Black Panther: Finally a Superhero Film That Shows Us How it’s Done (Review)


I have a confession – didn’t want to see Black Panther.  I’m sick to the bone of superhero movies, even Marvel.  It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that the genre is overplayed.  I’m tired of seeing movies about characters I’ve already seen.  I long for original films and, in a word: novelty.  Well I was in luck.  Even though this was another Marvel Superhero movie, Black Panther was refreshing.   I wasn’t bored.  I loved the heck out of this film.  I liked it almost as much as Dr. Strange, and that is saying something.


T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.


First off, this movie was gorgeous.  Not just the landscapes and the color palettes and the special effects, though all of those are good.  But most of all I liked the character design, especially some of the body modifications.  And the hair!  Usually, and superhero movies are especially bad for this, the guys all have short haircuts and the gals all have long hair.  True, the gal’s hair can be in a ponytail or loose or all done up and the guys can wear hats, but the hair length remains constant.  Here we saw bald girls, which seemed new.  Let me tell you these warriors were way more believable than anything I’ve seen on Themyscira.  This is how you design warrior characters.     

Black Panther took fan service to a whole new level.  Usually, I’m grateful for one scene where a guy takes off shirt, says a line or two, puts new shirt on.  Black Panther had multiple shirtless guys at multiple times during the film for extended periods of time.  I haven’t been so happy since Tarzan – there was just  so much muscle.   THIS is how you do fan service.  Chadwick Boseman was super hot and so was Winston Duke.  And Michael B. Jordan was even better – he was mouthwatering.  Oh!  And the acting was quite good, too, I guess.  Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira  and Letitia Wright were great in every scene (effortlessly passing the Bechdel Test) and I laughed at Andy Serkis a lot.

The only real criticism I have was the fact that the pacing was off. I don’t know what was wrong with it exactly except that I found myself ….waiting… a lot in the film.  Maybe it was me and I’d had too much coffee that day, that’s certainly possible.  But the film is 2 hours and 14 minutes long.  And Marvel, this after credit thing you do every movie is obnoxious – please stop.  I hate having to wait through your damn credits because everyone else in the theatre wants to see whatever nugget you’re going to drop about the next film.  All I could think while I reluctantly waited was:  “Dammit Marvel, hurry up, I have to pee.”

So is Black Panther worth watching?  Yes.  It feels new, even though it’s a superhero movie.  It’s different and it’s beautiful.  I was surprised the theatre wasn’t more packed than it was, this was actually one of the least ‘crowdy’ Marvel flicks I’ve been to (which might have helped).  Anyway I’m going to see this again and possibly even buy an ‘art of’ book, the design was that good.  It was almost as beautiful as Valerian.  This is how you make a superhero movie.