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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk (Spoiler Edition) => Topic started by: Bondo on February 20, 2018, 09:27:38 PM

Title: Black Panther
Post by: Bondo on February 20, 2018, 09:27:38 PM
With caution being the better part of valor, I figured I should just review this here.

Black Panther (2018)

The 1960s were a time of great civil rights unrest, an African-American community restless to throw off the yokes of a century of Jim Crow oppression that followed on the heels of many centuries of enslavement. Out of that political fire came a fierce debate within the movement symbolized by Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching peaceful resistance while Malcolm X argued for something much closer to armed rebellion. There is certainly an ethical debate to be had about the merits of each, but to some degree the practical one makes the ethical moot. It is hard to imagine an armed rebellion leading to success instead of just increased devastation.

Half a decade later, we again find ourselves in an era of civil rights unrest and Black Panther uses the mix of science fiction and superhero tropes to ask the question, what if the rebellion could be given a power advantage. What if they could be enabled to succeed in their rebellion, removing the pragmatic question and forcing us to face just the ethical one. In this case the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) steps into the MLK role while Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is Malcolm X. The interesting historical antecedent to the debate that eventually develops is the status quo of Wakanda doing nothing. But by the end that alternative is dismissed entirely. Doing nothing simply is not an option in the face of injustice, especially not in the name of nationalistic isolationism. This aspect feels like a universal appeal, not just one regarding racial injustice.

In having Black Panther's ideology win out, it certainly takes the more broadly palatable alternative, and maybe the right one. Given the massive box office results I imagine this isn't the last we'll see of this story, and it'll be interesting to see if they build on the choice for social and scientific engagement. I'd almost have been as interested in seeing the counterfactual sequel where Killmonger gets to unleash his uprising. This is too much of a fantasy that we have no real world proof of how either would turn out, but the option they went for certainly does allow things to remain relatively more grounded, even if we don't know just how far this movement can take us.

Anyway, the film's social resonance aside, it is just a splendid action film. A top to bottom stellar cast. The two rivals I've mentioned are both played by people who have done award-worthy work, but that doesn't even touch the Oscar-winning, Oscar-nominated, and Emmy-winning cast members much less the likely future nominees. In some ways Letitia Wright was bound to be my favorite because I am drawn to this sort of precocious role (it is unclear exactly how old Shuri is supposed to be...maybe it is insulting to feel like she is drawn as a teenager who just happens to be a scientific genius rather than a fully fledged adult, but she does have a particularly casual style). Not all the action scenes quite work but there are some great ones that keep good geography to the cinematography and editing. And it keeps to a minimum the typical flaw of two indestructible forces bouncing off each other that even Wonder Woman sunk to in the end.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: philip918 on February 20, 2018, 09:41:59 PM
Really my only real gripe is the climactic fight between T'Challa and Killmonger. It's set in a dark CGI cavern and they're wearing dark CGI suits with an annoying train bursting through the scene and breaking up the action. I wish they'd just gone for a full Creed-style mano-a-mano fight without all the murky computer gimmickry.

Yet, it's all saved by an incredible resolution, because the film has amazing characters and tells a powerful story.

Part of me does wish Killmonger had lived. It would be super interesting to see him taken in by the Wakandans and eventually becoming  a very volatile and dangerous, but essential ally.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Will on February 20, 2018, 10:19:46 PM
Eric is more Huey P Newton than Malcolm X.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: The Deer Hunter on February 21, 2018, 12:27:40 AM
Really my only real gripe is the climactic fight between T'Challa and Killmonger. It's set in a dark CGI cavern and they're wearing dark CGI suits with an annoying train bursting through the scene and breaking up the action. I wish they'd just gone for a full Creed-style mano-a-mano fight without all the murky computer gimmickry.

I had the same reaction. As soon as T'Challa tackled Killmonger down that pit i was disappointed that they left the bright open area for a dark and boring 1 on 1.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Corndog on February 21, 2018, 07:44:48 AM
Really my only real gripe is the climactic fight between T'Challa and Killmonger. It's set in a dark CGI cavern and they're wearing dark CGI suits with an annoying train bursting through the scene and breaking up the action. I wish they'd just gone for a full Creed-style mano-a-mano fight without all the murky computer gimmickry.

I had the same reaction. As soon as T'Challa tackled Killmonger down that pit i was disappointed that they left the bright open area for a dark and boring 1 on 1.

So you guys didn't like them fighting on an UNDERGROUND RAILROAD?
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Will on February 22, 2018, 11:28:02 PM
Really my only real gripe is the climactic fight between T'Challa and Killmonger. It's set in a dark CGI cavern and they're wearing dark CGI suits with an annoying train bursting through the scene and breaking up the action. I wish they'd just gone for a full Creed-style mano-a-mano fight without all the murky computer gimmickry.

I had the same reaction. As soon as T'Challa tackled Killmonger down that pit i was disappointed that they left the bright open area for a dark and boring 1 on 1.

So you guys didn't like them fighting on an UNDERGROUND RAILROAD?

oh my god
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: oldkid on February 23, 2018, 01:54:43 AM
Really my only real gripe is the climactic fight between T'Challa and Killmonger. It's set in a dark CGI cavern and they're wearing dark CGI suits with an annoying train bursting through the scene and breaking up the action. I wish they'd just gone for a full Creed-style mano-a-mano fight without all the murky computer gimmickry.

I had the same reaction. As soon as T'Challa tackled Killmonger down that pit i was disappointed that they left the bright open area for a dark and boring 1 on 1.

So you guys didn't like them fighting on an UNDERGROUND RAILROAD?

(https://m.popkey.co/ea7a98/k8DQE_f-maxage-0_s-200x150.gif)
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: don s. on February 28, 2018, 08:22:26 PM
I mean, Michael B. Jordan should just stay off of train platforms, am I right?

... says the 1,000,000th person to make that joke
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: The Deer Hunter on February 28, 2018, 10:04:00 PM
Oooh. Underground railroad was a Fruitvale Station reference?
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Bondo on February 28, 2018, 10:34:52 PM
Well, probably more Harriet Tubman than Fruitvale Station, but they'll both work.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 07, 2018, 05:48:56 AM
Can anyone explain to me where exactly Killmonger was trying to incite rebellion? Because if he is suggesting that what black people in the US need to solve their problems is more guns I just find that baffling.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Bondo on March 07, 2018, 06:05:39 AM
Maybe they’d give them some bulletproof armor so the cops would stop killing them.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 07, 2018, 06:15:53 AM
That is not what the movie is suggesting.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Junior on March 07, 2018, 06:45:18 AM
That is the suggestion (though it's more like high tech weapons than regular guns) and that's why he's the villain. Though his goal is admirable, his method is not.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 07, 2018, 06:48:57 AM
His goal is to foment war everywhere there are black people. Even if you think that is justified in Chicago or Baltimore, which it isn't, what about the rest of the countries with large African minorities? They don't have nearly as many racial problems as the US.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: Corndog on March 07, 2018, 07:17:03 AM
To me, at least in some ways and I may be way off base here, but I thought T'Challa was meant to represent an Martin Luther King, Jr. type, while Erik was more the Malcolm X type, more militant like, well, the (real) Black Panthers. That is not to say Malcolm X was a villain, I honestly don't know enough to say other than knowing his approach to civil rights was decidedly more disruptive than the philosophies of MLK.
Title: Re: Black Panther
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 07, 2018, 12:19:59 PM
To my knowledge Malcolm X never advocated armed uprisings. I think comparing him to Killmonger is doing him a disservice.