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“Black Panther” is Worth Your Time

By James Trent
On February 27, 2018

“Black Panther” refreshes Marvel’s formula while celebrating African culture
Photo Courtesy of The Star

The latest Marvel movie “Black Panther” is already meeting critical acclaim and receiving very positive reactions from audiences, and for good reason. 
 
“Black Panther” does an incredibly good job making an identity for itself among blockbusters. Marvel movies have begun to become a staple for each film season, and none of them have done particularly poorly. Rotten Tomatoes’ rankings for the series places “Thor: The Dark World” as the worst one at 66 percent, which is not horrible. “Black Panther,” however, is currently sitting at the number one spot with a 97 percent, a whole 30 percent difference. 
 
The reason for this wide gap is more than just bad luck. The hype for Marvel movies has started to decline lately, and part of the blame for that lies with the formulaic trend in the films. This is not unexpected when you have a yearly series, since it means each movie has a direction before the critical parts of film making even begin, which means less time overall. A side effect of this, however, is that each movie has some of the same vibes running throughout. It can be argued that this helps the films all feel connected, which is a concern in a series with so many different protagonists, but it is hard to deny that there is not a staleness that comes with that. 
 
The formula goes roughly something like this: The superhero(es) is/are introduced with an action scene, which may or may not be related to the rest of the movie. Then some reference to the other Marvel movies is thrown in, and only then the villain is shown to the audience with little ambiguity about who the bad guys are. After an extended action sequence, the villain will confront the hero(es) and beat them somehow, bringing the hero(es) to the lowest point of the film. The hero(es) will then rally somehow and make a triumphant comeback to save the world, and some after-credit scenes will tease future movies. 
 
Some Marvel movies execute this better than others, but almost all of them follow it in one way or another. “Black Panther” does not break this mold. It does, however, execute it better than any other Marvel movie to date. 
 
The film is completely soaked in African culture, and it makes the movie feel like one of the freshest movies to come out in a while. It is simply not something seen in many films in the states, and definitely not something that gets a multi-million dollar budget. The movie also features several native Africans speaking their national language, giving the film a real authenticity and a chance to celebrate a culture. Combine this with stunning imagery, satisfying action and fight choreography, and a perfectly suited soundtrack, and the experience of watching “Black Panther” on the big screen becomes one for the records. 
 
For all the film’s celebrating of African culture, it is not deaf to the political issues in America either. Much of the thematic struggle of the movie concerns the poor treatment of African American people across the modern world and history versus the comfort, security, and power of Black Panther’s nation of Wakanda, and what role the reclusive nation should have within the Marvel universe. It is a tricky and controversial topic, but the movie navigates that particular political minefield with grace. 
 
Oprah Winfrey took to twitter after she saw the movie, tweeting, “It’s Phenomenal!! Layers and layers of it,” which is sure to inspire millions of people to watch it on her recommendation alone. Beyond Oprah, the film is doing fantastically with audiences and critics alike in every part of the world. If the Marvel movies were beginning to feel stale, “Black Panther” is the gas to relight that fire and a must see on the big screen. 

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