Black Panther (2018)

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Ryan Coogler directs Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o in this Marvel superhero adventure about the new king of Wakanda’s struggle to maintain power when a forgotten family member challenges him. 

I realise I’m in the minority here but the latest Marvel product felt very much like more of the ever diminishing same to me. There were two plus points; Michael B. Jordan’s reparations focussed antagonist Erik Killmonger is a lad, all street talk and deadly aggression, and the Afro-Futurism design work is impressive, especially the costumes. But, as I suspected from his smaller role in Captain America: Civil War, Boseman’s T’Challa is overly worthy, leading to a leaden dullness in most of his interactions. And the rare sustained action has the similar weightless tickle of Doctor Strange’s uninvolving rumbles, stuff is happening but with no real physical or narrative consequence. The only time you can tell if a character is winning or losing, hurt or victorious, is when they stop leaping and dodging to smile or grimace. Considering our blue blooded hero wears a vibranium cowl for a lot of it… blankness overwhelms. This has been lauded as the closest we’ll get to a black James Bond… it felt more like I was watching a sexless Flash Gordon. Still it is too glossy and too safe a film to really dislike.

5

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