Black Panther, Or How Hype Killed The Cat

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Will Campbell, Writer/Editor

While overconfidence might be a slow and insidious killer, it is becoming apparent to me that hype is far more insidious. It’s a disease that frequently affects many things. From video games, to film, to TV, to books, hype has a wide influence that is rarely lost upon many, an influence that it has recently exerted on a not-so-little film known as Black Panther.

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Black Panther is Marvel’s 18th feature film, directed by Ryan Coogler of Creed fame, and one that had much promise, from what the critics said. “When it comes to creative visuals, engaging action, and likable characters,” says Matthew Rozsa from, “Black Panther stands confidently next to the best fare offered up by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Another critic, Christopher Orr, says that Black Panther is “by far the most thought-provoking [of the Marvel films.]” Of course, the film also showed promise with its expensive budget of $200 million, which meant it would be high quality in the effects department, as per usual.

The film follows T’Challa, the newly crowned King of Wakanda, and his battle against a recent foe who has only just returned, named Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, who has a grudge against him after something that happened in his past. Unsure of his abilities as the new King, T’Challa must prove himself a good ruler to the people.

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I went into the theater expecting greatness and ended up with a good film but not one that lived up to the praise it had been given. While the film is visually impressive, it lacks real meat on its bones, with the only real worthwhile thing about the story being the characters, who were excellently acted throughout the entire movie, but besides that, the story felt lackluster at times, and do not even get me started on the horrible humor, including such excellent jokes as a “what are those” joke, a fad that barely lasted past 2015.

The camerawork during action sequences is good for about one action sequence before the cameraman suddenly gains hand tremors every time someone gets hit, to the point that it became obnoxious quickly.

Despite the hate I give to the film, it’s still great. In fact, I do think it was quite refreshing for a Marvel film. Many of the films and shows produced by Marvel Studios are so visually and audibly similar that there is little to set each new film apart from its predecessor. The re-invention of the Marvel formula started, in my opinion, with the first Guardians Of The Galaxy film, which was unique in its comedy and presentation, but the first film that really gave a breath of fresh air to me was Spider-Man: Homecoming. This refreshing trend has persisted even through to Black Panther.

However, I think one of the best aspects of the film is the person you’re meant to hate. The villain of the film is excellent and very well-written with believable motives, and he’s quickly become my second favorite villain, alongside a certain bird-themed antagonist from Spider-Man. He is also extremely well-acted by Michael B. Jordan. The music is also excellent, with the soundtrack being led by Kendrick Lamar.

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While Black Panther introduces Wakanda to the MCU and provides great characters and an engaging world to immerse yourself in for two hours and 15 minutes, its frequent slip-ups in the camerawork and story departments pull you right back out of that immersion and deprive you of what would otherwise be the best MCU film so far.

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