Black Panther Review

Everyone at the theater was having a blast, but none more than this guy.

I ... I can't even.

Going in, Tony and I discussed the hype.  I said that although I loved Thor: Ragnorak, I still felt its hype was overblown.  I told him that although I expected Black Panther to be great, I didn't think it could live up to its hype unless it matched Captain America: Winter Soldier, which I contend is the high watermark for standalone superhero adventures (The first Iron Man is comparable, although I think it's an apples-and-oranges comparison).

Well... it did it.  Superlatives like "best" are subjective, and I'd still give give Captain America: Winter Soldier the edge in hand-to-hand combat choreography, but there's no denying that this movie is the first and only film I can think of that matches Winter Soldier, and surpasses it boldly in world building.  That world building, man... shit.  Wakanda Forever.

One reason I've always revered Winter Soldier in a way that even first Iron Man can't match is that I think that today, as always, superheroes reflect and model our values.  In the 90's Batman represented America's Tough-On-Crime (TM) stance.  Through the 60's and 70's, Superman represented an optimism for a brighter future in the midst of a shifting and uncertain world.  That's why my Mom has always been a big superman fan, despite having never picked up a comic.  Superman is America's patron saint of patient, loving, justice.  Zach Snyder apparently didn't share my appreciation for Superman's real-world power as a symbol, which is the true tragedy of the DC films, far more so than their simple terrible construction or low entertainment value.  Fortunately, we have Chris Evans' Steve Rodgers to show kids today what doing the right thing for the right thing's sake looks like, the way Christopher Reeve inspired my Mom.

And now, standing along side him, we have Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa.  The world's a messed up place right now, and we need to collectively recognize the behaviors we all aspire to emulate.  Black Panther does.

On an additional note, it's also helpful to recognize mistakes made, which is hard to do.  Michael B. Jordon's Killmonger adds as much in his compelling criticisms of the world we live in as T'Challa does in striving for a better world. 

Anyway, a solid 5 out of 5.

These aren't actors who were in the film.  This is just how the AUDIENCE was treated.