The Black Panther movie: big disappointment
I posted the following as a comment to one of the very few negative reviews of Marvel’s new Black Panther movie, at World of Reel:
This is the comment other commenters will love to hate. Also, I am a white male, so you can sharpen your knives over that, too.
I enjoyed the movie at times, but thought it rather less entertaining than the average Marvel and I was impatient for it to be over. I felt for the kids in the flashbacks, but the other characters barely registered for me as real persons (exception: Killmonger). I felt completely unemotionally involved except for the flashbacks and the final death scene. And it seems that I’m the only one who hated and was embarrassed by the ritual challenge-fight-I win-I’m king stupidity. Really, is this how a modern government is supposed to function? I sensed racism at work there, but am willing to defer to other opinions–if it even gets discussed. Otherwise, this movie was so Hollywood-corny that it reeked. Rhinoceroses as tanks? It’s like I’m supposed to take the Flinstones seriously? And they didn’t even look that real, unlike the Jurassic Park monsters.
Bringing in the second ritual challenge was ridiculous; given its importance, the first one had to go. I could look at my watch to see that the “bad guy” was going to win (an hour to go), and of course I never believed for a nanosecond that T’Challa would die. These, of course, are limitations of the genre, but I never thought about them while watching many other MCU movies; here, I wasn’t involved enough, clearly, and so had too much time to think. And I’m sorry, but the whole woman army BS was just that. There are serious biological reasons why women aren’t “greatest fighters.” I know that plenty could kick my ass easily, but no conceivable woman could ever have beaten Muhammad Ali. If that be sexism, make the most of it. I suppose this came from the comic book source material.
T’Challa in his previous appearances had more stature and gravitas than he does here; I suppose that would have been impossible to sustain for 2+ hours (though Dark Knight managed to pull that off). The special effects were hugely disappointing–as though seeing a “futuristic ship” flying around were supposed to be enough. I suppose one can’t always have end-of-the-world scale cataclysm, but the final big battle was just going through the motions. Maybe the best thing in this line was Andy Serkis’s cannon arm, but of course it never did anything important. He seemed to be having the most fun, but some of the other supporting cast were clearly enjoying themselves, too. I could have done without Martin Freeman doing his Bilbo Baggins shtick yet again, like Jar Jar Binks bumbling his way to victory.
Killmonger is a decent villain with good reasons for what he does–except he turns into a mindless kill-for-the-sake-of-killing idiot towards the end. That was really disappointing in a movie of many disappointments and few pleasant surprises.
One thought on “The Black Panther movie: big disappointment”
Caitlin Johnstone, whose blog is so much more than mine will ever be, has a great post about this movie at https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/03/07/seize-the-means-of-creating-culture/. Here’s just a taste:
‘Former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, who is in my opinion one of the only US political figures worth listening to today, recently made the observation, “From Wakanda with its ‘Black identity extremist’ and nice CIA agent to Hoover’s FBI as noble and honest institution, the ‘American’ people are propagandized to their very bones. Critical thinking is disappearing, replaced by fear, mindlessness and the manipulated passions of the herd.”’
Mr. Baraka’s comments are much more to the point than mine, so I’m very glad to be able to put this here for your use.