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Black Panther (spoilmonger)

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Gryphos, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Black Panther is getting a lot of hype, with many people calling it the best Marvel film to date. I saw it recently, and while it will take some more thought for me to rank it among the other Marvel films (and I'm not particularly into numerical scores/ranking anyway), I will say that it was indeed a fantastic film and undoubtedly one of the best Marvel films to date.

    T'challa is a great character with a lot of charisma and charm. He exudes confidence and regalness with every word. Truly a compelling presence.

    I also loved his interactions with the supporting characters, like his sister Shuri, who is also the source of many humorous moments (not least of which being the completely out-of-nowhere "WHAT ARE THOOOOOSE?!" which, while cringey, totally fit with her dorky personality.

    Side villain Ulysses Klaue is a lot of fun. It's always nice to see Andy Serkis' actual face; and you can tell he's having loads of fun yucking it up in the role (side note: I would totally listen to Klaue's SoundCloud music lol). It's a shame Killmonger killed him; he would have been a cool recurring side villain.

    As for Killmonger, he's great. His casual attitude is refreshing, and his goals are compelling. You really can feel where his anger is coming from. His villainy comes less from his actual motivations (liberating oppressed communities globally? Good), rather the uncomfortable manifestation of this goal (turning Wakanda into an imperialist superpower? Bad). There's also so much to be analysed about the relationship between T'challa and Killmonger and how they exist as a duality of perspectives from the same position.

    Wakanda is beautifully realised, and I hope we see a lot more of the Afrofuturism aesthetic in the future.

    One thing has been bugging me ever since watching it, though. I find it incredibly odd that Wakanda, a nation framed both by the film itself and the surrounding discourse as a utopia, is, when you really think about it, a dictatorship decided through royal bloodlines and ritual trial-by-combat. Like, this is meant to be an optimistic vision of a first-world Africa, but it's rooted in an extremely regressive philosophy of power and authority. This doesn't take away from the film being a wonderful step forward in cultural representation on the big screen; but it is really f*cking weird.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I haven't seen it yet (the local cheap-as-dirt theater hasn't caught up quite yet), but of course tumblr is already flooded with gifs and edits. I'm very excited for it--just what I've seen from the trailers is spectacular. Costuming, setting, cinematography, color editing...it all looks fantastic. It's funny, February used to be the month movies went to to die. But Marvel's managed to pull off two blockbusters (first Deadpool, which was intended to die, and now BP) released in February.
     
  3. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I will likely see this when it gets to Netflix or xfinity, but have no real interest. I like the marvel movies, but I feel a bit marveled out, and I am not really up for all the obscure characters they can fit on the screen. Id be okay if they did not make anymore Ant man, Dr. strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, or whatever else. I'll see a new avengers if it comes out, but otherwise, I'm okay with waiting till they show up on the TV.

    While it would seem likely that a dictatorship would lend itself more to something less than a utopia, even a dictator can be a benevolent ruler, so it would not be completely out of the realm of possibility. Though, if it is a kingdom, it would seem there must have been previous kings, which would lead me to a sordid history of some being good and some not. If this place is idyllic, I would find that unlikely though. Even with a good guy as king, one cannot really escape the raucous realities of politics, and the contest between haves and have nots.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm stoked. I read Don McGregor's Black Panther back in the 70s. That was also the era for Guardians of the Galaxy, of Jim Starlin's Thanos, Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck, Mike Ploog's Man Thing, Roy Thomas' Conan, and a dozen other delights. This was back when you didn't even go to the comic store, you just went to _the_ store and bought the comics off the rack. Good memories.
     
  5. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Yeah, I don't doubt T'challa and previous kings have been lovely people who serve and protect their people, but literally the entire plot of the film is that Killmonger uses the system to completely lawfully seize power, unopposed by the royal bodyguard (it's even stated that they are loyal to the throne no matter who sits on it), and proceeds to use his kingship for warmongering.

    Like, you would think the film might use Killmonger to criticise Wakanda's governmental system, since nothing was in place to curb his dictatorial powers. But no, the film completely shrugs off this troubling aspect of Wakanda's constitution. And even typing this, the more I think about it, the more it sinks in how weird it is.

    Like holy shit! Imagine if in a democratic nation, some dude no one's ever seen before waltzes up to the president's office, beats the shit out of him, declares himself in charge and starts plotting war, all the while the secret services just shrug and go "hey, that was a fair fight; nothing we can do". Wakanda has issues.
     
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Sounds like something Caesar attempted, and that turned out okay.
     
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Those aren't issues, those are traditions. Ours are different. At least it's better than, oh your daddy was a king? So must you be, despite your obvious deficiencies.
     
  8. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    I'm just saying, Wakanda's questionable traditions played a direct role in Killmonger taking over, and for the film to so determinedly skirt around this fact is … odd.

    Again, I should reiterate, I think the film's fantastic. It just has this weird, massive blind spot where T'challa's throne sits.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    OK. To me it's not a blind spot. That's the tradition in Wakanda. It's how leaders are chosen. The tradition is questionable only to those whose tradition it isn't. Since the story is solidly a Wakanda story, I think it would be weirder to take the topic on directly.

    Admittedly I'm relying on very old memories of the comic. I haven't got to see the movie yet. Soon, though!
     
  10. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Yooo I saw it tonight with a friend! Awesome movie. Michael B Jordan makes a damn good villain.
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    They made Black Panther into a movie? Who knew?

    All right, alright, even I couldn’t avoid all the hype on that one.

    It is one of the few comics I read a bit of when young, so it almost makes me sad I have no desire to see a super hero movie again... ever.
     
  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    It thought it was good, not great. (Logan, in my opinion, is a great superhero film.)

    Still, Black Panther is good. My kids loved it.

    There’s some interesting symbolism in the climactic fight. It takes place on an Underground Railroad, which can’t be coincidental.

    I enjoyed that choice of setting.
     
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I spent so many years trying to convince people around me (1970s, 1980s) that comics were worth their attention, were interesting and exciting, that I am not at all tired of the movies. I'm delighted to see this fantasy, the fantasy encompassed by comic superheroes, becoming embedded in the larger culture. Artists like Paul Gulacy, Craig Russell, Barry Smith, Gene Colan, ... the list is too long ... along with writers I've already named plus many more, were genuinely great. Their creations were brilliant, all the more so given the constraints of the medium.

    Maybe I'll tire of it all, but I sure hope not. I may be beyond wide-eyed innocence, but I still have a reserve of wide-eyed enthusiasm.
     
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm hoping to see Black Panther, but I missed Homecoming, Ragnarok, and Wonder Woman, all of which I had been excited to see as well. :(

    It sounds like a great movie. I haven't heard a single real criticism. (I'm not counting the above trial by combat issue because that's part of the original character.)

    It's hard for me to imagine getting bored with these movies when Marvel has been able to so consistently ramp things up. Maybe a few are lackluster when compared to the first Avengers or Civil War, but they've all been high quality and enjoyable to watch.
     
  15. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I rarely go to the theater these days, preferring to wait until I can buy/rent from Amazon or catch a movie on Netflix.

    The only criticism I've read in some reviews is the lack of action and the normal hectic superhero fare we normally see in Marvel movies. Those critics seem to have gone to Black Panther expecting more of the same and not finding it. I suspect they were just "missing the point," as it were; but at the same time, everyone goes to these movies wanting something, and maybe their views are as valid as any other views.

    On a related subject, I only just saw Thor: Ragnarok last night, via Amazon, and was surprised how disappointed I was. It was fun, lots of action and humor. But way too many things felt contrived, illogical, and simply thrown together—in the way they were thrown together—in order to achieve that action and humor, and I felt somewhat cheated.
     
  16. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Okay...So I broke my resolve about secondary and tertiary marvel characters and saw Black Panther.

    I will confess, my interest in this movie increased after talking to a friend of mine who is a real comics buff, and his explanation of an event in the comics that made him like Black Panther. So, I wanted to see if played out on screen.

    I almost hate to say, but I could not get over the land of Wacovia. I wanted to say BullS**t the first instant they showed the city, and never quite was able to enter into a suspension of disbelief over it. That probably jaded much of what I thought after. One bone of contention for me, was the challenge to the throne by young prince Kill-Monger (Here's a hint, if a dude's name is kill-monger, don’t make him leader, just sayin'). So, when King T'challa assumes the role of King, he is challenged by the leader of one of the five tribes, drinks something that takes away his super powers, fights the dude, and wins, ending objections to his coronation. When Kill-monger shows up and issues a challenge...well, that moment has passed and there is a King in Wakovia today. And so, if you want to depose the king, you fight him with all his black panther powers in tact. There is no reason to respect this dudes challenge, and no reason to level the playing field again by drinking the power robbing potion again. The king may be 'nice' and offer to do so, but why would he? The king is not in the position of asking for the throne, he his the throne. Young kill-monger can suck eggs.

    I am not sure if I want to exhaust all my thoughts on things I am inclined to pick on. And the real commentary I might make would probably get me into trouble. This is a world where invisible air-craft carriers can fall out of the sky, and an alien race attacked the world in force with strange technology and lots of flying machines. Wakovia may have neat stuff, but been there, seen that.

    Stuff I liked. I did enjoy the trapping of African cultures in the film, and I think I fell in love again with a whole new set of beautiful actresses. I did very much like the character of Kill-monger. He seemed like a real person with real experiences that lead to who he was. I also liked the other villain, Ulysses Klaw. I liked the lead to character, and thought he was appropriately honorable. Another movie with high Marvel production values that we have come to expect, and a good story well worth watching. Standing on its own, it is a better movie than most everything else out there, and if not for a whole lot of other marvel movies, I might have gone 'Wow, what a flick', but for me this is just another marvel film. I'll probably forget it.

    For me, this is a one thumbs up movie.
     
  17. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    That confused me as well. As you said, the moment had passed, and there already was an established king. Why did T'Challa accept that challenge?

    Otherwise, I enjoyed the film immensely. I thought that Killmonger was a fantastic villain, and I'm fairly certain that we will be seeing him again.
     
  18. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I think, in fairness, being king is not really just a title, King means when you say this is how it is, those who you are king over accept it. If they don't, well, you are not really king. So, if the other members in the room decided not to recognize your command, then you might have a problem, as it appeared some did. King is really the guy everyone decides to listen to. But, following tradition, Kill-monger missed the window. He will have to do it the harder way.
     
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  19. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I got to see it. :) I thought it was a blast!

    One of the things a lot of Marvel movies have consistently struggled with is weak villains, and by all rights we should have expected a Black Panther villain to fall at the bottom of the list. His rogue's gallery is.... frankly, one of the worst. The way they transformed Killmonger into a top-rate villain was pretty impressive. They combined elements of Killmonger (the mercenary), White Wolf (the jealous brother), and M'Baku (the formal challenger). And now we have an M'Baku and a White Wolf (now Bucky Barnes) who can create conflict as allies in the next movie.

    I understand the criticisms about the formal challenge. But I've got to shrug it off because the challenge is straight from the comics and true to the character. Leaving it out would create criticism, too.

    Based on what I know of the comics, I would suspect the next Black Panther movie will have Wakanda taking in refugees from a neighboring country, and Bucky facing backlash after leading his Wakandan black ops force too harshly, while a pair of supervillains uses the turmoil to try and steal vibranium. We'll see.
     
    Black Dragon likes this.
  20. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It looked to me like T'Challa wanted to avoid the fight but felt like he had to when Killmonger revealed his royal lineage to the other tribe leaders.
     
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