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T’Challa becomes the King of Wakanda, an African nation isolated from the rest of the world that is more technologically advanced than any other nation in the world. Now an outsider from the past will challenge T’Challa’s claim and will put Wakanda and the rest of the world in jeopardy.
*Be aware of spoilers*
A long time ago a meteorite falls on Earth made up of the alien metal called vibranium. Five African tribes wage war over the meteorite until a warrior gains superhuman powers by ingesting a herb that was affected by the alien metal of the meteorite, thus becoming the first Black Panther. With his abilities he unites four of the five tribes and form the nation of Wakanda. By using the vibranium they start to produce highly advanced technology that would protect them and isolate them from the other known world.
In late 20th century, Prince N’Jobu wanted to share their technology with people of African descent because he disagreed with King T’Chaka’s policy of staying isolated from the rest of the world. In 1992 King T’Chaka learns of this treachery and kills Prince N’Jobu leaving his son, Erik, to avoid risk of the world knowing the truth about Wakanda.
T’Challa returns home for the coronation ceremony and is challenged for the crown by M’Baku, the leader of the fifth tribe. The two fight and T’Challa emerges victorious becoming the new King. In London a group led by Klaue and ex black ops soldier, Erik Stevens aka “Killmonger” steal a vibranium axe. T’Challa with Okoye and Nakia intercept Klaue in Busan where they think he will try to sell the axe only to find the buyer is CIA agent Everett Ross. The deal goes sour and T’Challa captures Klaue that is later saved by the Killmonger. In the process Ross is injured and taken to Wakanda where their technology can save his life.
Killmonger kills Klaue and take his body to Wakanda where he reveals his true identity and challenges T’Challa for the throne. Killmonger wins the battle, drinks the vibranium affected herb and gains the powers of the Black Panther. He then puts into action his plan in delivering advanced weapons across the world. T’Challa is found by the Jabari and Nakia gives his a heart-shaped herb to gain his strength once more.
He returns to Wakanda and fights the Killmonger but the fight goes poorly for his side until the Jabari come to his aid. T’Challa and Killmonger fight in the heart of the vibranium mine where sonic disruptors incapacitate their vibranium armors. T’Challa then finds the moment to kill the Killmonger. He tries to save him but the Killmonger prefer to die rather than be imprisoned for life.
Winning the battle restores T’Challa officially to the throne and he decides to reject past King’s isolationism by opening an embassy in the United States. T’Challa appears in the United Nations and show the real identity of Wakanda while Shuri helps Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.
Marvel has been on a streak for the last 10 years and seems that they have found the right formula of success that religiously follow for most of their movies. Everything began in 2008 with the first Iron Man film that officially started the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and from that moment Marvel is counting only successes.
After the first 2-3 films it was pretty obvious the style most of these movies would follow. After all if something works, why to change it? Marvel has chronologically separated their movies into phases, now being in Phase three. In the first two we mostly saw their most famous superheroes but now that their story arcs seem to be complete, Marvel started focusing in lesser know super heroes. One of them being Black Panther.
Although Black Panther was a well known comic from Marvel it was never as popular as Spider Man,Iron Man or Captain America. So when they announced the film I was curious to see where they can go with it. Have they delivered? I would say yes, short of. The film kinda reminded me of Ant Man, another less known super hero film from Marvel that did pretty well at the box office. Although it is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and follows a central story arc it never interfered directly with any of the other top characters as it follows a story of it’s own. The same happens with Black Panther. Instead of putting in the mix some of the other more known Marvel characters they decided to create a story that would focus only on him.
In a way this feels a natural thing to do. Even though we have seen Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War this is his first solo film and he must be the center character to develop him properly. Adding another Marvel character would only drive attention away from our main character and that would not allow proper development.
As for the story I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Although what we get is the standard good guy fights the bad guy what makes it more interesting is who this bad guy is and why is he doing all this. I cannot go into more details without spoilers so I will just say that what we get here may not be some super human, alien or Hellish abomination but what makes him interesting is his connection to our main character and what are his motives. By doing that, the film certainly feels less spectacular in it’s grand scale and even the final battle feels less impressive compared to other Marvel battles we have seen.
But even if the film in total doesn’t feel like having the grand scale of other Marvel films the action scenes are very well made and they never feel too short or too long. The movie certainly takes it’s time in order to develop the character and show the world he lives in so we may be offered a bit of a slow start but personally I didn’t find it bothersome or boring as the world of Wakanda is so well made that you want to suck every bit of detail you see in each frame of the film.
Most of the actors were chosen to be black and this was a main point of discussion in many chats and forums before release. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the end result and although the acting was nothing to talk about, it was certainly adequate for such a film.
Special effects and CGI were in general good although there were a few moments that felt a bit fake as in the night car chase in Busan. The most impressive part of the CGI for me were the landscapes. The design of Wakanda, the green fields and forests around the city, the snowy mountains, the waterfall were T’Challa is crowned King every single one of these landscapes really is a mesmerizing experience and makes you feel like you are actually there.
Black Panther until now has gathered more than 1.3 billion dollars without counting for disks sales and other merchandise. I admit that the film is definitely above average, with a good story, adequate acting,good special effects and CGI and good action scenes. But for me that’s also the problem. Everything is good, but not great. There are a few parts of the movie that made me a very good impression like it’s sceneries but everything else is just good and this is the reason why the film will never reach the greatness of some of the other Marvel films.
In my opinion this is also Marvel’s fault. They have created such cinematic spectacles over the years that the bar kept rising and rising and would be impossible to keep the same level with every single one of their offerings. If this movie had released 10 years ago then I would be more than impressed but after so many MCU movies it feels like they didn’t raise the bar more this time. Black Panther in the end is a good Marvel offering and one definitely worth seeing, without being a great one.
After Spider Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther is the third Marvel Cinematic Universe film we get in 4K UHD format during release. As far as raw details is concerned I would have to say that the improvements over it’s Blu Ray counterpart are obvious but not as dramatic as some may have hoped. Texture details, sharpness and clarity all get a very welcome boost. The film was filmed in 3.4K and finished in 4K so the UHD format helps the film breath and unveil even the tinniest of details.
The biggest improvement we see in this UHD is it’s Dolby Vision color grading. In the night car chase in Busan the deeper blacks with the blue highlights creates a breathtaking atmosphere. The blue of the sky, the green in the forests, the blacks in the city, all colors are so vivid and natural that really the Blu Ray disk pales in comparison and it’s colors feel washed out. The 12 bit Dolby Vision color palette is what makes all the difference in the Black Panther UHD. In total we get a very good transfer even if it’s not destined for reference material.
Accordingly the Dolby Atmos soundtrack accompanying this UHD release is in general very good but it never elevates to greatness. It will definitely satisfy you with the immersive sound field it creates and during it’s main action scenes it sucks you right in the middle of the mayhem. But it feels like it could be a bit more dynamic and doesn’t offer the aural excellence other Dolby Atmos tracks offer. In total this UHD offers good improvements over it’s Blu Ray counterpart and if you are planning to buy one of them then the UHD is the one to go for as it offers the best both in image and audio quality even if it is not destined to be reference material.
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