This is a review of Marvels newest addition into the MCU.
Marvels newest film has grabbed headlines for breaking new ground with a predominantly black cast and taking on the traditional stereotypical superhero and bringing a fresh perspective.
Firstly, the fact this film is culturally significant and its impact can not be underestimated. Marvel has taken a massive step in giving a black cast and directors opportunity to shine on the grandest stage. For this they must be applauded. But once you focus on the film as a story rather than Hollywood finally allowing a non white cast and director have the opportunity to create and star in a blockbuster film, it is ultimately a drawn out unsatisfactory entry into the MCU.
The cast in this film portray their roles in a believable fashion. There is a refreshing believability to the cast that allows you to believe they and their emotions are real.
There are two standout performers. Michael B Jordan (Creed) playing Killmonger, further cements his reputation as one the best actors currently around. The visceral anger he brings to the role is scary and makes his villain the best that has appeared in MCU. Equally Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) shows that she is destined to be a star in Hollywood rather than on the small screen.
However, despite the fantastic acting the film falls down in the story. One of the biggest problems with the MCU is that it is clear that certain characters will be in Avengers Infinity War so much of the suspense in the battle scenes is lost. It genuinely feels like Black Panther needed to be released before the Infinity War Trailer was released so you didn’t see what characters return.
Thankfully this film shifts away from the awful comedy action that previous entries from Marvel descended into. In particular Thor Ragnarok (a poor attempt at Guardians of the Galaxy knockoff) and Spider-Man Homecoming (superhero film that made the hero so irritating I wanted the villain to win).
The slow burn looking into the mythology and culture is interesting but with a slow burning film it needs a pay off at the end. The Dark Knight trilogy were all slow burning films that had unbelievable third act that built to a crescendo of tension and drama. Black Panthers weakest point is the final act.
It does not break any new ground and does not add anything to the Black Panther character. For me it felt like Marvel wanted to add Black Panther to infinity war so needed to introduce the character. Unlike Captain America or Thor’s first entry where there was a clear character arc and development, the character at the end of this film is the same as the start of the film.
The fight scenes although well choreographed are underwhelming and lack tension. There is no wow moment or part in the film that gets you emotionally invested in the characters.
I am not expecting massive emotional moments in a comic book adaptation but I do expect some emotional journey that makes you support and live vicariously through the main character.
This film culturally is a watershed moment that I truly hope leads to more and equal opportunity for all race and gender actors and directors come to the fore. But this film when you strip away the hype and cultural significance is unfortunately a slow, drawn out film let down by a boring predictable third act. Black Panther is devoid of character development and storyline and most surprisingly the underwhelming action sequences that Marvel usually excels at.