Black Panther Discussion (SPOILERS)


#21

I was super excited to see this movie but was extremely bothered by the shot in the trailer where Okoye is flying the ship with just like her arms but no physical controls2 and I thought that looked dumb,

I specifically remember pausing the youtube video to show my partner being like “hey look at this shot, it made the trailer even though the visual effects weren’t done.”

Reminds me of a very funny scene in Firefly where Wash is just pretending to steer with an imaginary control yoke, because the actual prop was broken.


#22

I thought Ross was some dingus from Agents of SHIELD that they just put in here for brand purposes.

Audience at my showing was reeling in laughter at M’Baku telling Ross to shut the fuck up as soon as he started his whitesplaining routine. That made his whole inclusion worth it IMO.


#23

Oh, that bit was great! I just wish that they had actually done more of it.


#24

That bit bothered me. It felt like “quick, gotta find a way for the white dude to contribute and seem selfless so he belongs.”

I haven’t read any of Priest’s run unfortunately, but that take on Ross would have been much more interesting and tonally consistent with the rest of the movie.


#25

That bit bothered me. It felt like “quick, gotta find a way for the white dude to contribute and seem selfless so he belongs.”

I do like that they gave him the least important job. If those ships had made it outside the hologram bubble it wouldn’t even be that big of a deal - three random helicopter-sized UFOs is a fixable problem for later. If he can help, great, if he fucks up, who cares? It’s like getting your toddler to help load the laundry machine or something.


#26

I wonder with calling Bucky White Wolf if they are going to tie him in closer with Black Panther now.


#27

Went to see it today, my impressions/review:

Maaaaaaan, this hurts. I feel like I wanted to like this more than I actually did.

Sadly, it is very standard MCU fare. Nothing about it is particularly bad, just really average.

  • First of all, the costumes in this film are grrreat! Some of the battle suits are typical MCU plastic looking but the actual clothes, make-up, jewellery, etc. are just so damn cool.
  • Andy Serkis is great as Klaw.
  • The action scenes are let down by the camera work and lighting, making them harder to follow than they should be.
  • The cgi/sfx are not up to par with some of the MCU’s better films.
  • The humour is skates the edge of eye-rolling a few too many times E.g. The car crash with Nakia sliding on the asphalt in her car seat while still holding the steering wheel. Shuri’s very hit-and-miss “young & hip Q” character.
  • The end battle is disappointing and outdated. The general sequence of it and the action choreography is rather uninspired. The cgi rhinoceroses really don’t help either. The Martin Freeman plane chase stuff is weak as well.
  • The plot is simple but fine. There are some pretty big logical/character leaps (W’Kabi’s quick turn against T’Chala, just how devastating it is that T’Chala’s father hid his brother’s treason and subsequent killing, the interventionist vs seclusionist arguments.) but nothing too out of the ordinary for a superhero film.
  • Martin Freeman’s character feels needlessly fleshed out. Maybe they plan to do more with him in the future but at times I was getting the weird feeling he was just there for the white people to relate to.

I’m happy to see this film is a commercial success since it helps prove that films directed by and mostly starring people of colour can rake in the big bucks but it reminded me a lot of the latest Wonder Woman film in a negative way. There is a decent basis here for a far superior film down the line. Sadly they’ll have to wade through the whole Infinity War morass first.

All in all, Black Panther is a culturally significant, decidedly average film that should probably get an academy award (nomination) for costume design.

3/5


#28

I don’t really have a lot to add to this discussion given that I’m not prone to do close readings on comic book movies (not that I think those readings don’t have value, they’re just not how I like to engage with those particular films). I just kinda love seeing the general reception and celebration concentrated on social media. Seeing a new Marvel movie is one of the things I look forward to most in the year and long story short: I loved it. It’s probably my favorite solo Marvel film.

Especially because most of us are understandably on the defensive nowadays, it’s just nice to see a lot of people and especially kids derive a lot of joy from what has become a cultural event. Even my father, who has never cared about these movies before, (and who, I should mention at this point, is black) made sure that we got tickets to see it opening day and now wants to learn more about the character. It was just nice to have a very personal experience dovetail into the general cultural phenomenon. I’ll remember this one for a while.


#29

But that’s why it fails imo. They make the black revolutionary the bad guy. They didn’t have to but they chose too. They double down on the centrist idea that charity and reform are good and a revolutionary stance is bad, actually.


#30

I saw it more as starting a world war, even as the most technologically advanced nation in the world, may not be the greatest idea. Sure, Wakanda itself might have a ballistic missile catcher to protect it, but what about the rest of the world, where such “primitive” technologies as nerve gas, weaponized smallpox, and nuclear weapons would cause untold devastation (even if you had a spear that could take down a tank)? And let’s face it, already liberated black nations like Haiti are more in need of peaceful technology and infrastructure than weapons, so T’Challa’s method of outreach might be more helpful to them. Not saying Killmonger didn’t have a point, but I hardly would call avoiding a devastating global conflict to be weak centrism.

I saw it less that Killmonger’s point of view being wrong, just that he didn’t exactly think through to the endgame of his plan.


#31

I don’t think Killmonger’s plan was for Wakanda to declare war on everybody, but rather to provide Wakandan resources to the oppressed people who already live in those areas so that they can no longer be oppressed. Yes, it was a bad plan but that’s kinda my point. The filmmakers gave him a bad plan because they wanted the revolutionary to be the bad guy who failed, T’Challa isn’t a centrist so much because he fought against it, but because the best he could come up with is a community outreach program. At this point, he’s not much different than Bill Gates or even Tony Stark. We have already got as far as reform and charity can get us.


#32

Perhaps I am too stuck in neo-colonialist thinking, but what would be the better plan then? Community outreach was just one initiative among others. This included sharing of Wakandan technology and the country taking an active role in the UN. It seems a reasonable plan for a nation that is wealthy and technologically ahead, but has cloistered itself for centuries. But maybe I’m not seeing the full possibility there.


#33

Giving tech to other governments isn’t really going to help the oppressed. In fact, it might make it worse for some of them. A trade deal between Wakanda and Mexico isn’t going to help the Zapatistas. A trade deal with Turkey isn’t going o help the Kurds.


#34

Fair point, but what about using Wakandan technology to help Haiti or Ethiopia? The movie doesn’t exactly give a roadmap of how this outreach will actually play out, so we don’t know if Wakanda will support Mexico or Turkey. In fact, I doubt T’Challa has thought that far, and the messiness and conflicts that result should make for great story fodder in Black Panther 2 and beyond.

But to get back to your original point, what plan (or story) would avoid the centrism that you find objectionable? Because the only other option that I can see is Wakandan hegemony over the smoking ruins of a planet devastated by World War III.


#35

I assume in the next BP movie they will touch on some of the stuff in Ta-Nehisis Coates run like the Wakandan revolution that wants to abolish the monarchy, or at least I hope. That’s what I would have liked to have seen more of in this film. I’m not about to solve all the worlds problems but it would have been nice to have seen a movie that wasn’t revolutionary = bad, nice guy king who works with the CIA = good.


#36

I’m right there with you about abolishing the monarchy. It’s always a sticking point with me in fantasy stories about them venerating authoritarian regimes, and it’s no different here. I definitely hope future Black Panther stories interrogates the royal family’s legitimacy. But I also get that there’s only so many concepts you can explore in a single 2.5 hour film.


#37

It’s a comic book movie, so Killmonger has to be an extremist, because he’s the bad guy. But tbh he fits neatly into the established framework that has been used for Magneto forever - his complaints are valid, his solutions and methods are understandable given his personal history, but that doesn’t make him right overall.

Like I said before, I thought the movie was actually more radical than folks are giving it credit for. They very specifically spell out that the loner assassin who thinks of nothing but destruction is something that America made him into. T’Challa is a centrist relative to the guy who wants the entire world to burn, sure. But Black Panther the film is also very much about the recognition of privilege and making a case that having privilege also means having an obligation to help people who are disadvantaged. Like, I think that’s an angle that I haven’t seen mentioned in the discourse much - the Wakandans lived experience is nothing like any of their neighbors or other people who share their skin color, and they have to learn to give a fuck. Killmonger is working through a heritage of shared Black identity that the Wakandans simply don’t share. That’s part of why I said, upthread, that it’s a very American and African-American film in its’ way.

I think the movie did do a pretty good job of setting up the Wakandan’s coming to believe that their monarchy, and their way of choosing a monarch, is fatally flawed and probably needs some serious reform.


#38

I also think that by the time of T’Challa’s coronation, the trial by combat was more ceremonial than anything. Shuri’s whole “let’s get this over with” schtick seemed to lampshade this fact, and everyone seemed surprised that M’Baku would actually challenge the prince. It’s like here in Canada, where the Queen could technically dissolve our government at any time, but she doesn’t because her power doesn’t back up her ceremonial authority. I definitely think Wakanda is ripe for political reform, and if that isn’t explored in future movies I’d be genuinely surprised.


#39

Y’all read this piece? Because damn.


#40

Yeah, pretty much this. I mean, you can see why they flattened Ross; you can’t afford to make Ross the POV character in a 2 hr movie, not to mention the politics of representation have changed a bit over since the 15 years the Priest run…