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Westside Steve

Black panther review

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Black Panther
Marvel
PG13.             135 min

As you know I won’t look at any other reviews until I’ve got mine pretty much decided and for that reason I fear I’m going to catch a little bit of flack for this one. Right after the Oscars is traditionally the worst time of the year if you happen to be a movie fan. Nobody is going to remember many of the films that come out in February or March by the time the Academy Awards voting gets underway so the studios release a lot of crap. One of the most anticipated and biggest selling pieces of crap so far this winter has been Marvels Blaxploitation film the BLACK PANTHER. For those who have never heard of this particular superhero, including myself, this is one of those origin films that explains how the hero came to be what he or she is today. First of all, as I give you the setup, remember that the silly premise really has nothing to do with whether or not I liked the film. Believe it or not I don’t believe that Kal-El actually came from a planet with a red Sun or that Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered in Gotham City or that Peter Parker was actually bitten by a radioactive spider. So the backstory for BLACK PANTHER isn’t any more ridiculous except when, as you might have seen on the news on opening day, people actually believed it. Here goes.
Hidden somewhere around the Congo, one of the most destitute places in the world, there is an entire country called Wakanda, home to the most advanced and politically correct civilization in the world.  (Even though it is technically a kingdom  all the smartest healers and most powerful warriors are women. ) It sits on top of an almost endless supply of a magical mineral called Vibranium, which has kept the country hidden from colonialist from around the world thereby allowing the people to thrive and prosper. You might be surprised that such an advanced Society is nothing like a democracy but instead choose a King by random combat. 
So there are a couple of plots going on here and one of them is that bad white people want to steal the Vibranium and more than likely do something bad with it. The other, and more substantial, plot is of one of those Kings challenges I was talking about between  forces who want to use the magic mineral to help the world and the forces who want to kill the oppressors across the globe. Historically the writers seem to have forgotten that it was the British colonialists who ended slavery in Africa shortly after they took up shop. I’m assuming that as the series goes along BLACK PANTHER spend more and more of his time in the hood where the film begins. To be fair, the racial stereotypes weren’t nearly as overbearing as one might fear even though it was clear who the bad guys were. And of course if the races were reversed there'd be a firestorm of protest.
But at the end of the day the reason I didn’t personally enjoy the film is the same as the reason I don’t enjoy most superhero films. Too often the plot is just something to loosely hold together a furious sequence of action scenes and loud noises.  This one added a dose of ham-handed social preaching along with some of the unintentionally funniest accents we’ve heard from a group of mostly American actors in a long time.
C
WSS


 

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As you know....you and I saw it together,  and as we discussed, I didn't think that their was as much of the "bad whitey"  as I expected...or as you imply.  Sure, there was a bit of it, like one instance when one of the  Wakandans calls a white guy (an American CIA agent who is helping the Wakandans)  a "colonizer".  I did want the CIA agent to say:  "When has America ever attempted to "colonize" any part of Africa?  (the answer is:  never). 

And, of course there was the underlying fact that the actual main "villain" of the story....is a black man himself....a Wakandan....seeking revenge.  Yes, he was the Wakandans to use their "magic power" to throw over the so called oppressors....but to the film's credit, they acknowledge that in Africa it has often been one group of Black Africans who oppressed other black Africans...as much as his has been white foreign colonialists.  It is true that the movie does not seem to realize that  there is not a single  European colony in Africa any more....in fact...there  has been NO European or non-African nation to hold a colony since the mid-1970.....But:  there IS still one colony now in all of Africa:  the Western Sahara....and guess who the colonizers are?  Two other African nations:  Morocco and Mauritania. 

Maybe it is against Morroco and Mauritania that the rogue villain in this movie should have directed his ire. 

Now...note this:  the USA DOES still have what can be considered colonies...or territories:    Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands,  Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.  Most of these are "semi-sovereign"  or self governing to a point. I believe in the case of Puerto Rico that they have on at least a couple of occasions been allowed to vote on referendums as to whether they would want to become an Independent Nation, or become a full fledge US state...or to keep the status quo.   They have on each occasion chosen the status quo.  

Sorry about the digression.;)

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I told you afrerl the film that it fell short of my expectations of over-the-top hate whitey, which is usually a staple in Afrocentric films. But it still had its agenda. And that's why it's popular.  

Not to mention that if this mythical country is somewhere around the Congo the belgians would have been the closest to colonialists were there any.

WSS

 

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Pretty spot on review.  There were a few visually stunning scenes.  I thought the tree of cats, where he met his ancestors, was a great scene.  But this movie has nothing original like I expected.  It's just not well thought out.  

I thought this movie was, if anything, more offensive to black people's typical sensitivities than it was to white movie goers.  Spears as their primary weapons, self-segregation, a monkey inspired tribe, black on black violence, and so on.  I mean really, you have the greatest technological country in the world and only one scientist whose like 22.  If Batman's little sister made all his gadgets would it even be watchable?  It's almost embarrassingly bad.  I feel sad this is a monumental film for black culture.  Smh.

And one more thing, Forrest Whitaker ruined every scene he was in.  I like the guy, I really do.  He was amazing in Last King of Scotland, but this was a horrible miscast.

Simply because I didn't fall asleep, I give it a D+.  

 

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I'm really sick of the lack of legit scripts in hollywood, and very sick of superhero films, but i'll watch Black Panther. I've heard it's very mediocre. Michael B. Jordan definitely isn't a bad actor though. I look forward to it.

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