Conversation about "Black Panther" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club
Richard Brody shared a link.
So, Black Panther: it's a pleasure to watch and to think about. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Creed, in which Ryan Coogler turns the Rocky franchise into a powerful, personal, and critical experience. Black Panther is the rare superhero film in which the worldbuilding is very satisfying—coherent and dramatic in itself, like a bit of history rather than a jerry-rigged contraption. And the action itself has an intellectual and political resonance that's rare for any kind of movie. Like many action movies of any sort, there's plenty of exposition, and some of the early parts seem like pretexts for high-speed tumult (though it's realized cleverly); but when the drama kicks into high gear, it's shudderingly intense—and that very intensity packs an idea of its own.
Many films in the Marvel franchise reflect American turmoil of the day, but the world of Wakanda is unusually complex and resonant.
Peggy Washburn Just saw it today and loved it! Great story that's relevant to issues today with unflinching historical references. Beautiful costumes and scenery, excellent acting and exhilarating action make this an awesome must see. IF you like action hero adventures.
Oh yeah, and there's about 13 minutes of end credits worth sticking around for as there's an extra scene about halfway through and another final scene at the very end.
Erik B. Anderson I feel like there's a lot of spoilers in the first few paragraphs. Had to stop reading.
J Egizii Novak Seeing it tomorrow, so excited. Thanks for the No-Spoiler review.
Joey Barrows I loved it so much!! Michael B Jordan stole the show but the whole cast was spot on. What a great film. I'd be okay with them handing a later Avengers movie over to this team.
Christine Gangai Looks really good, can't wait to watch. As a rule, I generally avoid hype movies and also hate Marvel movies as they are usually vapid with high cringe levels, but I am excited for this one.
Kagiso Lekgetho Well written review sir
NiRty Wa The fantasy of high brow entertainment and the falsely perceived worth of a person's cultural baggage determined by what they deem themselves above of consuming is both hilarious and sad, childish at best. But in moments when everyone fills their mouth...See
Patrick McEvoy-Halston My review of "Black Panther": https://letterboxd.com/patrickmh/film/black-panther-2018/Manage
Patrick McEvoy-Halston If Vibranium had in fact landed in South America, not Africa, and South Americans played it by Kawandian principles, Kawanda would have joined the rest of the Africans in being raped by Europeans for centuries. It's a big deal their deciding to remain apart, and I'm not sure if something substantial was distinguished in their getting hip to their responsibilities to the world, when it's the hippest thing in the world to be doing right now. Kawanda joins Facebook, Apple, IKEA... which is for the good, of course, but it bears the mark of the forever charlatan, in always knowing when and how to adjust for mainstream acceptance.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston If fans don't complain of the film like they do with J.J. Abrams these days, how about we pause a moment before assessing the film as the utmost of progressive sensibilities? The pretence that without exploiters we would all live in a perfect state, harmonized with nature, can be very evolved -- standing by the self you should always have been allowed to be -- but also dangerous, because it links with philosophies which emphasize projecting out your own impurities, your own compromised states, onto the world. Does it weigh exactly right in this movie or not? What is served in having Martin Feldman's character being so mostly inadequate in this movie? Do anyone of us even pretend that we're identifying with him, so ostensibly to be the learning the lesson of not being front and centre for a change? Don't we see him mostly as a Jar Jar, some physically out of place, "misshapen" fool who might be fun for the girls to play with -- as happens in this film -- but has no real justification for being in the film to the point that he is, and even allowed ostensibly to play the part of a hero? A gigantic stink has to be made to wrestle in a little room for a son to have some disagreement with his father... and the source of this empowerment, is not about to be canonized in Kawandinain lore. What does this say for our interest in seeing subsequent transgressive imaginings of Kawanda take place? Next time Kawanda has to modernize itself so it fits better with current preferences, does another Killmonger have to appear and demonstrate himself as clearly some kind of worst alternative while subsequently reflecting back on us how great we still mostly are, to prompt the idea for change we need? Isn't this how most conservatives conceive themselves... not always right in the past; not diffident to all change; but mostly right in the past, and always the best guardians of how change must take place?
Peggy Washburn It sounds like you didn’t stay through to the end of the credits and missed that important first extra scene halfway in? Which i can’t even further discuss because...SPOILERS.
Also, i absolutely did not think Martin Freeman’s character was a Jar Jar Binks. His presence was necessary to show that the Kawandans are all embracing in sharing their gifts with all of humanity, regardless of skin color, in sharp contrast to the antagonist Killmonger. The words of the BP King said it best...”as if we were one single tribe.”
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Peggy Washburn I think I did miss the extra scene, which I suppose is fair for you to point out as a lapse, because extra scenes aren't really all that "extra," anymore.
(SPOILER) They're all embracing in their gifts with all of humanity... so long as humanity is obsequious, agrees to shut up and be shown up, and has the physiognomy about inverse your own king's magnificence? There do appear to be conditions... Martin Freeman's character is granted nothing close to the self-command and authority -- the presence -- he had in Civil War (the character in "Civil War" would have held his ground when M'Baku threatens to feed him to his children, done something along the line of Elisa Esposito's [Shape of Water] resilient death stares back at him; he wouldnt' have just adopted the stance of the terrified, and thereby flatter the prowess of the he-man predator.) It's a totally different take on the character, and I think it's worth looking into, why. Anthony Lane characterizes the Black Panther as tense, Killmonger as loose... and along this way of characterizing, I find Freeman kind of a shoulder-shugged, do-anything-you-want-to-me, what-me-worry. The damned guy isn't allowed any ability to carry difference.
Peggy Washburn Patrick McEvoy-Halston, that first of two extra scenes in the end credits would significantly change some of what you wrote in the second to the last paragraph re Vibranium in your initial letterbox review.
It seems to me that the Kawandans are the most advanced & most intelligent people on the planet & thus they will know when & how to present themselves & their gifts in ways that will be welcomed & accepted by all humanity, except for the “bad guys” of course.
Never saw Civil War but i surely never saw Everett Ross adopt a terrified stance unless i was blinking my eyes at that moment. He is a hero here...a grateful patient/gracious guest, because he had saved an important life, is then saved by her & in return, helps save Kawanda.
But i’m basing all my feelings about this movie as standing alone with no prequels or characters from previous movies. Therefore we’ll have different takes, which is what makes sharing thoughts so fun & interesting.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Peggy Washburn I like your challenge to think of him as a grateful patient/guest. It is a good one. I wonder if others found him heroic?
They are the most advanced and intelligent, but they don't actually know when and how to present themselves... as is made clear by the necessity of Killmonger's intrusive influence. The problem that I think I am exploring is not how the film could possibly allow for Kawanda but still allow that Western colonization went by unopposed, but that it actually feels right that they didn't. Kawanda steps in when the crowd is already rushing in the globalist direction, and so is no more exceptional in this instance than Zuckerberg is when he re-dedicates his empire more against Russian trolls and towards the collective good. If they'd stepped in five centuries ago, they couldn't have joined the collective esprit -- the warm, evolved, civilized, Bill Gates' "bath" of it -- no authority would have received them well, there'd be no mutual recognition, they'd be doing what's right but alone and misinterpreted the entire time doing so. They joined in at the least abrasive time possible, so that cultural recognition is as facile and enjoyable as a diplomatic meeting between friends. Kawanda is making amends now because the rest of the world is ready to host them in a suitably pleasing style. It makes for a nicer trip abroad.
Peggy Washburn It’s in that extra scene during the end credits where it’s made clear that the Kawandans do show they (now) know when & how to present themselves.
And as for them waiting and finally stepping up & out into the world, you make a valid point about the whole timing and nicer trip abroad but it took some traumatic (almost losing Kawanda under the cruel rule of Killmonger and the whole circumstances of how he was left behind) events to make them realize now is the time. The first part of the movie explained why they chose to hide & remain unseen, so it really was all about their timing & evolution.
J Egizii Novak I saw it today. It was fucking amazing on every level. And truly you sound like a whiny privileged white man who can't handle the fact white men weren't the focus of the movie. That they, like black people have been since forever..plot devices. You could never understand what black people have experienced as movie goers forever.. seeing people who look like them being always relegated to the stereotypical plot device. Get over yourself.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston J Egizii Novak I doubt there was a single white man watching the film who was mostly identifying with the Freeman character. I bet most were going between the four alpha males, deciding which one was most like them/the one they wanted to be. The average privileged white man, that is, is more likely to sound like you -- an enthusiastic fan of the film, and discreditors of other men as whiny, with a need to get over themselves -- than me.
J Egizii Novak Oh fucking please... Patrick McEvoy-Halston you are not entitled to get a character you identify with in every movie. It's called being human and identifying with humanity. If you can't manage that much, you are a failed human being. If you can't identify with an emotion, you're a failed human. If you can't at least acknowledge the fact white people have dominated American culture and up until this movie black people were never portrayed in this amazing light.... You've failed as a human being.