Episode 1687 Talkback - Black Panther Movie Review

Hail to the King!! As the groundbreaking blockbuster Black Panther motion picture continues its box-office reign, a Geek tribal council consisting of Chris, Murd, and the elusive Matt assembles to discuss the film, its characters, its visual design, its surprising faithfulness to source material, and its wider cultural significance. Wakanda Forever! (1:26:02)

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  • I fully echo all the sentiments expressed in this episode! After watching the movie, I just want to watch it about 4 or 5 more times! My favorite parts of the movie were:
    1: Killmonger- Probably my favorite MCU villain. As I was watching the film I thought there were clear shades of Professor X/Magneto here. If it weren't for all the ruthless murdering, you could almost empathize with him. Michael B. Jordan captured him almost perfectly.
    2. Shuri- She was funny, smart- amazing. I almost wanted her to don the Panther Garb.
    3. Chadwick Boseman- Perfect as the Black Panther- He captures him the way RDJ does Iron Man or Kevin Conroy does Batman for me.
    4. The tech- AWESOME. I also loved the way Freeman stood in for the audience's potential misconceptions around US superiority. The US-centric notion of most comics is totally flipped on its head in the most amazing ways with the Wakanda-tech.
    5. Dora-Milaje- They were SO badass in this movie, they occasionally stole the scene from T'Challa himself and some of his skills.
  • i_am_scifii_am_scifi Posts: 533
    Black Panther is easily the second best, if not the best, solo Marvel movie they've done so far. Iron Man holds a special place in my heart as the movie that started it all, but Black Panther might have eclipsed it for me. The special effects, story, acting, villain...everything worked. And best of all, it's a great movie, as well as a great superhero movie. Everything clicked for me.

    In the past two years, we've gotten two movies with some of the strongest female characters I've seen on screen - Wonder Woman, and Black Panther. This is an EXCELLENT thing.

    5 out of 5. Easily.
  • BionicDaveBionicDave Posts: 350
    edited February 23
    This movie was fantastic.

    To be honest, I haven't cared for the last hundred or so Marvel Studios films. The Disney formula of overdone humor / homogeneity of structure & aesthetic / and the feeling of these movies being mere episodes in a soap opera... all of this was just killing them for me. But Black Panther was something very different. And man, did I eat it up. Not only were the themes and story structure unique, but my God, this is one of the most beautiful-looking movies I have ever seen. The wardrobe, the sets, the effects, the cast - just a feast for the eyes. But everything about this film was solid from stem to stern. It transcended the genre, really; it was a more-than-satisfying superhero action flick, and it also said a whole lot about real world subjects which are not discussed enough in pop culture.

    Is Black Panther the best Marvel movie thus far? It'd be tough for me to deny that. I mean... holy crap was this terrific. I'd have to rewatch my current three-way tie for that title and then reassess, if need be. (Those three are Winter Soldier, Logan, and the first Thor.) (And yes, I know, when it comes to Marvel films, I have little nostalgia for the old guard.)

    This was a great podcast to listen to, too. You guys are so entertaining and impassioned, and I always learn stuff from you. Plus it's so interesting how Matt comes across differently in spoken word versus forum posts! Hopefully you can trap him into doing more podcasts in the future. Thanks for your efforts, gentlemen.
  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 301
    edited February 24
    As we approach the twilight of the "founding fathers" of the MCU (Downey, Evans, and Hemsworth all seem to be heading for the exits), it was wonderful to see The Black Panther (both the movie and T'Challa himself) rise to a lead a new generation of Marvel movie heroes. The film instantly transformed the Black Panther from a cool sideline concern in "Civil War" into an interesting and multi-faceted character.

    Great Stuff:

    1. The Cast: I can't think of a stronger ensemble cast in any of the Marvel movies so far. I did't feel there were any weak links or badly miscast actors....with the exception of one (see "Not So Great Stuff").

    2. The Lore: Rather than downplaying it, the movie fully embraced the mystical aspects of Wakanda and The Black Panther legacy. I loved the scenes on the Ancestral Plane, the rituals of transition, and even the huge Black Panther totem "guarding" the entrance to the Vibranium mines.

    3. Killmonger: Is he the best MCU villain? I don't know...but I definitely enjoyed his intensity and single-minded determination to bend the world to his will. Michael T. Jordan's performance was brilliantly nuanced, showing both the charismatic and psychotic aspects of revolutionary figures.

    4. The Ambiguity: I appreciated that even the utopian Neverland of Wakanda was shown to have its own unique flaws and failings. As we Americans continue to wrestle with our roles and responsibilities in the real world, seeing Wakanda struggle with the twin temptations of isolationism and intervention makes it clear there are no easy answers...even in fiction! In fact, despite Wakanda's more outward-looking policy at the end of the movie, you don't need to be a political science or history expert to forecast some of the conflicts and crisis ahead for the world's newest (and most sudden) super power....with a resource many countries would gladly start a war over!

    5. The Visual Design: Black Panther's dazzling kaleidoscope of exotic costumes, cool tech, mythic vistas, and sheer spectacle was an almost dizzying experience.

    Not So Great Stuff:

    1. The Fight Scenes: I have to admit being disappointed in much of the fight choreography. Considering T'Challa is one of the greatest hand-to-hand combatants on the face of the Earth, I was expecting chorography that would set an entirely new standard for movie fight scenes. They certainly weren't terrible, but I found much of Coogler's direction during the fight scenes murky, choppy, and somewhat confusing. Again, not bad fight scenes...but fight scenes that were far below what I felt T'Challa, as a character, deserved.

    2. The CGI: With all the crazy leaps in technology over the past five to ten years, I'm astounded that they haven't figured out how to make more convincing "digital stuntmen". In far too many of T'Challa's action scenes, the rubbery and insubstantial feel of digital figures robbed them of the sheer physicality and weight they needed to really sell them. This has gotta be the next plateau the SFX houses need to conquer. Alot of the other CGI in The Black Panther felt surprisingly cheap...the flying ships and the armored rhinoceros come immediately to mind.

    3. Martin Freeman: Not being at all familiar with the Everett Ross character in the comics, I had no expectations for Martin Freeman's character...but at the same time, I've seen the actor in enough stuff to think this was just a variation on the same old "reluctant fish out of water" character he often plays. Yes, I get he's supposed to be "the Whitest White Guy Around", but I wish they'd cast someone who had a bit more charisma and wasn't such a "white guy caricature. Although I guess it could've been worse....thank God they didn't cast Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg for the role (as one of the guys suggested)!

    4. Klaue's death: For all the trouble they went through to include Klaue in The Black Panther (giving him a cameo as far back as Age of Ultron), I felt his time in the movie was kind of a waste, coming off as not much more than a caricatured Evil Colonizer who was ultimately shot like a dog....and off screen at that! Yes, I know...he could always come back, but I don't see much reason for it or logic behind it.

    5. The Black Panther:
    Yes, you read that correctly. While I like Chadwick Boseman in the role, I left the movie thinking that the Black Panther himself came across as an uncharacteristically mild-mannered and passive figure. In the comics, his intellectual prowess parallels Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Doom...yet here, he's just a guy who wears a suit he never made and uses weapons he never thought up. Yes...I know...it's Important and Empowering to show his teenaged sister as the genius and not him...but I found it to be a disappointing change. When he was beaten by Killmonger, there were no sense or indication of T'Challa somehow managing to save himself or "striving against all odds" to come back from the brink of death. Instead, he vanishes...then he later appears on a bed in M'Baku's realm...apparently having being fished out of the river by a passerby (which we never see). From there, the gang rally to bring him back to life...and YAY! They did it....but at the expense of the Black Panther's competence and self-agency. In other words, the Black Panther (i.e. T'Challa) felt more like a community project than a fiercely powerful and independent figure who can win back his throne on his own. For some, that's a huge turn-on...but for me, a sad diminution of the character. Yes, there were definitely moments when T'Challa felt like a king who is comfortable with command, but there were too many other times when he felt halting and ineffectual. I'm hoping when we see him in "Infinity War", he'll be a much more compelling and commanding leader.

    So...yeah...some good stuff and some disappointing stuff. What's the overall verdict? I give Black Panther a B+....and very much look forward to the inevitable sequel, which will hopefully explore the fallout of both the Infinity War and the interaction of the Wakandan utopia with a flawed, envious, and selfish world.
  • PS: I could barely hear Matt during the episode. Was it a technical issue, or is he just a soft-spoken sort?
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,136

    PS: I could barely hear Matt during the episode. Was it a technical issue, or is he just a soft-spoken sort?

    I’d say it was me being rusty & forgetting the first rule of CGS podcasting: “eat the mic.” The way we were sitting, I had to look left to converse with Chris & Adam, so when I talked, the mic got the side of my mouth instead of the front.
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,136

    This was a great podcast to listen to, too. You guys are so entertaining and impassioned, and I always learn stuff from you. Plus it's so interesting how Matt comes across differently in spoken word versus forum posts! Hopefully you can trap him into doing more podcasts in the future. Thanks for your efforts, gentlemen.

    Hmm, not sure if I drop the ball with my verbal or my writing skills. It was great being in studio again after getting out of CGS storage. I realize, however, I’m like Will Ferrell; better in small doses.

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