Unpopular Opinion: Marvel’s Black Panther is Flawed
Black Panther is getting near universal praise by critics. One phrase I keep hearing thrown around is “the best Marvel movie to date.” While it’s undeniable that this movie is not only entertaining and groundbreaking, I truly believe Black Panther is being overhyped to a whole new level.
It’s hard to be critical of a movie like Black Panther. For the first time in history we’re getting a big studio super hero movie that in in addition to having a black lead character has a majority black cast, and was written and directed by actual black people. I do not want to take away from this monumental step in history.
Before I get into what issues I found with Black Panther I want to focus on the many positive aspects of this movie. In addition to breaking boundaries when it comes to race, Black Panther is simply an entertaining movie with compelling characters, played by talented actors, and a compelling story that is relevant to our current social and political climate. Stand out performances are delivered by Michael B. Jordan (Creed, 2015), Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015), and the relatively unknown Winston Duke who plays rival M’Baku who’ll we’ll be seeing in Avengers: Infinity War.
So what’s wrong with Black Panther? I think the simple answer to this question is that it was far too ambitious. With a budget of $200,000,000 this movie certainly had the means, but the end result didn’t live up to expectations. Most noticeably to me is the subpar CGI. Typically I am able to suspend disbelief and simply enjoy an MCU movie. With poor tracking, unnatural looking physics, and awkward looking animation the movie felt like a cartoon at times. A cartoon I was watching on a computer with an old graphics processor.
In addition to the poor quality of CGI, Black Panther suffers from a clunky and sometimes confusing editing. Rumors circulated that the original cut of the movie was nearly four hours long and had the possibility of being rated R. Given that the final cut cut is 2 hours and 14 minutes and rated PG-13 it’s easy to surmise that much of what Ryan Coogler intended for us to see is laying on a cutting room floor. It’s hard not to wonder if the movie would have been better if all the time and money wasn’t wasted on nearly two hours of unused footage.
My last criticism is of the writing. There are simply a few elements I couldn’t get behind. Without spoiling the movie I’ll leave it to these two criticisms: I find it funny such a progressive film has such a pro capitalistic agenda, and the dialogue was often awkward and occasionally laughable when it was meant to be deep and powerful.
I hope with my criticism you don’t lose sight of the praise I gave this film. There is absolutely a place in this world for a movie like Black Panther, and I unequivocally recommend seeing it in theaters. I hope that it sparks a change in Hollywood and we see much more diversity in films. Just…don’t pretend this movie is flawless, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge its flaws.
When it comes down to it, a movie doesn’t need to be good to be worth watching. It simply needs to entertain you. I’m confident Black Panther will do this.