I really like what Will is doing with Hunter’s body language on this page. I can feel his tension. Man, he continues to up his game.
#Squirrel finally got to watch Black Panther last night, so I got to see it for a second time, and it reinforced some of my issues with the movie…and some of my concerns for the MCU going forward.
SPOILERS ABOUND BELOW!!!
Black Panther leans very heavily on its supporting cast, in ways that almost none of the other MCU films have done, and that’s maybe my biggest issue with the film. T’Challa himself is only the fifth or sixth coolest character in his own film. Okoye, Shuri, and Nakia (I guess in that order, although Shuri is almost neck and neck with Okoye) are hands down my favorite characters in the film. Together, they form the film’s heroic spine. T’Challa is fine, but it feels like his sister, his general, and his would-be wife are the characters with the most agency in the movie. T’Challa just doesn’t seem to have a powerful desire the way he should. Wanting to be a “good king” is tough to pull off in a movie like this…and then you come up against Erik Killmonger, who has clearly articulated goals and incredible charisma (the hallmark of characters in the MCU is incredible charisma). I continually have to remind people of his frequent violence against women in the movie (killing his girl, grabbing the gardener by the throat, killing one of the Dora Milaje, trying to kill Shuri)…because people are always trying to sexualize him! (I also have a soft spot for Andy Serkis as Klaw. Has any actor ever seemed to have more fun?) W’kabi is compelling, M’Baku is bad-ass. This shouldn’t be an MCU film, it should be Game of Thrones.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that the MCU gets to coast on the incredible charisma of its cast. Sarah Halley Finn (the casting director for all of the MCU films except, you guessed it, The Incredible Hulk) is the unsung hero of Marvel Studios. Even when a film is relatively weak, the cast manages to do the heavy lifting of keeping you interested. But maybe she’s done her job TOO well. I don’t know if Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, and Chadwick Boseman can pull off what Robert Downey, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth have done…and I love all four of those guys. I don’t know if the new guys have what it takes. I liked Doctor Strange and Black Panther, but I didn’t LOVE them. (I love Spider-Man: Homecoming. It the MCU’s most underrated film.) And where is the tension going to come from? Are T’Challa and Strange going to provide the sparks we get from Stark and Cap?
Still, they’ve done this well for this long, and they’ve really only been getting better. So I’ll try to keep the faith.