on CGI which to me makes it look more fake and distracting. This is where the things in the foreground and background are both CGI, it works better when it is one or the other. Also the people on the terraced cliff looked crap.  Although a lot of the CGI was obvious there was a lot a scenes and shots that were beautifully done and gorgeous, especially when it was background sky/landscape. Overall I liked the cinematography and when the focus was on drama and enhancing what was going on it was done really well. Just stop with the everything on screen is CGI, movies are not video games.

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I liked the music and how the movie used both more modern and more traditionally themes.  It added to what was happening on screen and helped me to be drawn into the story.  The story made sense and was pretty straight forward. There was nothing shocking about what was happening but there was a plot that kept a forward momentum.  I really appreciate this. There are lots of action/ superhero/ big budget movies that try to do too much and go off in too many directions that it doesn't make sense or feel like one cohesive story. Even thought the movie stands on its own it had a nice transition to how it will be incorporated into the MCU.  I also really liked that it makes sense why other superhero's or the Avengers were involved in what was occurring in this movie. 

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Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and am looking forward to seeing it again. I was focused on what was going on and didn't notice the time slipping by. This is a must see for fans of the MCU, action/ super hero movies. This is a good MCU movie to watch even if you have not been keeping up with the complicated multiple movie/different character storylines. 

My Rating: 3+

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P.S.  I liked the Stan Lee cameo and how it was worked in.

P.P.S. This is a Marvel movie so make sure to stay to the end as there are two extra scenes. One midway through the credits and the other at the very end.

What do you think?  Did you like this movie as much as I did or is it one that will fade into the middle for you? 

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  4. Watch Black Panther at yidio movies :A great addition to the MCU. Great acting, beautiful visuals and some intense action. First impressive thing I noticed was its rich attention to detail in world building and its characters. My only criticism, I would have like to have seen more of the Killmonger character, as I feel they didn't go far enough with him. Over-all, this is a fun and enjoyable movie with action, comedy, drama. There are some complex social political overtones mixed in, but it never feels heavy handed, and I feel that the over-all message is positive for humanity as a whole. If this type of movie isn't your cup of tea, fair enough, but if you are on the fence about watching due to pre-conceived notions about its content and message, I would recommend you give it a try, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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