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Good thing black power is so highly combustible! Amirite? Eh, EH?? (please don’t wiki the combustibility of black powder)

SPOILER FREE feelings on Black Panther incoming! (or at least veeeery light spoilers, nothing that wasn’t in trailers)

I’m writing this after just getting back from seeing Black Panther, and I’m still kind of shaking with energy, it’s SO DAMN GOOD. First thing I did when I got home was purchase the film’s musical score on iTunes, because it’s SO DAMN GOOD. I think the music may be contributing heavily to why I love this movie so much, as well as the super slick costume and set design work. But that’s not to say the narrative itself is bad, in fact it may be one of the most (if not THE MOST) rock solid stories to be featured in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date, with clear character arcs and motivations, and well realized and contemporary themes. The cast is extremely likable, with great chemistry all around (although, to be fair, this is true for pretty much all MCU films, always top notch casting). There’s also a refreshing  reduction of Joss Whedon-style snarkiness. There’s a good bit of humor, but there aren’t any jokes robbing the emotional and dramatic scenes of their impact. I can only HOPE to get a new Star Wars films that’s daring enough to try this.

But most MCU films tend to let their soundtracks bleed into the background. Black Panther lets its score dictate the operatic drama of the story, a very old school mentality that I alway welcome! The events that play out feel grandiose, and it’s very easy to feel the weight of what’s at stake. Where the vast number of Superhero movies involve a specific doomsday weapon or monster, Black Panther’s threat is more the potential for a destabilizing world leader with vast military power and a fanatical drive to use it, a scenario which is all too relatable. The main villain is also not unjustified in his goals, although his abrasive personality and willingness to sacrifice allies makes him hard to side with from an audience’s perspective.

The only criticisms I have are very minor. I’d have liked to see a few more humanizing moments for Kilmonger to pump up the tragedy of the conflict between him and King T’Challa (not that it isn’t plenty tragic as is).  There are also a lot of cartoony looking bits where CG’d characters get thrown twenty or thirty feet through the air and it only knocks the breath out of them. It’s a bit immersion breaking, but by now I just kind of accept it in movies. Also, the couple of fight scenes that take place at night ranged from hard to follow to very hard to follow, although that could have been the lighting in my theater. The scenes might be more visible once I’m watching it on my TV at home. This is some minor stuff. Overall, I was completely engrossed in Black Panther, and would highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, it’s an all around top notch crowd pleaser.

I’m not sure where it lands in my MCU movie ranking. I haven’t rewatched The Avengers in a long time, but I tend to tout that as my favorite, with Winter Soldier just below it. Black Panther may tie Winter Soldier for me, although, dang, I really love hellicarriers (and Cap)! Also Black Panther is a stronger stand alone story, with a fantastic conclusion and epilogue while Winter Soldier is more of an Empire Strikes Back style to be continued. Either way, I’m now very excited for Infinity War.

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  • Tim “Azur3flame” Eldred

    Soldier, this is war. Why are you asking for permission to shoot the nutjob running toward you with a gun? Better still, this is feudal Japan and he’s a foreigner in fight over territory. Xenophobia should be demanding you kill him!

  • LordBolanderFace

    *in an alternate universe*
    *Solider shoots Ricardo without asking permission*
    Portugal: “Ding dong, who ordered a war with extra explosions and civilian casualties, no peaceful surrender?”

    • Andy Nguyen

      Eh, I’m pretty sure the priest could return with some lie about how Ricardo overconfidently challenged some sea creature with too many teeth and got himself eaten, and everyone would believe him because Ricardo.

      • Xinef

        The best proof that “It’s Rrrricarrrrdo” is an argument that can’t be argued with is the fact… he just JUMPED OUT OF a TRENCH… to shoot a gun. LIKE WHAT?

        Why would ANYONE sane ever do that? It’s possible to shoot guns out of a trench, you know?

        So my conclusion is that Rrrric is either truly insane beyond belief… or just likes to look good while shooting.

        • Ocean Burning.

          The second reason.

        • clogboy

          Either that, or he is the only one with a firm grasp on how inaccurate his guns really are.

        • Kid Chaos

          It’s called the ‘Rule of Cool”, dude! 😎

  • leavescat

    It’s ok; in this universe, people actually loaded their guns with nitroglycerin.

  • animalia555

    Said in a lousy Brooklyn accent: “Oh my God, this is unbelievable! Ricardo actually did something useful!”

    • animalia555

      Let me know if you get the reference.

  • Turul

    Not gonna wiki the combustibility of black powder. After all, I was told it’s highly combustible by NN4B, the most trustworthy source of science and Japanese history available on the internet.

    Anyhow. Hope you’re happy now, Nataku.

    • Major Tom

      Well black powder is notoriously sensitive to shock and flame. That as well as relatively low gas pressure when firing was a big reason smokeless powder took off mightily near the turn of the 20th century.

      • Turul


      • clogboy

        What do you expect from something that was discovered by accident. Fit for purpose? Hah!

  • Kid Chaos
  • Paul McCubbrey

    Well, due to the Japanese designs, I figured it was only a matter of time until a combustionbender showed up.

  • Sunwu

    Im Blown away at how good this art is

  • endplanets

    And thus the principle “shoot first ask questions later” was established.

  • Crestlinger

    ‘A single grain of rice can tip the scale’?
    How about a single shot?

  • foducool

    wan shawt

  • Kid Chaos

    I hope Eijiro wasn’t standing too close to those barrels; I still want him to live…just long enough to regret his entire life. 😈

    • Ocean Burning.

      Aw, you want him to regret being a military child prodigy? That’s not very nice…

    • clogboy

      Comparing to the previous page, I’m going to say the dude who spotted Rrrrrrrrricardo is the center dude flying forward, Tom Cruise style. Then Eji should be sort of behind him, being incinerated by the center orange plume of the explosion.
      So, no… but then, it’s not the sort of comic that kills off people left and right, is it? (At least no people with a considerable speaking part, unless they’re Demons of Sorrow, or in Nataku’s path).

      • Nos Rin aka CTCO

        or that farmer who failed to keep not dieing, or something like that. RIP

        • clogboy

          Rot In Pieces? Yeah, something like that.

          • Nos Rin aka CTCO


  • Hfar

    Chances are if you have to ask “should we shoot the x,” the answer is “yes.”

  • KungFuKlobber

    That’s detente, comrade. You don’t have it. I don’t have it.

  • Alexis Casto

    And thus Fireworks were invented.

  • Purphoros

    Let’s just pretend he fired a small pouch of flintstones…

  • Merlin

    Hm, I would say that Killmonger’s motivations were less sound than they were presented as, and he clearly had a double-standard when he talked about not hoarding power but then he burns the garden with the super-strength-giving plant that he’s already had (I’d have cultivated that plant on a massive scale, rather than burning it). What I found most fascinating about him is how he could have been considered a hero in a different light, typically a historical one. Vlad the Impaler was not exactly an upstanding, peaceful man, but he’s a national hero to his people to this day, and he stopped cold a massive wave of invasions that toppled kingdoms all around him. The first emperor of China was not a good, decent man, and his people suffered for it, but he united many smaller kingdoms into a greater whole, a nation that has stood intact for a very long time since, and has never again been easily dismissed. Being in a world with Killmonger on Wakanda’s throne would have been hellish, but win or lose, he’d go down as a pivotal figure in history, perhaps the savage monarch of a powerful nation that toppled the world and rebuilt it. And with the many cosmic threats in the Marvel universe, a world united, even through conquest, might not be such a bad thing.

    Then again, the devastation and spreading-thin of Wakanda’s power right before the advent of Thanos couldn’t really be a good thing in the long run, ya know? Heh, I am so looking forward to the movie!

    • Kid Chaos

      I loved it, too, except for one thing; they totally wasted Andy Serkis! They brought him in as a Big Bad, then just killed him off so that Killmonger could take over. Oh, and Killmonger was not konvincing; terrible job, man, just terrible. 😵

    • freemage

      My one disappointment in the movie was that they could’ve easily had a period where T’Chala and Killmonger debate for an extended period of time, each putting forward his best argument for his position (isolationism vs. conquest), and maybe even with Nakia periodically siding with one or the other during the debate. They could easily have forced Killmonger to wait the three weeks it would take to assemble the tribal founders–“If you come in here and claim right of challenge, then you must honor ALL the traditions, not just the ones that are convenient for you.”

      So the last half of the movie would just be a running verbal debate, as Killmonger spends time actually experiencing the country he wants to rule. Conceptually, it would be similar to a play I read a review of, many years ago, featuring a hypothetical discussion/debate between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., when they get stuck together in a hotel room, mostly using their respective writings and speeches for the dialogue.

      Of course, that would’ve been harder to turn into a one-on-one physical battle, which apparently all superhero movies need to be settled by.

      • suburban_samurai

        100% agreed. I would’ve loved more philosophical debate between the two. The final fight on the train tracks is disappointingly bland. The movie’s strong points are not so much its action scenes but its characters’ motivations, interactions, and dramatic setups. Having T’Chala and Killmonger argue would’ve lent itself much better to the movie’s strengths than an all out duel to the death. I mean that could still happen when they hit an impass and Kilmonger abandons talking. Still, the movie’s far more topical and provoking than most of the MCU films.

      • Merlin

        Well, Killmonger *did* spend his entire life preparing to kill the Black Panther and conquer the world, so I don’t think they could actually “force” him to do much of anything. That’s kind of what superhero movies are about: physically stopping the villain because they won’t be stopped by anything else.

        • freemage

          I agree that KM might’ve been so focused on his goal that talking wouldn’t resolve all his issues. It might still have ended with a battle royale. But they absolutely could’ve forced him to wait the three weeks–he needed the fight to be regarded as legitimate by the council, and he also needed to fight T’Challa, NOT the Black Panther (if he’d just rushed headlong into the fight in the throne room, as an illegitimate challenge, Panther would’ve just ripped him to shreds right then and there).

  • clogboy

    I liked the movie as well, especially for its cultural influences without being overly stereotypical, and its great soundtrack (and the first round of credits: just amazing). But I also saw a bunch of negative reviews, and I can also see why some people hated the movie (mostly predictability, clichés and bad CGI) and all around I found that the main character made some poor decisions. But I liked it too, a lot!

  • clogboy

    What’s a game of Red vs Blue without at least one good explosion… :)

    Also, did the previous page miss translation brackets?

    • Ocean Burning.

      “Pew pew! Stab stab! Explosionss.

    • suburban_samurai

      huh, they must’ve learned Japanese. Or maybe I’ll just fix that…

      • clogboy

        What surprises me is that nobody noticed in over a week.

  • SKy

    At this point I’m certain all sound effects are actually audibly spoken by the Unreal Tournament announcer voice.

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I WAS going to go see Black Panther Tuesday, and pick up Thor Ragnarök at the store too. But it snowed. ALL DAY. And I got sucked into a game, ALL DAY. omg. x.x at least I got one thing done I should have done 2 weeks ago. >_>
    I’ll go see it next Tuesday for sure I guess.

  • Ladon

    Black power is highly combustible? I had no idea! As for Black Panther, I agree. It was a great movie. But as with all movies, I nitpicked it to death after I saw it. Weird thing was, I didn’t have many complaints. My biggest frustration was that it was damnably predictable. Spoilers ahead. When I first saw the trial by combat, I knew exactly what the big bad would do. In his Blac Panther suit, T’challa is invincible in a way that takes a lot of the suspense out of any fight scene involving him. So I knew the main villain would challenge him to traditional combat to circumnavigate that. When I saw the huge cliff with a river beneath it, I KNEW T’challa was going off that. It’s a huge action movie trope. So the dramatic first showdown between Killmonger and Panther was spoiled by the movie itself, essentially. And I knew Killmongerer would take the throne because A. Tropes and B. There were TWO new Black Panther suits. And then it was also obvious that they’d use the subway system to stop Killmongerer because that’s the only thing mentioned that can disrupt vibranium. So the predictability was frustrating. If those women with the spears who managed to restrain Killmongerer for a bit had actually been able to subdue him, I would have cheered out loud. It would have been a total defiance of trope and formula and made a lot of sense. But I understand why that couldn’t be. I DON’T understand why the Black Panther Armor can appearently be removed by ripping off a necklace. That’s a pretty glaring weakness. I’m pretty sure freaking Spider-Man could beat him by exploiting that. My last nitpick is that the vibranium was practically MAGICAL. It could make new cell phone tech! New transportation! Heal mortal wounds totally! Seriously? Can we say Fleblonium? But yeah, despite that I’m an asshole who only takes pleasure in destroying what others love, the characters were good and well done, the story was compelling, the score was wonderful, the effects were phenomenal and the villain was… well… four outta five ain’t bad.

    • suburban_samurai

      Oh yeah, wouldn’t it have been great if the spear wielding women had stopped Kilmonger, but because T’Challa is so honorable, he’d agreed to finish the duel with Kilmonger. And then, while waiting for the big fight, they could’ve argued their philosophies, and Kilmonger could’ve been better humanized. That would’ve probably put everything over the top for me, and cemented it as my favorite MCU film.

  • Da’Zlein

    The explosion may not have taken out that many soldiers, but it does seem to have knocked out their supply of gunpowder…

  • Eric

    Black powder is very combustible. Depending on who is doing the defining it’s considered a flammable substance rather than a true explosive, due to some difference in how the reaction propagates through the material compared to say, RDX, TNT, or other modern explosives. It’s technical, and I forget the details.

    What black powder is not, is highly impact sensitive. That’s ok though, because given the era and size of the bore on that thing, we’re just gonna say that there were some hot bits of carbon clinging to the seam of the musket ball that lit the powder. Soot from the powder or burning bits of fiber from the patch, doesn’t matter as long as it’s red hot.

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