There are a thousand things that I LOVED about Black Panther. But there are a hundred things that I did not like as well.
First black superhero movie? Wait a minute…Are we really going to snatch that title away from Wesley Snipes for starring in three Blade movies? Black Panther opened to rave reviews earlier this week. And if there was a list of top 10 people most excited to watch Black Panther in the world, I would definitely make it. So, when I finally managed to catch a show of the superhero marvel, a day after its release in India, you can only imagine how excited I was. I had only read two reviews before watching the film, so my mind was pretty much a clean slate.
Well, that clean slate didn’t come back filled with a lot of good things about the film. After watching the film, I started scouting for all the reviews and opinions about the film online. Let me state that I was not blown away by the movie as many of the critics were. In fact, I was surprised at how critics and moviegoers just refused to point out the flaws in the film. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is indeed entertaining and I had a good time, but all I am saying is that let us also talk about all that was unimpressive. SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
Let me start with the tiniest example – the lack of a dramatic pause!
When Vibranium armoured rhinos attack T’Challa and his allies, director Ryan Coogler missed out an opportunity to take a dramatic pause. We see W’Kabi blow the horn, T’Challa screaming, “NO” and the very next shot is that of the Rhinos tearing out of the ground. Whatever happened to the power of a pause? In the Jurassic Park universe, right before the reveal of a dinosaur, there’s a dramatic pause to add to the tension. Remember those ground quakes and water ripples?
Now let us move on to the bigger flaws of the film. The biggest blow came when Ulysses Klaue was murdered by Killmonger. We have been hating him since Age of Ultron and expected a better demise for him than this. Really, the big bad villain is just killed off by another villain. The man, who is responsible for stealing Vibranium and selling it for world’s destruction, won’t die at the hands of a superhero? Shame!
How many times are going to see a suit vs suit battle in the MCU? The first three Iron Man movies are all about a powerful suit vs a powerful suit. Even Ant-Man took the liberty to make the plot about superhero tech falling into the wrong hands and a final battle about Ant-Man VS discount Ant-Man. Hence it sort of became repetitive when Black Panther used the same premise. MCU’s Thor: Ragnarok was an exceptionally beautiful change from this usual fare. I am still in love with how the climax of the film panned out – THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO CAUSE RAGNAROK! Superb fresh writing.
Then there was this one scene in Black Panther that irked me. The final battle, where W’Kabi’s army is fighting Dora Milaje to kill T’Challa, ends so uneventfully. Another great opportunity lost. Okoye is confronted by W’Kabi and she refuses to give up, and that is it! W’Kabi easily drops the cause he was fighting for, just because his girlfriend was on the opposite side. Too convenient. Okoye, played by Danai Gurira has been such a badass character throughout the film. I think I screamed, “You go, gurl,” 50 times while watching the film. Okoye’s battle with W’Kabi could have been her ultimate fight. But director Ryan Coogler shied away from going there.
Then T’Challa’s supposed death is so Twinkle Khanna falling from the waterfall in Mela. After looking up for the plot point, I found out that this apparent death is a direct reference from the comics. I have only seen the movies, so I thought his fall and survival was a bit too convenient and rather melodramatic.
I understand exposing Wakanda to the world is to set up the plot for Infinity War but that was the stupidest thing ever. At least going by the plot that led T’Challa to make the decision. The forefathers did not hide Wakanda from rest of the world because they were selfish and wanted to keep Vibranium all to themselves. They made a smart decision since they deduced that the world was not ready for that kind of power. And probably never will be. In Black Panther, a man invades Wakanda and threatens to use Vibranium for the bad, and yet, in an ironic twist, T’Challa realises the best way to go ahead is to share Wakandian knowledge with the world. Something is not right here! Had it been a plot about how the LACK of the Wakandian technology is destroying the world, I’d have been happy to see T’Challa expose his country. But after fighting a prime example, Killmonger’s plan, of why Vibranium should not be shared, his decision to share it made no sense to me. The motive to expose Wakanda could have played a bigger part in the film.
Lastly, my biggest grouse is that Shuri was SO underutilised. She was probably a better central character than T’Challa. She had the spunk to carry an entire film on her shoulders and yet she was reduced to being the Black Panther’s sidekick.
There are a thousand things that I LOVED about Black Panther. But there are a hundred things that I did not like as well. There, I said it. Let my complains be a tiny speck in cyberspace dotted by several odes to the film.