Black Panther ★★

40

It's all a matter of perspective, really. As someone who is apprehensive of the modern state of branding within the blockbuster setting, and even more trepidacious of what these movies are really telling us, Black Panther is an unequivocal success. For what it is, "Coogler's" film (sorry, but this is no Creed, which made me cry at nearly every gesture and carefully anticipated moment. there's *none* of that here.) highlights both a stronghold of diversity and relative conservatism, just like all the Marvel products, and more broadly, every commercial film with the intention of making money. It does the job, it was (rightfully) very successful, and the inspiration of its cultural pull is even more important than you'd guess. But at the end of the day, what *will* be made as a result of Black Panther is far superior to the film attached to its landmark representation. This is coherent, sure, but it's also entirely lacking in personality, decent effects-work (those one-takes? The car chase? The whole final act? What did they render this on? A playstation 2?), and complex extrapolations of its political conversations. Some of that isn't expected in your average (and I mean *average*) Marvel movie, so it gets a pass, but a whole lot of celebration would be even more welcome if Black Panther tried to at least look good, and maybe (please Feige! please!!) play as a real movie and not one of those episodic webisodes that run parallel to the main story. This cast, and this story, deserves more. Special 'fuck you' goes to the dreadfully misplaced soundtrack, which screams "buy me after the movie!" over and over as snippets are tossed in with abandon. No one is playing The Weeknd at a high-stakes secret casino, and if they are, whoever has control of the aux cord needs to be stopped.

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