It was a little bit difficult returning to Black Panther what with the death of Chadwick Boseman. It just made me sad. You can look back at my previous "review" here, which was less a review and more of a discussion of the cultural impact of the movie.
Four years later: What is the cultural impact? It's a little difficult to say. We've had the death of Boseman and a pandemic, which may or may not have affected the way people go to movies for all time. That's also difficult to say. We have had both Shang-chi and Eternals since the release of Panther. Would we have had those without the overwhelming success of Panther? Eternals, maybe; Shang-chi, certainly not. It's true that my prediction about the movie may have been lofty, but it's still too early to tell. And the death of Boseman and the pandemic have certainly changed things. I'll know more when the next Panther movie comes out at the end of the year.
I'm again not going to really review this movie, but I will talk about some things that stood out to me this time.
1. Why is Martin Freeman given such a prominent role? Don't get me wrong, I like Freeman, but I don't understand, exactly, how or why he ended up with the role he has in this movie. He gets to be the hero of the "space battle," and I'm not really sure why.
2. Speaking of the "space battle," I realized that Black Panther has the classic Star Wars finale:
-- Jedi Battle (in this case between Panther and Killmonger)
-- space battle (where Ross has a dogfight and shoots down the weapons supply ships)
-- ground battle (where the... you know, where everyone else fights)
I was a little bit surprised when I had this realization. I mean, this is such a Star Wars thing that one of the Star Wars CCGs adopted this as their playing format. Now I'm wondering if any other movies have used this format. Does it pre-date Star Wars? I've never really contemplated this before and am vaguely curious. Probably not curious enough to do any research about it, though.
3. Monarchy. For such an advanced society, why is Wakanda still stuck in a hereditary monarchy model? And, on top of that...
4. Leadership by combat? I mean, that is the absolute worst. I'm actually having a hard time, now, with the idea that T'Chaka was able to hold onto his kingship into his old age. Or maybe that trial-by-combat thing was only once, unless challenged by a blood heir, but still...
We saw how that worked out.
I'm kind of hoping that the next Panther movie will introduce some governmental reforms, but I'm kinda doubting it.
Don't get me wrong, I get that it made for a good movie. Lots of tension and action and all of that stuff but, as a working model of government, Wakanda needs some help.
All of that said, the movie still holds up. It was great fun to watch. I love Boseman. And am sad. I love Serkis' Klaue. He is possibly the most fun villain the MCU has had. The scene where he runs out of the club yelling, "That was awesome!" is kind of priceless. Forest Whitaker is in a second role with Disney in which he sacrifices himself. Well, the cast is stellar all around.
Of course, now I have to work it into the rankings which is a thing that keeps getting harder and harder to do. Not to mention needing to come up with a way to slam Norton. But here goes...
3. Captain America: The First Avenger
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. Iron Man
11. Thor: The Dark World
16. Iron Man 3
17. Iron Man 2
18. Incredible Hulk (Norton's ego is stronger even than vibranium.)