Review: Black Panther (4/10 stars)

The world building in Black Panther was obviously important, a central part of the movie. Sadly it failed.

The basic idea is that a small African country gained access to a literal mountain of Vibranium, and a lot of plants and such that were altered by it. They used this to advanced their tech several centuries ahead of us. They have stuff like cloaking hover-ships and countless other things.

The problem with this is the writers tried to keep the African vibe while having them be a high tech society with progressing technology. There are certain attitudes and ways of doing things that all cultures that progress have, things they did not seem to have.

For example they implied that the direction of all R&D was controlled centrally. That just does not work, there is a reason the USSR was not ahead of the US in scientific research.

When they showed the market it looked like a normal African market with a few gadgets. The idea that that level of advancement would have so little effect on them beggars belief.

This extended to the final fight, which was for the fate of the country. Yet it had people using high tech spears. I kept waiting for the cos-players to leave and for the army to show up, but it never happened.

The country itself was a semi-hereditary absolute monarchy. Even if such a society would keep such a government (name one technologically progressive country with an absolute monarchy I dare you). The fact they would allow a trial by combat makes it even worse.

I thought at first it was ceremonial, but no it was shown to be real. It makes you wonder how the former king, who was both old and overweight, stayed in power. Given that any member of any of the five royal families could easily have taken power, how would ANYONE keep power after they stopped being able to win fights?

I am only harping on the world building because it was a central focus of the movie. The movie had to do that well to work, and I don’t think it did.

The plot itself had problems, and I think they mostly came down to the villain.

First he was talked up as being very knowledgeable, capable and intelligent. Yet when he was in charge he started spouting nonsense that no one who is both intelligent and knowledgeable would say.

He was talking about the world like it was the 1800’s saying that “colonizers” were ruling the world, and how the white man was keep everyone down. The only reason for this I can think is that he wanted an excuse to doom the world (giving superweapons to anyone with black skin who wanted them).

If he was serious he was even more hypocritical, given that his job was destablizing governments, he was railing about..himself and his actions.

I mean I get it if he was just bullshiting, but they should have said so. Even just one moment where he said he knows what he officially said was stupid and nonsensical, but he had to have a “reason”.

A good villain has good reason for what he does, and that was not the case in Black Panther. The final fight between him and the King was also something that has been done thousands of times before, people with the same powers fighting each other, but the bad guy has a slight edge.

The only reason it was not 2 or 3 stars is that the main character was interesting, I just wish he was given a better villain and world to be in.

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