I have a dream that someday moviegoers will at last notice the awful acting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Spider-Man: Homecoming delivered some strong performances alright, Marvel otherwise fails time and time again in humane believability, including their latest effort in Black Panther. It still occasionally assumes the same mentality as Marvel’s three projects of 2017: Most of the confused stars attempt seriousness scene until somebody suddenly explodes in a snarky one liner the next to ruin the emotive flow.
The key player, Chadwick Boseman, proved his onscreen believability in 42, except here, the identity in his sleepy eyes mimic everyone else’s. The second-hand man, Michael B. Jordan, got his earned universal acclaim in Creed, but here puts on a forgettable mannerism any idiot could play to the same results. Then T’Challa’s love interest, 12 Years a Slave’s Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, expresses no memorable active girl power besides her first scene wrongly swinging a gun like a club. These indistinct portrayals appear very distanced by the way they talk at each other rather than to each other, as if they just glanced last-minute at the script before the camera rolled.
Unlike Malcolm X’s famous statement, “a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything,” several female characters should’ve fallen out of the final draft, because they stood for nothing other than the hero’s plot importance. The screenwriters chose even greater wrong turns in the dialogue because they were too fearful to take risks, resulting in bland morals pulled out of Intro to Screenwriting 101. Such morals included: “No man is perfect,” “You get to decide who you will be,” and, “Fight for what you love.” Uninspired, much? Heck, even the Stan Lee cameo turned out dull!
Onto Wakanda, a friend of mine said he saw Wakanda’s political decisions as the negative ideas between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X mixed together. Honestly, it is a neat observation, but the little sense the world makes turns any political agenda it attempts ineffective. In its essence, Vibranium, the strongest substance in the universe, fell from the cosmos millions of years ago to form the whole African civilization, which now somehow features high-tech buildings coexisting alongside traditional African walkways. Did nobody think of including the apparently endless Vibranium supply in the clothes they wear?
Wakanda’s visual style also essentially insults Africa’s old traditions by making it look hip under overused bad CGI, especially since modern slang made its way into this culture trapped in the past: “wazzup” and “antelope in headlights” to name a couple. A creative visual choice includes expositional Wakandian text, except after the first twenty minutes it goes away forever—leaving the established African culture to get outshined by a rock music fueled car chase tainted hot pink by South Korea.
Although, plenty of strong emotional elements in the picture’s scope still pay off, including some Oakland Black kids who shoot hoops into a milk crate to contrast the massive crystal clear futuristic city seen shortly after. Surely Black Panther might help Black audiences feel inspired from the tribal drums pounding to the heartbeat of a tense battle on top a steep waterfall, spears gradually closing in on the combat. Topping off the roller coaster ride in the climactic fight, the immersive sound of a train built by the Wakandites glides across your scalp to force your attention on what’s important. At a more melancholic level, Ryan Coogler’s direction evokes sorrow in his symbolic use of violet, found primarily in the heart-shaped herbs grinded into spiritual liquid. I would love it if Coogler soon took on greater projects under a more social responsible studio.
Now look back at Black Panther’s blatant political agenda. The focus is not only on empowerment towards African Americans, but makes those who historically enslaved them look bad, this makes its way into the film, purely for the sake of brief laughs, when White people call Blacks “savages,” only to be in turn called “colonizers.” Once the racist backlash seems to be over, a first end-credits scene literally screams Black Lives Matter with no sign of being subliminal about it, setting off a second last end-credits scene that throws in one last unnecessary joke degrading a White guy. People suffer in many ways, so rich nations and poor nations must choose to take responsibility in global financial sustainability, a healthy mindset Marvel slaps right in the rump.
Seriously, we live in a time when a Black man can sit in the president’s seat, yet still sense the need to stress about diverse representation?!
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Black Panther. Marvel, Web. <http://marvel.com/movies/movie/224/black_panther>.
Yohannes, Alamin. “'Black Panther' Family Tree Shows a History We'll Never See in the Movies.” Digital image. Inverse Humans. Inverse, 12 Feb 2018. Web. <https://www.inverse.com/article/41217-black-panther-family-tree-mcu-marvel-comic-book-history-t-challa>.