By Marc Woodfork
While it’s not a total disappointment, Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ fails to live up to the anticipated hype surrounding it. Critics and audiences alike have hailed it the best cinematic experience of all Marvel films. I certainly would not go that far. Marvel is well overdue with introducing a super-hero of color, so I applaud the courage and bravery to produce the film. But I think Marvel made a fatal error by introducing a character that no one knows.
When Black Panther was introduced during “Avenger’s Civil War”, no one walked out of the theater saying, “hey, that Black Panther guy was good” or “I’d like to see a Black Panther solo film”. That just didn’t happen. Black Panther is not a well-known super-hero amongst general audiences. Most people have no idea nor care about the character. DC and Warner Bros. did something similar when the introduced the villain Steppenwolf. We all know how that worked out.
“Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman in the title role alongside Michael B. Jordan as the antagonist. Chadwick does well enough with the poor script that he had to work with. The acting from Michael B. Jordan was just awful. No other way to put it. Every line of dialogue seemed forced and overdriven like a guitar amp on overdrive. A more understated psychological approach would’ve been much better. It would have shown more acting range and allowed the audience to see a clearly talented actor. But instead, we saw a revival of his role in “Creed”. Too over the top and aggressive.
I could have done without the poor African accents from the cast as well. Either go full authentic and hire African actors or don’t mandate the American actors learn to speak with an accent that clearly sounds fake and artificial. Other than the badly written script, what disappointed me more was the story. It was very mundane, often muddled, and at times, boring.
“Black Panther” doesn’t even have the same feel as a Marvel movie. Sure it has the SFX and the exaggerated fight sequences that you would expect and for most moviegoers, that will be enough. For me, it plays out like a network superhero series, Friday nights on your local CW channel.
It will be interesting to see if the film has any lasting power beyond opening weekend in middle America. I would not think so.