Black Panther Reviews

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:52 am

Greg wrote:With the year almost half over, just two films, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, still account for over 1/3 of all domestic -theatrical-box-office sales.


They probably account of close to 1/3 of total international box office and the only thing keeping them from having a bigger international share is that China has a number of home grown products that do huge business in China but are little seen beyond.

Whilst I have little time for superhero movies I'm grateful to them in so far as they are getting bums on seats and keeping cinemas in business and enabling them to show other films that in general do not draw large audiences.
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Greg » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:48 pm

With the year almost half over, just two films, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, still account for over 1/3 of all domestic -theatrical-box-office sales.
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:47 pm

Back in the late 70s, NBC ran a Martin Luther King miniseries with Paul Winfield. In one of the commercials (in that era, we couldn’t fast-forward them), two cute black grandmothers introduced their grandchildren to the glories of McDonald’s. I remember saying to my then-roommate, “This is what Dr. King was fighting for” – and I was only being halfway snarky. King of course fought for the right of black Americans to ascend as high as they could (though the presidency could then have barely been imagined), but also for the right of most others to simply live lives as ordinary/even banal as their white co-citizens.

Black Panther evoked a similar reaction in me. That a movie with a quite-dominant black cast, steeped in African culture, can become a worldwide blockbuster is a very good thing, and important commercially, sociologically…I’ll even say culturally. But you lose me (and, it seems, BJ) when you extend this to artistically. Because, that cultural patina removed, Black Panther is nothing more than a routine Marvel super-hero film – pressed, I’d say a less interesting one than Doctor Strange, and well below the level set by the original Iron Man, which inaugurated this flood-the-market-with-Marvel-characters era.

It’s not that there’s nothing good about it. People have mentioned the costumes, and I’d point to the Wakanda design as pretty impressive, as well. (The Academy design branch seems to have moved past nominating these films, but they might want to reconsider, here.) And I really enjoyed Letitia Wright’s sister character – she added much-needed humor to the piece. She and the M’Baku character were the only ones who made me laugh over the whole two hours…and this, to me, is the film’s real lack: it just wasn’t much fun. The Korean car chase was the only sequence that even gave me much of an action-movie high. The (extended) final battle had its moments, but not enough to justify the long lead-up. It’s possible, of course, for a comic book movie to succeed without being “fun” if it’s got enough heft – The Dark Knight, whatever its flaws, had a pretty well-realized crime wave storyline, and also enough character-depth to keep it aloft. I guess some think the betraying brother/abandoned child/vengeance plot, mixed with the African roots, gave this film similar weight, but I just found these story tropes hackneyed, without much twist. There was one idea I thought interesting and even witty: that, given the long history of black culture being appropriated, the only way for Wakanda to safeguard all its achievements was to pretend it didn’t have them – but there wasn’t enough made of that (and, in fact, by the end, it seemed they were ready to toss that element aside). I just didn’t think there was enough there there for the film to qualify as genuinely serious – even with a thoroughly over-qualified cast filling the roles. And, as I said, it didn’t provide enough laughs and thrills to offset this.

I may – like BJ -- just be the wrong audience for any film like this. I read a commenter at Awards Watch, who said you really had to have seen Civil War to understand what was going on. I thought, I’d better look the earlier film up – but then, I realized it was Captain America: Civil War, and I already HAD seen it. And, thinking back, I vaguely remembered an explosion at the UN, and I guess it was Boseman’s father who was killed…but none of this had stuck to my brain. This is not just the memory-fail of a no-longer-so-young guy – I can vividly recall details of scenes from movies I saw but once, decades ago. The difference is, I watched those earlier movies intently; I was so engaged with them, details burned themselves in my memory. In the Marvel movies, though, I don’t take any of stories seriously enough – don’t have the emotional involvement with them – for memories to be created. They’re all, in my view, disposable viewing, with recycled plots/character relationships there strictly to prop up visual whiz-bang. (I’m not making this argument as a stern realism-only taskmaster: I was a huge fan of the Spielberg fantasy pictures in the 70s/80s. But those films, too, engaged me emotionally -- and, for me, earned their outsize financial success by the immense pleasure they offered audiences.)

I don’t know what to think about Coogler. I liked Fruitvale Station, and, while I thought Creed was an utterly unnecessary movie, I found it (as Sabin more or less said of Blade Runner 2049) as good a movie as you’ll see from a director wasting his time. For me, Black Panther represents a step back – Creed was a better Rocky movie than Black Panther is a Marvel universe movie – but Coogler’s talent still remains apparent (his opening visuals for this film are impressive -- they prepared me for a much better movie than I got). With a billion dollars under his belt, he’s going to have freedom to go anywhere he wants now. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of choices he makes next.

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:29 am

Black Panther is a triumph of representation. In that it represents an opportunity to take every blockbuster not starting black people and puts them in it. We get a patchwork of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and James Bond at least. Despite their best efforts, “vibranium” is still a silly magic rock. Wakanda as a homeland fares better and comes across as meaningful. Most meaningful are the images of proud black people on-screen, all with different pigments and hair styles. Black Panther seems to want you to know at every turn that it’s existence is an act of defiance in an upside-down world, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching more of a gesture than an entirely successful piece of dramatic writing.

Keep in mind, I’m saying entirely successful. Black Panther is definitely is the most ambitious Marvel film, but subsequently it reveals why that’s not necessarily a good thing. It’s so self-important that it can come across as silly. To praise Black Panther is to praise its CHOICES. The film celebrates black women, and that’s something to be cheered. But for black women to be cheered, sometimes the men have to be so markedly silly that it feels like a kid playing action figures.

Marvel films have a history of raising interesting ideas and then bailing on them, especially the collateral damage idea in Civil War. Black Panther gets a big jolt at the midpoint with the arrival of Michael B. Jordan and his ideology, which is specific and at complicated loggerheads with the Wakandan way. But the film doesn’t have time to explore this idea. And T’Challa has a lot in common with Wonder Woman as a hero in education, a leader who is led, and that can be dull because the filmmakers have this need to protect and preserve a character that is a meaningful figure to an underrepresented community first and an interesting character second.

The best thing I can say about the film is that there is a power to the images because they are meaningful. But it also reveals the limits of Marvel storytelling.
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:53 pm

I liked it a fair bit. Wouldn't go as far as the raves - Erhlich gave it a B+ which seems fair (I'd probably drop it to a B, though). Glad it's making tonnes of money, curious if Hollywood takes the right lessons or not.

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:04 am

I can't remember the last time I saw a superhero film at the cinema and to my surprise Black Panther was fairly watchable by the standards of those I've seen on home video over the last couple of years.

Perhaps because it has such a different setting to the general fare it felt a little fresher, though it certainly could have the climatic battle sequence edited more tightly. Visually it looked impressive and a couple of technical Oscar nominations next year will not be out of the question.

As a one-off it's passable stuff but no doubt a bunch of unnecessary sequels will follow. Really there is nothing much to say about a standard piece of fluff like this.
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:37 am

That was a depressing read BJ. I really do not like 'superhero' films anymore and tend to avoid them. Too many, too many sequels and too much of the same things over and over again. I avoided Wonder Woman and am eternally grateful to the good members of the Academy who saw it fit not to nominate it for anything, saving me a viewing.

Ryan Coogler would be the only reason I would even consider seeing Black Panther. Though Creed was ordinary it was actually better than any of the other Rocky films I had seen. I might slum it and go to this in a months time or wait for DVD but really I don't think it has anything to offer me.
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:37 pm

Okay, I'll put down a few more thoughts just so I don't sound like a complete brat.

First of all, I am 100% supportive of the fact that if white dudes get to star in and make huge superhero movies, then women should also have the opportunity to do so, and people of color should as well. And just as I was happy that Wonder Woman made many women feel empowered (even if I didn't love it), I'm very moved to see the impact that Black Panther has had culturally on people of color who have literally never had the opportunity to see themselves in a film like this on this scale before. If we're going to have superhero movies, everyone should be represented in them.

I guess I'm sort of at the point where I'm just so exhausted by the Marvel formula that it's just hard for me to get anywhere near the level of pleasure these movies provide so many people. I feel like these superhero movies are a bit like the cinematic version of high class fast food. Let's use Chipotle as a comparison. (Bear with me here for a while). I eat at Chipotle some times. As a meal goes, it's totally fine, and it thoroughly satisfies my hunger when I need to eat. But imagine if everyone you knew were telling you that Chipotle is among the best restaurants in Los Angeles. I would say, um...WHAT? And they'd say, why DON'T you think Chipotle is one of the best meals you could have in town? And I'd say, because the restaurants that I think are among the best in town are just operating at a completely different level of cuisine than Chipotle. In fact, even your average neighborhood restaurant is superior to Chipotle. And they'd say, don't you think that's a little snobbish, to consider yourself a foodie and write off an entire genre of food? And I'd say, I'm not writing off Mexican food, I just think Chipotle is kind of cheap and generic compared to the best of it. And they'd say, but Chipotle makes WAY more money than all of the restaurants you love that only have one location. And I'd say, I'm not disputing that more people are eating at Chipotle, but I don't see how that should affect how I feel about eating there. And then every few months, they'd say...come with me to this ONE Chipotle, you will definitely like this ONE Chipotle. And we'd go to the Beverly Hills Chipotle, and they'd say, isn't THIS one of the best meals in town? And I'd say, well, this Chipotle is definitely really clean, and the ingredients are very fresh -- this is definitely better than the janky Chipotles in some other parts of town. But it's still basically the same Chipotle -- I'd never compare it to a five star restaurant, or even a three star one honestly, and I wouldn't consider my time there to be any kind of hugely memorable experience.

So, that's sort of where I'm at with these superhero movies (sorry for the long-winded, ridiculous metaphor). I've certainly been skipping some of the ones (like Justice League) that are poorly received. But films like Black Panther (and Wonder Woman) are too obviously culturally important to avoid, so I keep trudging along, hoping somewhere I'll feel the amount of excitement many audiences (and, increasingly, critics) have. And it would be wrong to say there is nothing fresh about Black Panther -- in addition to simply the casting, this is obviously a film MADE by people of color, and I genuinely appreciated both the snarky comments toward Martin Freeman's whiteness ("Don't scare me like that, colonizer!") and the obviously impactful awareness of America's (and the world's) racial history (Michael B. Jordan's final line is not the kind of thing you get when you hire white writers). And there are a lot of good actors here having a good time -- the three younger women especially, as well as Jordan, probably one of the better villains in the Marvel canon (the bar there is pretty pitiful though).

But...I also think there's just a ton that's ho hum. The plot to me is kind of a snooze, centering around yet another mysterious metal that everyone wants to get their hands on, with a plot reveal about one character that feels like "THAT twist again?", and of course, a final CGI battle sequence that seems to go on forever. Although I thought the world of Wakanda was quite colorfully realized (those dazzling costumes are getting an Oscar nod, right?), it's still very much within the typical Marvel House Style, which is of course what you're always getting with these movies, but which doesn't feel like the singularly creative vision the reviews promised with all those raves. (I didn't adore The Dark Knight, but that's the one superhero movie that felt to me like it was obviously a cut above the norm in concept and execution; Black Panther just doesn't feel that much more special than a Thor movie, beyond the clear cultural significance, which I do acknowledge isn't nothing.)

One thing I'll be interested to see is where Ryan Coogler goes from here. For someone so young, he's accomplished an astonishing feat with his three films. And yet, I was significantly underwhelmed by both Creed and Black Panther -- I find them both pretty average commercial entertainments rather than the work of someone I'd consider a hot new talent. Of course, Coogler has certainly earned the right to make whatever films he wants to, but I'd still hope that the director of Fruitvale Station has some more artful films in him; should he essentially become another version of the Russo brothers or James Gunn, I'd be disappointed.

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:02 pm

I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM I DO NOT LIKE THEM SAM I AM

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:08 am

This was posted yesterday, so it didn't take more than a few hours to declare that, yes indeed, Black Panther is an Oscar contender. It stops short of calling for Best Picture, though, and argues almost solely for a Costume nomination. I'm convinced!

http://www.vulture.com/2018/02/black-pa ... oscar.html

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Okri » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:47 pm

I actually want to see it, that's how powerful a drug representation can be.

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:24 pm

Maybe this is the one? Who knows. I felt Wonder Woman was just top-end superhero movie when it came out, so I was resistant to calls for it to be a Best Picture nominee. Logan, on the other hand, like Mad Max: Fury Road, was such a departure from the norm that I had zero problem with either being touted as potential Best Picture nominees. Same goes for Blade Runner 2049. We'll see where I land on this one, but compared to the other Disney Marvel films, I won't hold out much hope.
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:45 pm

FilmFan720 wrote:So, how long until we get the "I've been bamboozled again" post from BJ? Less than a week after opening?


Well, I have to see it first! I always go in to everything with a completely open mind... :P

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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby FilmFan720 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:37 pm

So, how long until we get the "I've been bamboozled again" post from BJ? Less than a week after opening?
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Re: Black Panther Reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:19 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
Franz Ferdinand wrote:First reviews are starting to roll in - unsurprisingly positive.


Cue the “This should be a Best Picture nominee!” buzz in 3, 2, 1...

I waited too long; I'd been meaning to snarkily post that very line to your attention for about two weeks now.

Predictable thing is predictable.


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