The king is dead, long live the king…again.

Black Panther

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, based on the comic by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Featuring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright

Prince T’Challa returns home the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to be the new King after the death of his father. Forces from within and without Wakanda are determined to stop this and use the countries technological to start a war without the outside world. The countries hero Black Panther must team up with friends and former foes from within his own nation to stop the catastrophy from happening.

I have to say I approach this movie from not being a Marvel fan of any sort and not really caring about the extended universe, the storylines or the original comics. Some of this behemoth of a franchise I enjoyed others I did not. Thinking back I clearly preferred standalone stories that focus on a few characters and I care less about the massive three hours trials and tribulations of everyone that was ever created in the comics.

So as a ‘virtue signalling soy boy’ apparently, this film should have blown my socks off, well parts of it did, parts of it did not. I think in all honestly once the credits had ended, and of course I had to watch to the end because of the various little scenes you know are going to pop-up, I was left maybe unsatisfied. Entertained but unsatisfied.

The overall story is appealing, about Africans, in Africa, hidden away from the colonisation and exploitation by Europe and becoming advanced beyond the rest of the world but keeping themselves deliberately isolated. So there’s a message there and a lot of wishful thinking but hey how many times have the USA won the World War Two on their own and the Vietnam War? So there is absolutely no quibble here and nor should there be.

The usual Marvel problems pop up flat cardboard characters and a simplistic storyline that goes on too long. Giving a big window to an African-centric story is interesting in itself and kept my attention whereas if it were a standard white American hero story my interest would have waned having seen it so many times before. It did annoy me that this African nation, hidden away, developed a massive, technological, advanced society that looked a bit like the USA including the shopping and wandering about in the streets smiling and buying things…hmmm not exactly imagination gone wild in those scenes.

We have been here before though, many, many times. This is any old story, really old, the king dies, long live king, someone evil claims the thone deposing the king, the king wins back with allies. Nothing new.

The huge problems with my opinion of Marvel movies were still here. A long extended hero versus villain fight that I disengaged from after about a minute and a massive over CGIed battle where it looked like no one was really getting hurt because….well because it looks like CGI.

The acting varies but the good outways the mediocre and no one was so jarring it took me out of the film some of the dialogue is a bit hokey and cornball and pacing varies in part with some expository linking scenes skipping along and others just plodding along to the point where you could be forgiven for looking at your watch. The look and design of the film in Wankada is sumptuous and clearly some thought has gone into how an African nation left to itself would develop and look, although being isolated from the world, as I have said before, would they really go for shiny skyscrapers and the capitalistic wandering around rows of shops buying things model? There could have been other ways to go here.

Unfortunately, I have the sinking feeling that yet again this is another Marvel film I watched from start to end, would not watch again and I will mostly forget. Shame really the ball has been fumbled here.

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