Friday, March 08, 2019

Dragonfly Ripple | Black Panther (2018)

David and I spend some extra time on Black Panther, going through the film scene by scene; talking about our favorite parts as well as a couple of things we (well, I, really) didn't like.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Now that the hype has tapered down after a year its curious to look at this one again. I'd like to make this a double-feature with Wonder Woman as they seem to have similar strengths and weaknesses. Both are heroes from an isolated nation with solid first two acts, but descends into superhero slock fighting in the third act because we need a big eye candy climax.

I do think it was necessary to give Panther a power source other than "he was at the gym every day of his life" especially if he's going up against super strong space-baddies later. It is a touch convenient that the heart shaped herb's powers can be taken away just as easily as it was given. Though I do think T'Challa gets it back in the third act too easily but theres a lot of rough patches in that last third.

The idea of the train sonics taking away their suit powers feels reminiscent of the nebula in "The Wrath of Khan". Maybe the fight would have been better as a cat and mouse game rather that a fast paced brawl.

Something I'm surprised you didn't mention is the characterization of Everett Ross here vs. him in Civil War. Civil War he feels like a Michael Bay style obstructive bureaucrat. Denying Cap and Falcon the right to an attorney, and taunting Zemo's failure once he's behind glass in prison. He feels like a controlling weasel who has more power than he deserves.

In Black Panther he's much more sympathetic and competent with reference to being an ex-veteran. He still has a might-makes-right attitude about being the one to bring Klaw in, but he's more diplomatic with T'Challa, a third world royal than he is with other superpeople. He's also far more noble, taking the bullet for Nakia. This may be a case like Coulson in Thor is more of a bully when dealing with everyday people, having to make an authoritative show of force while softening around superpeople. Everett seems the reverse. Being boisterous to not lose face in front of the superpeople but putting a better face forward with a political VIP. Either that or one of these Everetts is a Skrull shapechanger.

We're all curious about how Wakanda is going to share its resources with the rest of the world. I thought there'd be a big global reveal at the UN like with the airship on the basketball court, but T'Challa seems more likely to parse this exchange out slowly over time.

This movie benefits from having few MCU connections. I certainly thought we were gonna find an Infinity Stone is Wakanda, but best we get is a recap on Zemo, return of Klaw and end credits with Bucky. Small stuff really. Now that Panther is a hit I'm sure we'll get plenty of these characters crossing over in other Marvel movies. Thor and Black Panther will discover they're both super-kings who talk to there ghost dads and become best friends. T'Challa will ship Shuri off to America as exchange student to cool off her ego were she'll be in the same classes as Peter Parker, etc.

Michael May said...

That's an interesting comparison between BP and WW. I like WW more, but I've got a longer history with the character and a deeper fascination with her themes. That Ares battle is my least favorite thing about it, but at least it comes at the end after the movie's built up a ton of good will with me. The heart-shaped herb comes fairly early in BP and put me on my guard for other bits I might not like. Like you say, there are several rough patches in that last act.

Nice observations on the characterization of Everett Ross. You nail the differences and the best explanation for what's behind them. Love the contrast between him and Coulson, too.

I'd love to see T'Challa and Thor hanging out and comparing stories. And I'd love to see Shuri and Peter interact, too. But I can't imagine that happening in high school. Shuri is so far beyond that.


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