Black Panther

Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018) Marvel superhero; released 29Jan18

Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

... what superhero fans want to know is how Black Panther compares with other Marvel movies. Simply put, it not only holds its own, but improves on the formula in several key respects, from a politically engaged villain to an emotionally grounded final showdown. ... In their print form, comic books have led the way in terms of representation and inclusivity, long empowering non-white, non-male characters in their pages. Although previous big-screen examples certainly exist — among them Wesley Snipes’ Blade and Will Smith’s HancockBlack Panther celebrates its hero’s heritage while delivering one of Marvel’s most all-around appealing standalone installments to date. Going forward, Black Panther will join the ranks of the Avengers, further diversifying their ranks. In the meantime, it’s awesome to see Black Power celebrated in such a mainstream fashion. Peter Debruge, Variety.

A meticulously crafted film, Black Panther establishes itself as a kinetic, powerful entry in the superhero genre. Kelli Weston, BFI.

I went to sleep before the end of this, disqualifying myself from saying anything useful about it. I'm just not interested in films based on comix - tho I recognise the socio-cultural importance of this one.

By the way: why has there never (yet) been a Native American (/first people/nation) superhero?

Perhaps the most disappointing of the year’s nominees, Black Panther is an average Marvel film – better than some (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and worse than others (Thor: Ragnarok). Its action sequences - critical to the success of a superhero film - are quite impressive, and the design is colourful, but the narrative is uneven and awkwardly paced, involving a revelation of identity that isn’t really a revelation at all, which occurs at an arbitrary place in the narrative. The story follows two conflicting “panthers”, one good (Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman) and one bad (Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan) as they battle for control of the (mystically presented) nation Wakanda and its valuable resources. The film is rife with ideological contradictions in its presentation of the “good” panther as following a liberal model of black activism, and the “bad” panther as following a militant model. It seems to suggest that politics can occur without violence (the liberal dream) without recognising perhaps the chief insight of the 20th century – that politics is always violent, in its management of the city, in its determination of friend and enemy, and in its administration of the human. Furthermore, historically, liberalism, as Domenico Losurdo convincingly demonstrates in Liberalism: A Counter-History was built upon the back of slavery. Ari Mattes, The Conversation.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 23 July, 2108 | Now: 22 January, 2020