Black Panther is finally here! The stand-alone movie of the great King of Wakanda is the last step before the long-awaited Avengers: Infinity War.
Behind and in Front of the Camera
Ryan Coogler directs for the third time, after Creed e Fruitvale Station, Michael B. Jordan, who plays Killmonger hence joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the side of Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.
Who’s Got the Typewriter
The story is based on the characters of the Black Panther Marvel Comics, created by the most important couple in the comics-world: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The screenplay is written by the director himself and by Joe Robert Cole, on his debut on the big screen.
What to Know (ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILER)
The 18th feature film of the MCU starts shortly after the bomb attack at the conference in Vienna of Captain America: Civil War, with the coronation of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the most famous Black Panther.
The film moves on so many levels, building a kind of familiar drama with peaks of international intelligence in plain James Bond’s style. All of that while introducing the Wakanda and its traditions.
Indeed, one of the highlights of Black Panther is the use of the Wakandan legacy that is beautifully combined with the high-tech stuff of the comic books especially in the Central African nation: a rural land revolutionized by the presence of vibranium (a semi-unbreakable metal from the space able to absorb any form of energy and with which it’s possible to create cutting-edge technologies), where you can go from seeing some shepherds to some Blade Runner scenarios.
It’s also interesting the social messages of the movie, never excessive and inspiring through the end.
What You’ll Need
The basic plot follows very accurately the arch of the first appearance of Killmonger, published in 1973 on the sixth number of the second volume of Jungle Action, and reprinted on Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1 141 (2010), Essential Series Vol. 1 Black Panther 1 (2012) and Epic Collection Vol. 1 Black Panther 1 (2016), so you might find interesting to read it so to appreciate the adaptations.
What They Say
Black Panther is the first black superhero in mainstream comics, and the cast and the crew are for the most part African-American. The lead actor Chadwick Boseman, when asked him if a white director could have made this movie, answered: “Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his perspective? Probably not. It wouldn’t be nuanced in the same way because they wouldn’t have the same conflict. They don’t have the African-American conflict that exists: Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have an ancestry that is very hard to trace.”
And the director Coogler adds: “I tend to like movies where the filmmaker has a personal connection to the subject matter. I don’t know if you could find a group of films that deal with the Italian-American organized crime better than Godfather I, Godfather II, Mean Streets and Goodfellas. Show me a movie about Brooklyn better than Do the Right Thing”.
For the original score, Kendrick Lamar was hired, and on him, Coogler said: “I’ve been a massive Kendrick fan ever since I first heard him, since his mixtapes, and I’ve been trying to track him down. Eventually, I caught up with him a couple years ago, and we sat down and just spoke about much his music affected me. He talked about my movies that he had seen, and we said if the opportunity comes, we’d love to work with each other on something.
Last year, the opportunity came, so we met, and we talked.
And to Marvel’s credit, they really supported the idea of getting some songs from him. The movie, after all, is not set in 1910, or the 1960s when Black Panther first came out, it’s set in today.
At first, Kendrick was just going to do a few songs for the film, and then he came in and watched quite a bit of the movie, and the next thing I know, they were booking a studio and they were going at it.”
One Last Thing…
The score indeed is one of the best attributes of the movie, because of Lamar’s songs and the great job done by Ludwig Göransson, a faithful collaborator of Coogler, who has created some extraordinary themes, studying the African music with the great Senegalese artist Baaba Maal.
In line with the Wakanda setting that, as already mentioned, binds the African traditions with the most advanced technology, Göransson caught the style of the scores of the others Marvel movies melting it with traditional rhythms and vocalizations of African music, providing very interesting results.
The Black Panther’s score hands down from the early music, before it even went overseas becoming Blues, to the rap of the Afro-American community, creating a common thread through several generations.
Out of 5 Monkeys