Review: Black Panther


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/02/review-black-panther.html


#2

Well, that and the idea that a civilised country would select its rulers through mortal combat…


#3

Wasn’t the most horrific thing he did in the movie to kill an enemy to his country and become a hero to his countrymen for it?


#4

“side with a moderate CIA-backed autocrat”

always side with Bilbo.

So…where’s the review? :grinning:


#5

Well… that, and shooting in cold blood the woman implied to be his lover, because she became a liability; and generally being a ruthless robber and murderer; and pulling the CIA destabilization program on Wakanda, utilizing internal divisions to take power, then doing his flat-out best to destroy the traditions and turn Wakanda into a brutal imperialistic nation.

Killmonger’s got some very good points about Wakanda’s aloofness, and the miserable state of all too many people in Africa and elsewhere, but his goals and methods are completely terrible. Compare to Nakia, who raises the exact same points, but doesn’t think that means she should turn Wakanda into a tyrannical power indistinguishable from the old oppressors except on the cosmetic level.


#6

Well, to be fair, no one like Trump would ever be ruler.

Unless one can have combat by proxy.


#7

I used to think the idea of a hereditary monarchy was a ridiculous way to choose a ruler too. Then 2016 happened and I realize we’re not in a position to judge anybody.


#8

That’s what happens when you try to map comic books to reality, a bit of cognitive dissonance slips in


#9

That’s what made Killmonger such a great villain – what he was saying made sense. He had no idea how to actually reasonably accomplish his goals, but he wasn’t yet another supernatural god trying to take over the world. He was a smart guy who’d been through a lot of terrible stuff and could look at Wakanda rationally.


#10

The only complaint I had with Killmonger was his means to achieve the goal was still too flat (yes, yes it’s a comic book movie of course there has to be a world empire take over thingy). His motives were pretty clear and I think he’s probably the best villain in the MCU right now. It’s going to hard to convince me that Thanos can top that.


#11

I dunno, I was not enamored with him at all… I still can’t put my finger on why. Maybe it was the dialog, or the ugly American trope, or clear yet unclear motivation… Oh well, still liked it overall.


#12

Michael B. Jordan is the second American guy to turn up in Wakanda after playing the Human Torch in a shitty Fantastic Four adaptation. I wonder if he and Chris Evans ever hit the bar to swap stories.


#13

Unlike most of the MCU villains, Killmonger was not a flat, 2-dimensional villain who was instantly forgettable the moment the credits rolled.

His motivations were clear, even if his methodology was poorly thought out and even more poorly executed.

He had a legitimate ‘beef’ that mader his anger and resentment relatable, especially to anyone who’s grown up as part the under-privileged classes in the US.


#14

What could go wrong?

image


#15

Yeah, I get the motivation of the “beef”. I guess I mean the motivation, or reasoning for the methodology. Perhaps too it was his jarring difference from the rest of Wakanda. They give us ~half of the movie with sort of a set tone and pattern of speech and behavior - their way of dong things - and then he goes in and fucks everything up, essentially doing a BBS table flip gif. I probably need to see it again to be able to articulate what was “off” for me.

I do agree that MCU tends to be weak on villains. I remember liking Diamond Back in Luke Cage WAY more than Cottonmouth because he actually had some style and character. He seems like someone to be feared vs a generic bad guy who could be on one of the CSIs. Indeed, oddly, the Netflix villains seem better than the Movie ones. Maybe because they have more time to flesh them out. You get to see them more as characters, vs just the thing the heroes have to defeat.


#16

Are you sure you don’t have that backwards? I thought the show went way downhill once they replaced the rounded and well-acted Cottonmouth with yet another generic “surprise appearance by an evil sibling” adversary.


#17

We are gonna have words here.

Diamondback better than Cottonmouth?!? YE GODS NO!!! Diamondback was trope and lame and a cartoonish villain with terrible motivations. Cottonmouth was very realistic and understandable as a villain. He wanted to be a kingpin…simple enough. And on top of that, Mahershala Ali CHEWED UP THE SCREEN! He was one of the best actors in any of the marvel Netflix shows to date.

Edit: @Brainspore and I are seeing it the same way here.

Also adding… The issue with Killmonger and where marvel sort of messed it up writing wise: his ending logic of “and now we will start the revolution”. I think this was written specifically to counter point Black panther and how T’Challa was going to be a new kind of king different than T’Chaka. It sets up BP as not just a strong and capable leader of Wakanda which there were doubts played out throughout the narrative; but also as a world leader. His father made a mistake in helping lead the world to the Sokovia Accords…and the MCU is writing in that BP is going to lead the world out of that.


#18

I’m pretty sure that was intentional; Killmonger was of Wakanda, but not raised in it - he was a forgotten castaway corrupted by life in ‘the new world’ that Wakanda had shunned. Left without his father, because of the actions of the Wakandan king. His resentment was understandable.

I hate the dude who plays Diamondback; he was trying way too hard to be ‘cool’ and it just didn’t work.

My go-to villain for that show is Black Mariah; her past trauma also made her more relatable as a character…


#19

Right? Don’t they know civilized countries let Putin pick for them. /s

I’ve long said that movies depend more on quality villains than quality heroes. Black Panther demonstrates the value of that perfectly. Spoilers ahoy…First it fakes the audience out with Klaue as a severely lackluster villain, then we get to the real villain who’s not only well written, but all the more so in contrast to Klaue.

Edited. Meant Klaue, not Killmonger.


#20

LOL - clearly I have it backwards!

In my defense, I didn’t hate Cottonmouth, it’s just we see this sort of character in show after show. He would be at home in many different crime type shows. And this isn’t anything against the actor, he did a great job. Nor did I not find his arch interesting. I agree Black Mariah’s arch was good stuff too.

But let’s face it - he was just a human criminal. What danger does he pose to a guy who is freaking bullet proof and super strong?

Diamondback started as the dad in the front seat, threatening to come back there if you keep touching your sister. So he had a sort of sinister mystery building up to it. Yes, he was a little cartoony, but I liked his more fantastic, bigger than life portrayal. Like, I want a bit more fantasy in my comic book based media. It doesn’t have to be 100% real drama, because you have people with super power running around. At the same time, don’t get TOO corny. We needed someone with his “power level” to be inserted to add some real tension, because Luke can just wade through the average criminal.

All y’alls points are fair, and I agree with them basically, but I just found Diamondback fun and a good foil for the climax.