I waited a few days to see “Black Panther” (directed by Ryan Coolger, written with Joe Robert Cole), and saw it at a Regal in Alexandria mid-day Wednesday before a moderate crowd in a large Imax auditorium in 3D. The film is still selling even during the week.
First, it seems honorable to name a superhero after a cat. And it shouldn’t seem so novel to introduce an African-American superhero.
That person is the Black Panther (T’Challa) himself, a young king of Wakanda, a secret small African nation where with advanced technology and personal powers related to a fictitious rare earth element called vibranium, found in a meteorite. The character has a history of connections to other Marvel characters as from Captain America. Maybe it is a Shangri La, or may it is as reclusive as North Korea. But it seems to be a prosperous place, with policies of isolationism. But BP (Chadwick Boseman) seems to be a rather establishment king (or God King), until he is challenged by a rival N’Jakarka (Michael B. Jordan), with radical ideas. Should this rich kingdom welcome refugees and be expected to share its wealth with the poor?
The makeup on Jordan’s body, of a matrix of keloids, is remarkable, and adds to the impression of combativeness. That idea presumes no body hair.
The city that is shown is one of the most fascinating sci-fi cities on film, with a layer of street shops overlaid above with a bizarre array of skyscrapers. There is a fascinating subway system in the caverns or catacombs below, where the tunnel dynamically surrounds the train. The track may be a kind of Mobius strip; you wonder if that can even work electrically. (Regal Theaters has a short film introduction to its corporate brand in animation with a similar roller-coaster subway which is well done; remember also the subway in the Matrix movies.)
The film starts out with the backstory about the meteor, and then presents the characters as youths in Oakland CA, before Marvel presents its proud musical trademark. I’ve never seen a movie studio introduce itself with a delayed fuse this way.
The film was shot in Australia (for the desert scenes), Busan South Korea (as far away from North Korea as possible) for a subplot, and indoor scenes in Georgia.
Geographically, the closest county would be Rwanda. I recall the film “Hotel Rwanda” (2004) which was presented in high school English when I worked as a sub (even with video quizzes).
I don’t personally make a big deal of racial representation in the movies, all the more superheroes. It is true, however, that, for example, the teen superman in Smallville, as played by Tom Welling, must have seemed like a fantasy of white perfection to some viewers.
Oakland neighborhood (wiki).
Rwanda lake scene (wiki).
|Director, writer:||Ryan Coogler. Joe Robert Cole|
|Format:||2.35:1 Imax 3-D|
|When and how viewed:||2018/2/21 Regal Potomac Yards|
|Companies:||Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures|
(Posted: Thursday. February 22. 2018 at 11 AM EST)