Tag Archives: Michael B. Jordan

What To Watch? Black Panther

For Mothers’ Day, I wanted to see Black Panther. There was such a hype about it and it was a Marvel movie, so I had to see it on the big screen.

Black Panther

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To be honest, the first time I heard about Black Panther was in the Forrest Gump movie and since then thought it was a movement, not a superhero (yes, I dropped history from my high school package as soon as it hit the twentieth century. My bad, but I had a reason). As I’m a fan of any superhero, I was eager to see this Black Panther movie.

Plot and Characters

The movie starts with a flashback, when Wakanda king T’Chaka (played by John Kani) visits his brother N’Jobu (played by Sterling K. Brown) in the US, finds out he is planning to help the African-American people by using Wakanda’s secret resource of vibranium, a meteorite metal that affects a plant which gives superpowers to those that ingest it, and kills him, leaving his son behind.

Fast forward to the here and now. King T’Chaka is killed (which is seen in Captain America: Civil War) and his son T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) takes the throne. The arms dealer N’Jobu was dealing with, the South-African Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), finally steals a piece of vibranium from a museum, and shit hits the fan. (I’m not going into further detail as I don’t want to spoil the plot). What I must say is that the plot was very predictable.

Michael K. Jordan as N'Jadaka in Black Panther
Michael K. Jordan as N’Jadaka

All characters, except for CIA agent Everett K. Ross (played by Martin Freeman) and arms dealer (played by Andy Serkis), are African-Americans. Well, I don’t actually know if they are all American, but they’re of African descent for sure. I loved watching Michael B. Jordan, who played N’Jadaka, T’Challa’s cousin, even with all the scars from his killings. That man is beautiful. I liked his acting as well, very convincing. To be honest, more so than Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. I liked Letitia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. Boseman and Wright played their roles well, although I found it hard to believe they were related, but this always happens in movies.

What I liked

I liked the colorfulness of the movie, the well-choreographed action, the use of cg-rhinoceroses, and the technology suggested. If only it could be true (the technology, of course).

Some parts of the dialogue were funny, but, to be honest, I had hoped for more one-liners.

The music was notable. When the first African sounds blasted through the speakers, I experienced a ‘Circle of Life’ moment, but it was short-lived. I liked how they adjusted the music to the change of location.

I was very impressed with the graphics. Especially the technology looked believable.

I liked there was a female ‘Q,’ and liked the session where the new Panther suit was shown, albeit a bit cliché.

I liked the way they added political hints that living in America is not good for all Americans and that things still need to change in a big way. Not sure it had a place in a Marvel movie, but it was a great way to convey the message to a large audience.

What I didn’t like

Now, I’m having some issues with this movie.

Yes, it is good to see more African(-American)s on the big screen. In the current US political climate, we can’t see enough of them to show the world is a multiracial place. But is it necessary to put them all in one movie? I mean, I’m opposed to segregation, and yet, this is how I see this movie. No integration whatsoever. Oh wait, there is a white fellow featuring the full length of the movie and, lo and behold, he saves the day. Honestly, wasn’t there one Wakandan pilot available who could have piloted the aircraft? I’m having a ‘The Great Wall‘ moment here. Last week, I watched ‘Last Knights‘ and that movie was so much more multi-racially appeasing. If they wanted the movie to be a complete African-American feature, they should’ve left Martin Freeman out. Sorry, Martin.

Another issue, something that I can’t leave out, is that I don’t understand that a country like Wakanda, surrounded by multiple third-world countries, focusses on helping African-Americans. Why don’t they help their African neighbors around them first? Those that don’t have running water in their homes, those that don’t have an infrastructure to rely on as a basis for thriving enterprise, and those that are suffering genocide. Basically, their fellow Africans need more help than African-Americans. Why don’t they show Wakanda helping those people? Why does it always revolve around America? Maybe it was implied, but I must have missed it.

Yet another issue is the fact that the ‘rebels,’ those that want to use the vibranium to help African-Americans, immediately revert to violence. They want to make weapons and ‘overthrow’ the white Americans. Why conquer? Isn’t that an eye for an eye, i.e. rather barbaric? Why lower yourself to the level you abhor? The ending of the movie suggests T’Challa is finally willing to share Wakandan technology, but the majority of the movie shows that change is only achieved after resorting to violence first.

Maybe I’m taking this too far. Maybe I shouldn’t think this movie exists to help multiracialism forward and just watch it as a Marvel superhero movie.

Summary

An excellent addition to the Marvel movies, with colorful images, spectacular action, great acting, and a moral-of-the-story that is debatable.

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Just in case people get me wrong 🙂 :

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Movie Reviews: Warrior vs. Creed

Score: Warrior 10/10 vs. Creed 5/10

– Warning: Spoiler Alert! –

Last week I watched two fight movies. First ‘Warrior,’ a 2011 movie with Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte, directed by Gavin O’Connor. Now I normally don’t like fight movies as I find fighting a stupid waste of time. I have nothing against a bit of competition and showing off of physical prowess (hail the Olympics!), but to actually hurt another person on purpose for no good reason is too Neanderthal for me. So it was a surprise that I loved this movie, a lot. Hence I decided to watch Creed afterwards. What a let down that was…

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‘Warrior’ has the perfect tension build-up. Slowly but surely we are fed information about the characters, their background and how they tie in together. It starts with normal situations (at all fronts), which during the movie escalates into incredible dramatic tension, coming to a final show off in the fighting cage. During the whole movie you only know one thing: that the brothers will be fighting each other. But what happens before keeps surprising you, as well as how the movie ends. Character set up is perfect, casting is perfect. I love Tom Hardy ever since I saw him in ‘Child 44.’ I didn’t know Joel Edgerton (although I have seen ‘Exodus’ and ‘Star Wars – Episode II’), but he was also very well cast. I really don’t like Nick Nolte, but I respect his work as an actor and thought he was extremely well cast for this role. The music was in line with the tension of the movie, didn’t distract and wasn’t flat. Flow was perfect, even in the fight scenes. The ending was believable and left me happy, even though not all fronts were covered in that happy ending. All in all a great movie that I won’t mind seeing again and would recommend everybody else to watch.

Creed

Now ‘Creed,’ a 2015 movie with Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, directed by Ryan Coogler. Everything I just said about what was great about Warrior, wasn’t there in Creed. I felt the actors were ‘acting,’ Stallone was often mumbling (as he does) to the point you had no idea what he was saying, the music was laughably far removed from the movie action, the characters were extremely predictable. DH and I actually predicted that the downstairs neighbour would be an Afro-American female even before she opened the door. The dramatic action that was supposed to compare to Rocky reaching the top of the steps in the first movie was just ridiculous. Watching the movie I mostly felt like being at a reunion for the Rocky cast. All in all I am glad I didn’t pay money to see that movie in the theatre. I will not lose a moment’s sleep if I never see this movie again.

So if you want to learn about good story and tension build-up, watch Creed before you watch Warrior (which you should anyway if you haven’t already!) and note the difference.

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(Translation: Fighting for his honour, Fighting for his family)