I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles courtesy of Disney to attend the #BlackPantherEvent & ABCTVEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.
Black Panther Movie Review:
5 Reasons to go see it with NO Spoilers
My Black Panther Movie Review is literally 2 words “So Lit”! Okay, I am done. The movie hits the theaters February 16th, 2018. Go See it and that’s all I gotta say about this movie!!! Okay okay okay, I know you want to know more, so let me give you the meat and potatoes without any spoilers. I will be honest this review is hard for me to write because I have so much I want to chat about. Things that I want to point out and dig into, but I realize that I have seen the movie and well you haven’t (yeah that was me throwing a shot and bragging for a moment). With all of that said, I decided the best way to give my opinion – that the movie is a Must See and deserves an A+ – was to point out some of the things that resonated deeply with me about the movie, yet wouldn’t spoil your experience. So here are my 5 Reasons to Go See Black Panther no spoilers included:
Reason #5: It doesn’t skip a beat, lots of socially conscious messages in the storyline. Stay Woke…LITERALLY. Look Ryan Coogler did not come to play, he came to slay and he did that on so many levels. You are not just about to watch a movie about the First Mainstream Black Superhero, you are about to watch a movie that has an agenda. Its agenda is to make you laugh, give you an amazing storyline, entertain you with amazing cinematography and visuals, but at the same time, its agenda is to stimulate your mind. There are so many socially conscious messages that are dropped on Black Panther, I wasn’t even ready for them. Didn’t expect them, but I won’t lie the messages need to be heard so I was receptive to them. I personally will be checking out the movie a few more times because I know I missed a few of them. There are a lot of scenes that will have you oooohing and aaahhhing, followed by “Wait, did he just go there? Well played Ryan, well played.” Ryan does all of this while staying true to the Black Panther character, as he is portrayed in the comics. The movie remains about a classic superhero, it just begs you to dig a little deeper. So at the end of the movie if you ain’t woke and feening for the next message, then you weren’t paying attention. FYI the messages speak to the MASSES, not just one targeted group.
Reason #4: Brotherly/Sisterly love. While watching Black Panther, I couldn’t help but feel the love between T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Shuri (Letitia Wright). It reminded me of how I interact with my older brothers and how I tell my children to treat one another. From a very young age, it was instilled in me that “We’re All We Got”. My siblings and I often use the #WAWG hashtag when we post things about one another on social media. Well watching the dynamic between T’Challa and Shuri, that was all that I could think of. How when things looked bleak, they had each other’s backs to overcome the difficult times. The depiction of the relationship between T’Challa and Shuri is authentic and it plays out very well on the big screen, you can literally feel the love. There are several scenes where it is evident that they both care about the future of Wakanda, but ensuring the safety of one another also took precedence. Shuri holds a lot of confidence in her brother’s abilities, while T’challa puts all his trust into Shuri’s tech-savvy creations. They are a perfect balance and a great team. Plus their scenes together are pretty funny. From their playful roasting of one another to their already famous greeting of one another, Chadwick and Letitia nailed it!
Reason #3: The actors/actresses owned their roles, especially the Bad Boys. More often than not I watch a movie and say to myself, such and such could have played that role better or why didn’t such and such do this to own that role. I can’t say that at all about Black Panther, its as if the roles were destined for these particular actors/actresses. Not a bad performance in the bunch and the on-screen dynamic between the characters are explosive. Especially the Dora Milaje, but I will get to them during the next reason. The movie was well cast and these are the actors that best fit the characters. I know in the past there had been talks about Wesley Snipes playing T’Challa, and as much as I like Wesley’s acting ability. T’Challa needed to be played by a character with swag, and that’s what Chadwick Boseman brings to the table. He has a way of bringing a character to life but making him seem like he is the coolest person on the screen. Then there is Michael B. Jordan, that man makes being bad look oh so good. Michael B. Jordan has played some explosive characters but his role in Black Panther as Erik Killmonger is the best I have seen him yet. I promised I wouldn’t say anything about how amazing he looked with his shirt off, so I am going to leave that out of this review because I promised I wouldn’t mention it at all. So since I am not mentioning him shirtless, I will continue to say he makes you fall in love with the bad guy. I didn’t know if I should root for him or throw popcorn at the screen because he was that good. Then there is also Ulyssess Klaue played by Andy Serkis (best known for his role as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings), he plays one heck of a bad guy as well. While he is not shirtless (note to Marvel, you should have made that happen too) he has this sinister laugh that just amplifies the plot against Wakanda. If you have seen the trailer where he is in the interrogation room, which unless you live in a hole you should have seen it by now, you will get what I am saying. He talks and laughs the same way throughout the movie, which makes you want to help him get to Wakanda because he describes it as such a glorious place. He too makes bad look good, just not as good as the Shirtless Michael B. Jordan does. Let me focus…on to reason number 2.
Reason #2: Girl Power When you add Angela Basset to any roster, you can only hope that her greatness will ooze out of her performance and maybe splash onto some of her fellow actresses. Welp, consider that hope achieved in Black Panther. Her presence is felt…correction her ROYALTY is felt, but it’s not Angela who steals the movie. I talked about her dynamic with Chadwick in reason #4, but let me bring her up again, Shuri played by actress Letitia Wright steals the movie. Her natural personality shines so brightly in this movie, she was meant to be Shuri, I feel like her effort to play this role was literally being herself. I will dig deeper on that point in a future blog post about my interview with her and Danai. She has some of the best punchlines, her emotions play out so well, when she laughs you will laugh – when she gets mad YOU will get mad, and when she gets determined to kick some butt. You will feel like you have just been recruited to the Dora Milaje and you need to strap up for action. And speaking of action, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for any fight scene that included Danai Gurira who plays Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje and T’challa’s right-hand gal.
Danai is just a bad…shut your mouth. She is a beast, her presence on screen and in every fight scene demands to be noticed. She adds a different flair to the movie than Shuri and T’challa. Her fighting style shows her versatility that she can fight like a man, but add a girlish flair. Her loyalty to her king is pretty strong even through difficult times. She is determined and she doesn’t freeze, her fighting style will get you so hyped you will feel like snatching off your wig. She is a force to be reckoned with and she shows that in the entire movie. She stands by the chant Wakanda Forever, as her king and country mean everything to her and it’s heavily depicted in the movie.
Adding a little more Girl power to the mix is Lupita N’Yongo character Nakia. Lupita mentioned during our Queen of Katwe interviews that she
“…love(s) playing roles that stretch me and help me to learn something new and deep about the human experience.”
Well, her role as Nakia does just that, it stretched her to play a character that had to explore realms and human experiences. Nakia is the love interest of T’challa in Black Panther and she is challenged to learn how to balance her desires versus the needs of her country. She is opinionated, sassy and kicks butt in a dress. She brings the dynamic of being a free spirit to the movie, which helps to show that you can have a plethora of personalities but yet a common goal. When pulling all these women together and add the rest of the Dora Milaje Clan, it’s apparent that the strength of these women is what helps to carry the country of Wakanda.
Reason #1: Representation. Wait let me make this a little more clear POSITIVE REPRESENTATION. I love all my superhero movies, please hear my heart when I say this, but it’s nothing like seeing someone who looks like you on the stage or the big screen who isn’t pushing stereotypical propaganda for ratings. T’challa/Black Panther is a superhero in his own right, not only is he powerful and fights for justice he is also a King. A king who is a good man, which makes his decisions difficult because he wants to protect the people and things that mean the most to him, but he knows the limitations he imposes make him exclude those who truly need him. His quest and his struggle are a good one, he’s a unique man, he’s a king, he’s a strong Black Man, everything about him represents something that is good. And it’s not just about Black Panther, the women of the film also exude excellence. This ain’t Love and Hip Hop, this film shows that we are and should be portrayed in more positive lights. Every little girl can be a Shuri, Nakia or Okoye and every little boy has the strength and intelligence of a T’challa or the determination and perseverance of a Erik Killmonger.
As a mother of two African American children in today’s times, I am elated about seeing this on the big screen with my children. Moreso my son, because he is the one who loves superheroes, my daughter just chimes in because she wants to fit in with us (she is a copycat you can tell her I said it..lol). Speaking of my son, I need to add he is about to be 9 and I feel comfortable allowing him to see this movie. If he was a little sensitive to movies I would wait until at least 10 years old before allowing him to see it. Allowing your kids to see this movie at an age younger than 10 years old is a judgment call, but I feel secure in saying it’s okay for 10+. Now as I was saying before I interrupted myself, I felt all bubbly inside when my son asked to be Black Panther for Halloween. I rushed and ordered his costume afraid that it would be sold out. I even ordered him the comic books so that we could learn who this character was, hence how my Black Panther 101 blog post came about. In learning about the characters and watching the movie I realize that Black Panther represents that even in a world full of amazing superheroes, there are some superheroes come in our skin tone.
Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
Now that you have read my review, do me a favor DON’T FREEZE. Hurry and grab your tickets, Black Panther will be in theaters everywhere February 16, 2018!!!
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