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Black Panther with spoilers


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Shuri is T'Challa's "Q". And just like the more recent Bond films, they are casting this role very young in order to connect with today's teens who are growing up with high tech as their cultural norm. Marvel doesn't really care whether this is "realistic", only that they get to have at least one character that stands in proxy for the teen audience, regardless of how implausible it might be.

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On 3/25/2018 at 9:38 PM, Cancer said:

Saw it this evening for the first time.  Enjoyed it.  Completely unfamiliar with the characters and story prior to watching the movie, I admit.

That was how I came in too. And I was probably better off for it. I wasn't thinking about comic book superheroes at all, but was concentrating on a story that almost transcended its superhero roots and characters who were fascinating as characters as opposed to sets of powers. Notice that we very rarely talk about batles or superpowers as we discuss this film -- and we're on a gaming board?

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Very cool super-suit, though. The nanite assembly "instant change" and kinetic-energy absorption and redirection are new distinguishing gimmicks. And the MCU no longer needs Wolverine to satisfy the "stabby-claw" fans. ;)


I was rather disappointed that the movie didn't utilize the enhanced senses that T'Challa gains from the heart-shaped herb in the comics.

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Cap's shield, at least, is pretty distinctive. 


Really the best superhero powers, from a writing perspective, are the ones that come with huge penalties or require that their wielders behave a certain way.  Thor can't lift the hammer if he's not worthy.  Beast can be either blue and furry, or stupid.  Rogue can't touch anyone, ever--no one she likes, anyway.  What if BP's supersoldier abilities were contingent on the approval of the Wakandan council?  Or if they only worked within a certain distance of Wakanda?  To me the best superhero stories are the ones where the abilities themselves inevitably set up conflicts within the character.


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On another board, I [posited that Spider-Man's powers were not how his problems were solved. They exist to get him into trouble that he needed his wits to get out of. And also to highlight the jumble of emotions, fears, and questions that is Peter Parker. After the first Tobey Maguire movie, I referred to the character as "The Hamlet of superheroes" to my mother who saw it with me. (I love seeing movies with my mother, because we have the most interesting discussions afterwards.) I'm waiting for the superhero analogy to King Lear....

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4 hours ago, Old Man said:


Really the best superhero powers, from a writing perspective, are the ones that come with huge penalties or require that their wielders behave a certain way.  Thor can't lift the hammer if he's not worthy.  Beast can be either blue and furry, or stupid.  Rogue can't touch anyone, ever--no one she likes, anyway.  What if BP's supersoldier abilities were contingent on the approval of the Wakandan council?  Or if they only worked within a certain distance of Wakanda?  To me the best superhero stories are the ones where the abilities themselves inevitably set up conflicts within the character.



Excellent point.


For BP, I think it would be thematically strong to have his abilities dependent on and/or limited by the (continual) approval of his spirit ancestors.

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 9:58 PM, RDU Neil said:

Black Panther is excellent, both as an interpretation of the character and stories from the comics, and as a piece of modern story telling that does not shirk from hard social subjects. It is a movie that is as much about a depth of world building that I really, really enjoy, as much as it is a plot that essentially forces Wakanda out of the shadows, and makes it a relevant player in the larger Marvel universe. Th,e most important character in the movie is Wakanda, and they take the time to explore it and show that it is not "one thing" in some generic, homogenized  abstract of a Afrofuturist nation. It is dynamic, spectacular, yet contentious and diverse within its own borders as well.


I really love that they went fully into the sci-fi wonderland that Wakanda was made out to be, especially in early Avengers comics. (I can only add that in a larger picture, it is clear that the level of futuristic technology shown here will be essential to the battle vs. Thanos coming up in a few short months.)


Bozeman's T'Challa is the calm center in a wide cast of vibrant supporting characters. Lupita Nyong'o just owns the screen as Nakia. The movie is really an ensemble cast, rather than a vehicle for Bozeman, but that is as much about the kind of story that is being told... one of a "people" not just one person. 


Oh, and the humor is spot on. It is a natural humor, coming at the right time in ways that feel grounded in the moment, often serving to reveal and build character in a very effective way. 


Action wise, the various fight scenes that did not have the full on Black Panther suit were much better than the scenes with them. My one "meh" feeling is that there was just too much CGI of the high-tech Black Panther suit, compared to how they filmed him in Civil War. I think the Russo Brothers just do better fight scenes. That being said, I'm always a fan of giant, armored war-rhinos.


I would also have liked more time with Killmonger . He is an important villain, and complex, and they could have spent more time showing his operation. His plot felt too rushed. I can honestly see why there might be a 3-4 hour version of this movie, because you can tell Coogler had deep plans for a dozen characters, and not enough time to flesh them all out. Andy Serkis' relishes every second as Klaue, and it is unfortunate they kill him off. 



More or less agree on all counts.  It feels like they were trying to cram as much Black Panther lore into one movie as possible, because there may not be another.  The result was three adversaries who could each have carried a movie (Klaue/KLAW, M'Baku and Killmonger) each getting limited time.  A "succession" film with M'Baku as the primary adversary, with Klaue playing on that to access Wakandan tech - and perhaps Klaue's actions against Wakanda being a wakeup call for M'Baku -  could have worked well, and set up "Klaw" for a sequel, with Killmonger getting his own film.  MCU is, to some extent, a victim of its own success - can't really rely on three films even if the first really delivers, as there is so much more in the hopper.


Still a good film, but how much would it take to expand that 4 hour rumoured cut to two or three films of equal or greater quality?


On ‎4‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 12:52 PM, massey said:

A few small criticisms:  First, too much CGI neon.  Wakanda stops looking like a real place (or even a fantastical place like Asgard) and starts looking like a computer game.  I know that's the style these days, but too many glowing energy fields pull me out of the film.  Second, that new suit seems to make him really freakin' powerful.  Probably too powerful.  For somebody I mentally put on par with Cap and Bucky, now he seems Iron Man grade durable or more.  Like a martial artist character who bought 40 PD and ED. 


The other aspect of the suit that bugged me - it seems like many Marvel characters are being made reliant on their costume.  Iron Man is obvious, and he fills that niche.  But Spider-Man's focus on the StarkSuit felt excessive (really, does Spidey need an onboard AI and an Iron Man-esque swiss army attacks multipower?  Now we have Panther, again largely reliant on the suit-tech (and basically ignoring his enhanced senses after early mention).  Gadgets built into the suit, like the "sneakers" and claws?  Sure.  But the suit should not be the focus of his abilities.

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I'm going to disagree about his powers being boring and say that its not the powers that make a super-hero interesting. I thought the way they worked the super-serum into the kitchy pseudo-african culture and made it a part of the land he rules (the king and the land are one) to be at least archetypal. And his suit is boiler-plate, though adding the kinetic absorption and release was kind of cool.


My issue is that I found T'Challa boring not as a super-hero, but as a person. He is a staunch conservative, monarchist, and traditionalist. And, while he's willing to open a center outside of Wakanda by the end of the film, his realm remains essentially closed-off and isolationist in character. The actor is very talented, but the character is overly stoic. He makes solemnizing speeches, and and is admirably resolute, but he's not vibrant.


I like a man of and for his people, but as presented he's not a very evocative figure. He doesn't inspire. He's everybody else's straight man and sounding board. The people around him bring the key notes to the scenes. I don't blame the actor. I blame the writers. They could have done a great deal to make him inspiring, innovative, or even humanized him with some wry humor of his own. Chadwik Boseman was not given as rich a script or as developed a character as Chris Evans.


I also found the depiction of Wakanda banal and tone-deaf. Americans tend to have atavistic, idealistic, ignorant, and unrealistic ideas about "ancestral homelands" they are generations removed from and have little, if any, direct experience of. I am not sure, if I were African, I would appreciate this presentation of "Africa" no matter what color the skin of the writers and directors happen to be. 


Its a fallacy rooted in our love of hyphenating ourselves. We appropriate and misrepresent cultures that haven't really been our own for generations. If a German American makes a film about Germany filled with lederhosen, oompa bands, giant beer steins, humorless engineers, and gourmet sausages we all know its ridiculous and a bit offensive to real Germans. I didn't see the Black Panther as being any different: an bizarre fantasy Africa produced by a hyphenated American.


Knowing where your people are from does not make you from that place or give you a critical pass when you to rip it out of its accurate and authentic ethnographic context to produce an emotionally convenient caricature of a culture that serves your wholly unrelated social and cultural circumstances and aims (even if those aims are, in of themselves, admirable).  You can choose to do that. What you can't do is demand someone regard it as worthwhile art. 


My people primarily come from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Germany. That does not mean I can create bad caricatures of those countries and cultures and expect accolades for the final product just because happen to slap Irish-Scottish-Welsh-German on the left of my -American. Unless I'm writing a comedy and seeking to lampoon the stereotypes, I'm pretty much saying "hey, look at me, I'm an offensive American ignoramous!"


I really wanted to like this movie, but overall, I found it groan-worthy.

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Finally got to see this.  It wasn't too bad, but it didn't really stand out to me.  Lower third of the pack for Marvel movies - better than Thor 2 and Iron Man 3, but not as good as most.  I agree with the CGI complaints, they were pretty subpar for these days and what we've come to expect from Marvel.  


The good parts were that it was visually interesting, detailed, and complete as we've come to expect from modern movies.  The set designers, costumers, makeup artists, etc are the true experts and professionals in modern filmmaking; they are almost always dead perfect and go well beyond simply what you see but add in so much the world feels and seems complete, whatever it is.  Most of the actors did a solid, even great job in their roles and sold their parts very convincingly (particularly the lady general).  They made the technology interesting and bold, with lots of curious gadgets and impressive new things.


The bad parts were that the kingdom of Wakanda felt a bit oddly forced.  The "street market" scenes were more a melange of every African and black design and cultural elements in the world thrown together improbably into one location.  Jamaicans, Nigerians, South Americans, all sort of bundled together in a UN of African lineage without any rhyme or reason.  Here, despite being well done, the design team didn't do very good at creating a unique and specific culture, but rather a trans-African meta culture that was just "African" without being distinctive.  The buildings were kind of a jumble of various "ooh look at that" architecture rather than having a feeling or style (other than "vines added").  The graffiti seemed very out of place in this alleged utopia, but I suppose that was a nod to modern black inner city culture.


Also, for being a super culture, it felt very oddly backward.  People walking in their bare feet and sandals in dirt, nobody even had a bicycle. Nobody except the royalty and related people had any access to any of this advanced tech.  You didn't see people with cell phones or using wrist communicators unless they were in charge.  Everyone is using baskets to carry things instead of floating gizmos.  Like its a literal feudal society with the crushed down super poor and the pampered super rich.  This didn't feel especially utopian, either.


There were a lot of little "what the??" bits in the film as well, such as how everyone in the nation teleported onto the cliffs over the battle platform under the waterfall in the time it took the ship to circle around and drop off T'challa, or why the little nation of Wakanda was never even attempted to be colonized.  It was just left alone, untouched for... reasons.


Mostly though, my main complaint is that it wasn't a superhero movie.  It wasn't even a comic book movie.  Black Panther didn't fight crime and injustice, he was just king fighting for his country (note: I have the same complaint about Iron Man, he doesn't fight crime, he protects himself and his company).  They didn't want Klaw because he was a bad person, but because he stole some of their secret precious metal.  Black Panther had a costume, but it was a uniform for fighting, like a power suit in Starship Troopers, not a super hero suit. Despite the title, the movie wasn't really about Black Panther at all.  It was about Wakanda, sort of a fairy tale of a mythical country and its wonderful things, about its future and who should rule it.  So it didn't particularly feel like it fit into the Marvel Universe in any remotest sense.  Even the one outside character was part of the CIA, not SHIELD, not an Avengers liaison, not any connection to the Marvel Universe.  Just a guy from America.


Unlike others I wasn't particularly impressed with Killmonger's character or person as a villain.  He felt kind of boring and typical, and did not stand out at all for his personal abilities.  The way the Rhino tribe was split off was very contrived, and there were some other minor things such as the length and meandering, slow pace of the story which didn't have a particularly interesting climax or payoff.


Overall, meh, 2½ stars, but I suspect it means a lot more to its target audience than it would me, a honky with Danish and Scottish background.

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20 hours ago, zslane said:

Upon a second viewing, I’m trying to ferret out the logic behind designing a fighter with the ability to drain its power supply—necessitating a full system reboot—in order to cover its outer surface with a single, huge electrical discharge.

I can get this one...Giant Squid! ;) OK, Giant Flyin Squid! (from space!!!)

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