Black Panther Thoughts: Were There Enough Cat Puns Though?

    So I saw Black Panther on Saturday with my mom on a whim and it was.....
The King Has Returned
Come on! I had to!!
      Stupidly overdone puns aside, the movie was entirely encaptivating from the get-go. The opening sequence was absolutely great. It filled you in on the history of Wakanda while being entertaining and still pertaining to the overall aesthetic of the movie by involving the vibranium hologram images. I haven't seen a Marve movie since Thor 2 so I felt that I wouldn't be able to keep up in the Marvel lore but I was soooooo wrong. You don't have to be an expert or up to date with the Marvel Universe to experience or keep up with this movie. It is first its own movie that just so happens to be a Marvel movie.


How can so many good looking people be in one movie?
           So let me start off with T'Challa's family. Like I stated above I did not see Captain America: Civil War so I didn't see T'Chaka die in that film but Black Panther fills you in on who T'Chaka was and his relationship with his oldest son was. Subsequently, we get to see T'Challa interact with his mother Ramonda and his sister Shuri in this film. I absolutely loved this aspect of the movie! The idea of family (which was a pretty big theme running throughout the film). In a lot of superhero movies, the main protagonist doesn't get to have a family. They either died before we see them or during the events of the movie. I can't stress enough how much it meant that T'Challa not only had his mother and sister but actually worked with them to defeat the antagonist (who is also a family member!) I think even Chadwick Boseman talked about not many superheroes get to have little sister's, and he's absolutely right! So this was a very refreshing take on family in the superhero genre.
The Real Queen of Frozen 2
          Speaking of little sisters, Shuri was utterly adorable and I adored how Letitia Wright played her. She was just a regular teenager who just so happens to be a freaking scientific genius! I also like how Shuri teased T'Challa relentlessly (reminded me of when I would do that to my brothers) and their relationship. Although, Shuri and Ramonda didn't get too much screen time devoted to their relationship as T'Challa and T'Chaka did or even T'Challa and Shuri, when they were together you very much did get the impression that these two were very close. Especially when they were escaping to the mountains. Which btw  Angela Basset, who played Ramonda, was giving me serious Ice Queen vibes up on those mountains? Did anyone else want a little short about how she has ice powers or something? OR better yet! She has snow leopard abilities?!! What a cool reveal that would be though.
          Moving on to abilities the Black Panther suit was beyond cool. The fact it sits inside a hella dope necklace as well as absorbs the energy of its impacts, well it had my heart racing! I was in the theater thinking every second they were in Shuri's lab, "Omg that's so cool." "Omg, that's awesome!" "Omg, they can't top that." "OMG, THEY TOPPED THAT!" The technology in Wakanda is out of this world (literally) and the way they have engineered it into their society, whether that's through health care, weaponry, tech, or even transportation it's absolutely astounding. 
          ALSO, praise be the effects people of Black Panther who decided to cut out the horribly stupid see-through holograms that suffocate this genre and make everything so hard to see. I can't express enough into words how impressed and elated I was to see their communication through vibranium holograms where they produced solid images so you could ACTUALLY SEE who you were talking to! WHAT! A! CONCEPT! Sorry see-through holograms are a big pet-peeve of mine that needs to leave the sci-fi genre asap. 
The car chase that made me believe in car chases again.
           Another pet peeve of mine that I was kinda on the edge about before seeing this movie were the costumes. BOY OH BOY, was I in for a treat of a lifetime! The COSTUMES! They were so stunningly vibrant and full of life and just added so much depth into this world. Every single character had their own style that was clearly influenced by their personality, taste, and culture. The design department must've had the time of their life on this project. They also did their RESEARCH! So many cultures were thrown into Wakanda and shown off, it was such a breath of fresh air to what we're used to seeing of Africa in American cinema(usually Eygpt and poverty are the main staples we get over here, which is appalling considering the vast history of the continent). My favorite costume through I'd have to say was General Okoye and her soldier's armor. Every time Okoye was onscreen your eyes immediately went to her. I could honestly watch her forever and ever in that red dress as well. 
         Saying all this, who thinks there should be a TV series about Wakanda now? When they were down in the city, that was the first thing that came to my mind. The set pieces of the city and palace were gorgeous and the little glimpses of everyday life we saw immediately had me craving to see more. I'm so interested how Wakanda works as a society that's been isolated with all that technology for so many years and now that they'll be moving out into the spotlight what that means for regular civilians. I don't think if they were to do this, that the series should be about Black Panther or the royal family per say, they'd be there but like secondary characters, I guess. This could just be me having a wild incapability to tame my daydreaming but when I saw those sets and the people within them my mind was racing to all these ideas of the DRAMA and the LIFE that took place within the city.
          Now to the heart of Black Panther which is inevitably Erik Killmonger. Michel B. Jordan stole the show. Hands down. There is no competition. The instant he turned up onscreen, I went, "Who is this guy?" Jordan played the anger and resentment of Killmonger so perfectly. I also believe that he's by far the best Marvel villain to date. I said this on Twitter: 
No this isn't me giving myself a Twitter shoutout, idk what you're talking about
            Not only is Killmonger an accomplished villain who brought about change to the narrative and brought perspective to T'Challa on how it was damaging to the rest of the world that they hoarded the vibranium to themselves (great current social commentary) but he was the most understandable. The sympathy levels for Erik shot through the roof. The Panther (what is their surname??) family in this movie played out like a straight up Greek tragedy and I was living for every second of it. I have to say though who in their right minds leaves an EIGHT-YEAR-OLD CHILD behind on their own? T'Chaka what was that?! Who does that? That was so evil. This is going to sound awful but I understand how T'Chaka ended up killing N'Jobu and I can almost forgive it given he was defending his buddy. What I can't forgive is LEAVING AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD CHILD BEHIND!!!! The poor baby, no wonder he's so angry and messed up. He deserves every right to be resentful, good GOD!
The real plot was that T'Challa was jealous of Erik's hair
           That being said, I do have one question that I also voiced on Twitter but I'll ask it here now: WHERE IS ERIK'S MOTHER!?!?!!??! Like, did she die as well? Was she out of the picture before T'Chaka started kinslaying? Or was she there for Erik? Who was she? I need answers. Like who raised Erik after his father was killed? Was he put into the system and that's another reason why he's so resentful? I have so many questions surrounding this woman that was mentioned once and never brought up again. Only because it plays a part in who Erik is and how he became Killmonger.
           I have to give a shout out to the two Tolkien white guys: Andy Serkis, I wanted to see more of you and was shocked that you were killed off so early on but I enjoyed every moment of your crazy character. I could tell you were loving every moment you got to play him and it was very endearing. Martin Freeman, sigh, what was that accent? It really threw me through a loop. I saw Martin Freeman and I was y'know expecting Martin Freeman's accent but instead, I got an American butchering of Martin Freeman's accent. Not to say it was bad it's just you're expecting one thing and you get another. Just a little off-putting at first. 
The bottom pic should really be flipped around

            Speaking of Tolkien, I got so many Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, history, and superhero vibes all from this move it was just everything I loved thrown on a platter for me to feast upon. Especially at the climax when the rhinos showed up, my mom leaned over to whisper, "The riders of Rohan have arrived!" Between the sweeping landscape shots of Wakanda to the royalty aspects, there were many instances of LotR's in Black Panther. I also got a lot of Star Wars vibes as well. Going back to my mother she said, "I got really confused at the beginning because I forgot they were on Earth so when they started talking about modern day places or America and Africa, I was thinking 'Why do you guys care you're in space!' Then I was like 'Wait this isn't Star Wars." LOL. Love you, Mom! 
              The fighting scenes were also pretty great. I have a thing with heights so the fear of the waterfall ritual was real for me. The research they did for the different fighting styles was so nice to see as well! 
              That's what I love most about this film is you can tell that there was so much love and thought brought into this project and that it wasn't just a big cash cow. It was something to cherish and be proud of. That in itself is revolutionary in today's blockbusters. The creators knew they were making something monumental and they gave it their all and it paid off tremendously. I can't wait to catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe after this movie. 


            If you haven't seen Black Panther yet, I highly recommend it. It stays with you, especially Erik's storyline and the two vision quest throughout the film. Everything is simply stunning and elegant and it's a very serious Marvel movie that had the perfect mixture of unreal (vibranium, superheroes) and reality (family, tragedy) that I think this will be the Marvel movie everybody will point to and say, "That's the heart to a good superhero movie." 
          Also to answer the burning question of the title, not really. Did it matter though? No. Still a great film.


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