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To Kill a King, To Kill a Black Panther.

Posted on the 15 July 2018 by Jamesswezey
To Kill a King, To Kill a Black Panther.Can anyone really begin to recall a year, or summer without a comic book based film? I'm beginning to forget, and in the foreseeable future it doesn't seem like they will stopped being produced but will only increase. Black Panther is one of the more recently popular and successful of the Marvel films even though the character was rather unknown beforehand, which is a testament to the writing and acting. So this film pretty much piggybacks from Captain America: Civil War and the events that transpired after. T'Challa returns home to Wakanda to formally become king and cement his control over the nation. However, a challenger (Killmonger) arises to oust him from power and chart a new path for the kingdom, and T'Challa and his compatriots have to do everything that they can to stop him. Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa is perfection. I do not know much about the actual comic book character, but I cannot imagine that it is far from that. He plays the character with passion, intelligence, and this genuine belief that his character could be real (this is something that all actresses and actors have accomplished as lead Marvel characters; definitely a result of excellent acting). He brings a gentlemanly quality to a character that could be quite brutal, although his character is quite different from the Captain America film to this film interestingly enough. Michael B. Jordan is an incredibly talented actor and did a good job with his character as Killmonger in this film, but I didn't like the character and thought that it was blandly written and designed. I was disappointed with the villain development in this film. Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia was a breath of fresh air. She was charming, tough, and yet possessed that powerful confidence that made her character so strong and assertive; definitely one of my favorites. Danai Gurira as Okoye, who essentially was the leader of royal bodyguard I am assuming, was brilliant as your typical loyal soldier. She was gritty and rough, yet also had quite a sense of humor. Daniel Kaluuya played W'Kabi, an important Wakandan council member, although his performance was not that great which was surprising. To me he came off as rather wooden and plain boring, which is unusual considering he in an actor of great caliber. Letitia Wright played Shuri, who was T'Challa's younger sister. She was perhaps my favorite character in the film, and even the best part of the entire film. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind, even if it defied tradition, and she was quite courageous, and provided proper levity to the film, whereas from other characters it oftentimes felt forced rather than natural unlike with her it worked quite well. Forest Whitaker had a small role as the royal head priest, so his part was rather flat, but there were a few good dynamic surprises in there for his character, but his presence overall added some heft to the film. Andy Serkis reprised his role from The Avengers: Age of Ultron as Ulysses Klaue, and of course was amazing as a villain, but it would have been great to see more done with his character than what they ended up doing. Lastly, Martin Freeman also returned as his role from Captain America: Civil War as CIA Agent Ross. His character was as flat as a pancake and quite boring; very much seemed like an afterthought, which is a real shame considering his immense talent. I'm sure the thinking was he became the "token" white actor much as African Americans were relegated to that role for decades. I would say that the casting was quite excellent.
To Kill a King, To Kill a Black Panther.Ryan Coogler did quite a remarkable job as director considering he is rather inexperienced, and he should be proud that he created something that will most likely live on beyond his years. He along with Joe Robert Cole should also be proud of the writing, because for the most part it was quite excellent, although the story needed some work here and there especially towards the end, but it worked overall very well. The music by Ludwig Goransson was pretty blah from what I recall; I was surprised that there wasn't a really strong, powerful theme or motif for the Black Panther, which is a real shame. For sure a lost opportunity, but maybe someone will correct that with the next film. The cinematography by Rachel Morrison was good, but it was very linear and didn't take advantage of the fact that the film took place in Africa, and considering that everything is bigger on that continent there wasn't that kind of scope to the shots of the film, or any real breathtaking beauty. I will give a shout-out to Ruth E. Carter for the costume design which was incredible; blending exotic, functional, and "superhero cool" she created an astounding wardrobe for the characters. Now, you may be thinking I haven't said too many negative things about the film yet, and technically there aren't or even creatively. Overall it was a well done film that was quite entertaining, and I might watch it again. However, it is the most politically charged comic book based film I have ever seen; second place for that prize was X2: X-Men United. The political overtones to the film are not subtle and are not hidden, which for me when I escape reality I don't want to be reminded of the worst of reality while I'm trying to take a break from it; this is what makes the film difficult for me watch and like. There were two points in particular that the filmmakers wanted to push: one is that white people are colonialists, which was how many Wakandans referred to Westerners, and two, that Wakandan culture is superior to everyone else's, and how they managed to remain above pettiness and war while everyone else sunk to those low levels. To a degree everyone is ethnocentric, but to me it really came across that interior African cultures were these great idealistic places until the "colonialists" came and destroyed these amazing Edens. Now was it a good film, yes; and it was very well done for all the reasons I listed. But in an age where politically correct speech is being mercilessly policed by anyone with a Twitter account, I have no desire to watch a film that browbeats/vilifies certain kinds of people and edifies other certain types of people with the spare time I have to relax. I don't know why Hollywood thinks they have to get so politically active with their art, but I wish they would stop, although if they keep it up it will most likely hasten the end of the film era, which is already on its way. Just like silent films ended, so to will your standard films one day no longer be norm to watch. The future should be quite interesting.
Black Panther clip
Black Panther cast interviews
Mary Queen of Scots trailer (doesn't look that good).

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