Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
What makes Black Panther (2018) stand out is that it is the first MCU film that isn’t helmed by a white male character and it’s the first to be released outside of the typical summer/fall blockbuster timeframe. This movie is going to break every February box office record ever, and will almost certainly hit the magical $200 million opening weekend (a tremendous feat rarely accomplished). This will completely change how Hollywood views the blockbuster season and may permanently change how major films are released on studio schedules.
In case you have been living under a rock (which is unlikely if you are here reading this) there has been much talk and hot takes on the racial makeup of the film. As a middle class white dude from the midwest, I don’t have anything to really add to that conversation other than I think it is awesome to showcase so much black excellence in a film and representation is important. If you want to read takes on this with real insight and a point of view more valuable than mine I highly recommend reading these reviews from Briana Lawrence, Jamil Smith, and Dave Schilling.
For me personally Black Panther is the most emotional MCU film I’ve watched. There isn’t another MCU film that has me as invested in each character on screen from start to finish. There isn’t another MCU film that makes the land and environment as much as a character as Wakanda is. They make a fictional country very real, very prominent, and an essential feature of the film. The Thor films try to do this with Asgard (and succeed some in Ragnarok) but they don’t come close to what Black Panther achieves in making the location as critical to the film as the characters and stories.
The action in this film is the very high quality you’d expect for a MCU film. There is some truly awesome fight choreography using a increasingly cool variety of weapons that any fight nerd will squee for. There is a car chase in the first act that would be at home in any James Bond or Mission Impossible film, with it’s own flare and humor delightfully tied in. The grand action packed finale combines this slick action with real emotion and humanity that adds real meaning and stakes to every punch, kick, and spear strike.
In a movie packed with awesome things my very favorite is the cast and the awesome characters they bring to life. Chadwick Boseman returns as the stoic and honorable T’Calla, another example of a perfect casting of a key Marvel character. Lupita Nyong’o as super spy Nakia, Danai Gurira as General Okoye, and Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda are supremely awesome in every way. I’m hard pressed to pick my favorite performances and characters but if I had to pick my three favorite were Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, and Michael B. Jordan. Wright is a joy in every scene she’s in as Shuri, T’Calla’s sister. She’s a super scientist and inventor, and brings a very bright kind of joy to screen I don’t often see. Winston Duke is M’Baku, leader of the mountainous Jabari tribe. He’s not in many scenes, but the ones he’s in he steals with intensity and humor. Michael B. Jordan delivers a memorable and heartbreaking performance as Erik Killmonger, the tragic villain of the story. Killmonger is the rare MCU villain whose motivations are just, and righteous. Even if his methods are less than desirable, you totally understand where he is coming from. His final scenes in the film alongside Boseman are heartbreaking and tragic in the best way possible. Killmonger is the new gold standard for MCU villains.
Black Panther solidifies Ryan Coogler as one of the best living directors working in Hollywood. After three feature films he time and again proves he knows how to craft a story you are invested in from beginning to end. The cast is packed with tremendous talent throughout, there isn’t a weak performance to be found. The visuals are stunning, and the world building is top notch. This is a epic film that will be long remembered even after the age of superhero films has passed.
Movies new to me watched: 38/292
Other movies: 9/73
Total movies watched: 47/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.