Originally written Feb. 18, 2018.
I am a die-hard fan of all the Marvel movies. Every time a new film releases, you can bet all your money I will be in the theatre opening weekend, excited to see the next version of some of my favorite characters. However, even I will admit many of these movies feel quite similar. After seeing one Marvel film, you’ve basically seen all of them. Black Panther is the antithesis of this. The world, the characters and even the sound feel like they’re from a different world, and that’s because they are.
The world of Wakanda the movie introduces is one of beauty we haven’t seen in the Marvel movies. There were times I thought it could have been a real place, and other times when it felt like somewhere that could never exist. I loved the dichotomy between these two aspects of the world, and it works perfectly with the themes of the film as well.
The deep themes of loss and oppression are felt in the world the movie has built as well as the characters. Wakanda is lifted up as the pinnacle of society, with the best technology, and the rest of the world is made to look inferior. The characters are the same, with the main character, T’Challa, at the peak and Michael B. Jordan’s character at the bottom, oppressed.
Even though the world the movie exists in most of the time feels the most distant from our own, the story has never felt more real. The characters experience loss in more realistic ways, which made me like each of them more. Even the characters the viewer is supposed to see as the villain, I felt were good people. There was only one character in the movie who is solely meant to be a villain, which harkens back to the old Marvel way of the villain is truly bad, and has no redeemable qualities, but luckily, the character isn’t in the movie much.
Black Panther doesn’t feel like a Marvel movie, and that is why it’s great. After many similar movies in the series, it is refreshing to watch one with a different culture and feel than others. I loved it, and I think when the dust settles, and I think back on “Black Panther,” I will remember it as one of the best Marvel films because of its differences from the other movies in the series, the relatable characters and story and beautiful world.