Black Panther

Photo by D. Tempesta

Bad news, everyone. With Lady Bird last time and Black Panther this time, it seems we have hit our exceptional movie quota for the year. Expect bad ones from now until 2019. For real, though, this movie is incredible.

When talking about the movie afterward, Wife asked what I liked about it. My response was, “Everything.” Apparently, that was not what we were going for. However, I meant exactly that. No one part of the movie was compromised to make another part better. The consistency in quality was impressive, especially since the level of quality was so high. Perhaps what I enjoyed most was the complexity of characters. I talked about this a bit in the Civil War discussion but was equally impressed by the character creation and development in Black Panther. It was not just the standard good guy becomes powerful after a struggle and beats the hated bad guy. T’Challa was dynamic and, most importantly, fallible. Not only was he flawed (harsh word, but it is technically correct) to the audience, but he recognized his own fallibility. T’Challa even went so far as to completely change his stance on foreign affairs and how his people would interact with the outside world. In doing so, he defied centuries of tradition to do what he and those he loved thought was right. Simply making this decision is difficult enough. However, T’Challa had to look his father in the eyes and tell his father that the way he ruled was wrong. And he had to do so in front of every previous king of Wakanda. I argue that this was the most powerful scene in the film. T’Challa became king that day, not when he was first initiated. He became king when he decided what kind of person and king he would be with certainty and conviction.

While an imperfect protagonist can do wonders for a story, this will only go so far if the antagonist is not equally dynamic. Killmonger was one of the most sympathetic antagonists I have ever seen. His ideals and methods were most certainly questionable, but he wasn’t entirely unreasonable. I believe we all decide what type of person we want to be, but Killmonger was very much a product of his environment. No one was forcing him to think the way he did, but it is not hard to see why he was that way. Even T’Challa realized that, in a way, Killmonger was correct. Killmonger wanted to help the outside world with the resources that Wakanda had, which was exactly what T’Challa decided at the end of the film. It was simply the motivation behind and execution of these ideas that made them different. Badguy was even quite likable, not in the same way that Loki is. But he was still likable in his own way.

There is no question that Black Panther is a great movie, but it extends beyond that. Black Panther made great statements. If handled poorly, abusing a platform can get obnoxious (just watch The Punisher). However, Black Panther ensured it was a good film in and of itself, then used its position to better the world. The representation, for multiple minorities, was fantastic to see. And the lessons learned throughout the film, especially near the end, are universal. Again, it simply comes down to the quality of Black Panther being exceptional in all areas.

My name is Chuck, and these are my thoughts. Now I would like to know what you think. How did you enjoy the film? How does it compare to our other hero movies? Who else thought His sister was the best part of the film? Leave a comment down below, and we’ll talk. Enjoy the day!

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