Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Black Panther

Summary: Still fresh from the loss of his father, King T’Chaka (John Kani), Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to the hidden marvel of Wakanda in the heart of Africa to ascend not only as king, but as the national guardian known as the Black Panther. His old flame and Wakandan spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) wants him to use Wakanda’s wealth and resources to help the struggling people in the world. But Okoye (Danai Gurira), general of the special forces known as the Dora Milaje, believes Wakanda should stay isolated and secret lest it gets assaulted by nations looking to plunder their precious vibranium metal. Such debates are put on hold when word of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who once stole from Wakanda and killed many, surfacing for more dirty vibranium dealings reaches the ears of T’Challa who suits up to get justice for his people. But Klaue has help from a rogue CIA special forces agent known as Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who seems to have his own relationship with Wakanda. With the help of his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), CIA Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), and the rest of his family and kingdom, the Black Panther must save his nation and decide its future or see it burn to the ground.

Summary: Black Panther blew me away like the Sahara sands with its acting, story, characters, and stunning spectacle. Marvel Studios pulled out all the stops for a virtually untested movie, with only the title character’s popularity from Captain America: Civil War to bank on. Not only did it succeed with all that going for and against it, but it also stands on its own without leaning heavily on other MCU elements. You could watch this without having seen any previous Marvel movies and still get the same experience. True, there are some fun easter eggs that are good for fans, but other than that, this could be its own movie independent of any franchise and it would still be just as strong.

Let’s start right off the bat with the best part of the movie: Shuri. Shuri might honestly be my favorite character in the movie, possibly of all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because she is pure concentrated awesome. Apart from being a genius that comes up with some incredible inventions, her relationship with T’Challa is so believable. They snark and joke with each other, but also make a great superhero tag team, just like real siblings. There’s a great moment where she’s making a rude gesture at her brother-king and their mother (Angela Bassett) shuts her down without even looking at her to know what she’s doing. People have called her an amazing role model, but I more think of her as a fantastically written character.

The movie’s embrace of African culture is something to be applauded as well. Wakanda isn’t just Manhattan transplanted into African borders, it incorporates African design and styles into its outfits, architecture, and technology. Best of all, it’s all portrayed as beautiful. There’s a man who jumps to mind who has one of those enormous disks in his lower lip; any other movie would probably wring some comedy out of its impractical look, but not only is he a serious character, but he sits on T’Challa’s council. Add to that an array of colors and language borrowed from the region and you have something truly authentic.

Both hero and villain are great in this film, even if they do share the same powers (a common complaint about past MCU movies). Killmonger is a force of personality who has a sympathetic motivation, even if it’s clearly wrong. He’s almost like Magneto, a comparison that Jordan himself made. Black Panther himself is a great character with the amazing burden of inheriting a very flawed mantle with a lot of dark secrets. I’ve also come to appreciate his compassion, which I saw glimpses of in Civil War and have witnessed again here. It paints him as a very different kind of hero in the MCU and shows the stark contrast between him and Killmonger, who has his own warped form of compassion.

This is an important one to see because it expands the scope of what Hollywood can do. Then again, seeing as this is now the fourth largest opening weekend for a superhero movie, it seems like most of you already have. Still, I’ll gladly see this again in theaters and I think you all will feel the same way because it really is that good. Hail to the king, baby. Wakanda forever.

Fun Tidbit: Of the many main characters, only two are white: Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis. Both actors have played major characters in films adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit trilogy and Serkis playing Gollum in it and The Lord of the Rings. In other words, they are this movie’s “Tolkien white guys.”

Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

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