Opinon

Marvel Rewatch: Black Panther

Omg. We made it. Final rewatch – this time in the cinema, since it’s still showing.

So, the thing that annoyed me about the film the first time around is the thing that still annoyed me the second time around. And that is the transfer of power by ritual combat. Okay fine, Wakanda is apparently an absolute Monarchy, and so you can forgive some things. However, given its technology and relative prosperity – history dictates that you get a move toward an inclusive political system.

And I get it, you need a reason for Killmonger to be able to waltz in and shake shit up. But I think there are inconsistencies with their own internal logic. The whole thing with outsiders first of all. It’s said several times that he wouldn’t be welcomed. And yet. Oh look, dead Klaue, you’re completely welcome outsider. Are there no protocols with dealing with people who arrive on their borders – or do they march everyone into the throne room? Especially those who have shown up with a corpse. 

This annoyed me the first time around and it felt worse the second time around, if only because I was picking up all the cues about being an outsider. And even with the ritual combat, it seemed like a thing that happens when someone becomes king. Yet they repurposed it for anyone to be able to challenge at any time. Which inherently feels like a bit too much volatility for political rule. I don’t think any kings would have liked that as an option, once they had power.

The final thing that annoyed me in the end is that it was just good guy fighting the bad version of himself. I hope Marvel stop doing that.

SO FINE.

But aside from that, it’s still got some great stuff going for it. With the foresight of seeing the film already, you can almost predict that W’Kabi is going to side with Killmonger. I also liked the same sky outside Killmonger’s apartment when he goes to the ancestral plane. I liked the continuation yet change in how that whole plane worked based on who the person was. So sad that they were orphaned out there though 😦

The entire last act with taking on Killmonger and all the fighting was pretty great. Everything with Okoye was marvellous. Everything with M’Baku was also brilliant. All of the supporting cast were so good. Just absolutely phenomenal.

And fundamentally, and the reason why I mostly forgive the weird political instability, is that it allows for so much political philosophy to take place in a Marvel film. Alongside it’s unrelenting in its critique of colonial powers. The line at the end where Killmonger says bury him in the sea with his ancestors who knew that death was better than bondage. I mean, holy shit.

The whole package was there – the drums and soundscape were brilliant. The entire look and feel of Wakanda was sufficiently different but also just super stylish. Black Panther also feels closer to the central Marvel super humans – rather than someone like Thor or even Doctor Strange. It was realistic enough for me to buy into the fact that Wakanda could exist in this universe.

OMG WE’RE DONE. INFINITY WAR IS NEXT.

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