Thomas takes a retrospective look at the Oscar-Winning Marvel Blockbuster Black Panther
It’s been two years since Black Panther was released in cinemas and then was nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Motion Picture (it won 3 Oscars that year). I first saw it at a premiere at my local cinema but until last night, I hadn’t rewatched it because I had been disappointed by it. I finally decided to give it a second chance and I do have many things to say about it.
When I first saw it, my main complaint about it was some of the visual effects were terribly bad. You could see in some sunset/night close-up shots that the actors were in front of a green screen because of the lighting on their faces. It was so obvious and that’s something the cinematographer could have avoided by working on the lighting and find a light that reflected the environment where the characters were. The final fight between T’Challa and Erik Killmonger was heavy on CG, which is normal considering how the fight was but it was badly hidden, once again work on the lighting could have easily done the trick especially for a movie with a $200 million budget. When rewatching the movie, I had the exact same complaints about it except that the Rhinos at the end were better rendered than I remembered. I think for the sequel a change of cinematographer would make things better or simply a better work on the lighting from Rachel Morrison.
Despite these problems, I think Rachel Morrison gave us some incredibly wonderful shots in this movie. The wide shots in the sunset were beautiful. Visually, there’s a lot of beauty in this movie too. Beyond visual effects, on a technical level, the craftwork for this movie was pretty impressive. The costumes were beautiful, they fully embraced the African culture. Ryan Coogler is a great director and his style really fit with Black Panther, he does a lot of worldbuilding to show us Wakanda. The fight choreography was great. And the score by Ludwig Goransson was pure beauty to the ears!
Now about the characters, when you have an actor like Andy Serkis playing Ulysses Klaue use him as much as you can. He was a scene-stealer in the movie, he’s such an incredible actor. And I still think it was a mistake to kill off Klaue, they could have done so much more with him in the MCU. Klaue in this movie was depicted as a ruthless villain and I loved it so yes, I would have loved to see more of him!
Everett Ross had some importance in the movie and played a role in the story. So I think the deleted scene from the first post-credit scene should have been kept because it concluded that story between him and Wakanda in the movie, plus the end of that deleted scene was actually funny. Instead, in the post-credit scene, we only see him listening to T’Challa’s speech and there is no interaction and that’s disappointing especially since the last time we see him in the movie is when Shuri’s lab explodes so you’re left wondering if he had survived. And much like Andy Serkis, when you have an actor like Martin Freeman use him!
Another secondary character, I’d like to mention – Zuri played by Forest Whitaker. He was basically a background character but considering his story, I think they could have used more time to spend with this character, he was a spiritual figure, that would have been interesting!
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther just nailed it. I have no complaints about it, he is amazing in the role! The story in this movie gave him struggles to face through grief and leadership along with great character development. Michael B. Jordan delivers a great performance as Erik Killmonger. Killmonger is a fearful villain and in some ways the movie is as much about T’Challa than it is about him, delivering us a villain origin story that feels very human. Okoye, Shuri, Nakia all have their moments to shine and they’re highlights of this movie. The brother-sister relationship between Shuri and T’Challa works well with some great banter!
On my second rewatch, I basically had the same complaints I had the first time I saw Black Panther but I was able to focus more on enjoying the story, it is a solid story. It’s definitely not the best MCU movie nor in the top 3 but it is better than I had remembered. I’d say it is a pretty good MCU movie. So, I’d say sometimes it can be good to give a movie a second chance, you might have a different opinion about it.
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Thomas Storai is the Senior Collectables Correspondent for The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and a wide range of movies. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasStorai where he uses the force frequently!