Welcome back! I promised to review Black Panther and there's a lot of information to discuss. Is this film worth hype? I'll gladly tell you my thoughts about it.
Let's start with a plot synopsis. Most of the film takes place in an African country named Wakanda. Many years ago, a vibranium meteorite crashed on Wakanda. The plant life became infused with vibranium's healing properties. Vibranium also became a valuable technological source for the nation. The people of Wakanda chose to keep their resources a secret and are still viewed as a third world country in the modern era. In today's world, King T'Challa is the new monarch of Wakanda and he faces many political difficulties. Sins of the previous generation also come back to cause trouble.
I always start with the positive elements. There are so many great components in Black Panther. I appreciate most of the characters. Chadwick Bosman is fabulous as T'Challa, aka Black Panther. He's regal, honorable, and compassionate. T'Challa wants his people to thrive and he's also a terrific action hero. Personally, I don't think the world has enough positive role models for young people. That means we need some positive fictional role models and T'Challa definitely fits the description. Lupita Nyong'o is a great actress and she brings many wonderful elements to Nakia, T'Challa's love interest. She wants to make a difference in the world and has a mind of her own. Letitia Wright is very entertaining as Shuri, T'Challa's younger sister. Shuri brings a lot of comic relief to the story and she's a technological genius. You'll be impressed with her inventions. Danai Gurira plays Okoye, T'Challa's bodyguard and the leader of an elite fighting force. She's a very strong female character with a powerful sense of valor and loyalty. Okoye is also a fantastic action diva. In fact, I would say she's a better fighter than most female action heroines and superheroes. Those of us who saw The Avengers are familiar with Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis. Klaue is a terrorist and quite entertaining as a destructive villain. I also like Angela Bassett as T'Challa's mother, Ramonda. The Queen Mother isn't a particularly big character, but she brings a lot of heart to the movie.
Black Panther has really strong writing. The plot has a major political message, but it's relevant to modern issues and executed appropriately. Some political movies become redundant and distasteful, but Black Panther brings a very thought provoking message to the audience. It was a bold move by Disney and I'm glad they took the chance. The main antagonist, Erik Killmonger, drives the political elements home. He's a metaphor for any culture, ethnic group, religious faction, or socioeconomic class who can't let go of sins or crimes that were committed centuries ago. People can't move forward and evolve if they're constantly hung up on the past. As a country, Wakanda also has some political issues that need resolution. The plot does a very good job of unfolding everything in a way that comes together well and makes sense. Black Panther also includes some humor to break up some of the film's serious undertones. Overall, this film is very serious and a little humor helps the pacing.
Black Panther has fabulous entertainment value. It brings a lot of creative world building to the MCU. I love the costumes and production design. This movie was also stuffed with a ton of action. The technological elements bring unique entertainment value to the action scenes. Action is another great device that breaks up the film's serious nature. The characters have well developed and complex relationships. I find that part interesting and it keeps my attention throughout the movie. Even the musical score impresses me. I enjoy the music and it definitely seems appropriate for this type of film. Black Panther is not a boring movie. If you want something different and exciting, go see it!
I want to point out a few negative elements. Michael B. Jordan is getting a lot of critical acclaim as Kilmonger and I think he's overrated. His performance is fine and the character has good political elements, but he's still not the best villain. He seems generic and one dimensional in certain ways. Kilmonger became corrupt from past trauma and we've seen this type of situation in countless action movies. I'm also not a big fan of W'Kabi, played by Daniel Kaluuya. He's T'Challa's best friend and Okoye's love interest. Once again, the actor isn't the problem. I just don't find his character very interesting. He's supposed to be an important character and I feel like everyone else is more impressive.
Surprisingly, I feel disappointed with the parts of the cinematography and some of the visual effects. The film has great world building, but portions of the CGI seem unpolished. I saw much better visual effects in several movies last year, including Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner, Kong, Planet of the Apes, Thor, and others. It also seems like some of the action scenes came from a video game. Some of the characters are CGI in certain scenes and it’s so obvious. Parts of the cinematography are a bit jarring. I saw too many characters and objects flying around the screen. It was a little hard to keep track of some elements. I also think it's clear when they're using a green screen. This doesn't mean the overall cinematography and visual effects are terrible. Certain elements are quite impressive, but I noticed some inconsistencies.
Despite my few complaints, Black Panther is still an excellent movie. I believe it’s one of the best installments in the MCU. The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are still on top for me, but Black Panther is bringing new things to comic book films. I would love to see a sequel. You should definitely go see it. Take the whole family. I recommend seeing this film on the biggest screen possible. IMAX and other deluxe screens are worth the price. But I wouldn’t see it in 3D.
That’s the end of my review. Have you seen Black Panther yet? Tell us about your experience in the comment section. Don’t forget to become a subscriber to my website by filling out the contact section. I had a really good time at the Long Beach Comic Expo and I’m going to tell you guys all about it next week. Be prepared for lots of cool photos on my next post. Have a good week and enjoy your night at the movies.
Welcome to a very special blog post! It's time for the annual Steampunk Hands Around the World blogathan, courtesy of Airship Ambassador. This year has a road trip theme. Steampunk might seem obscure to many people who are unfamiliar with it, but it's an international subculture and genre. I'm from Southern California and we have a lot of steampunk events. For those of you who enjoy traveling, come over here some time! I met many people who a quite friendly, creative, and hospitable at these events. Meeting people is a great way to learn more about the steampunk subculture. I would also like to attend some conventions and festivals outside of California. You can take a look at my picks further down in the post.
California is a really big state and we have events all over the place. If you're planning to visit Southern California, I recommend the Iron Horse Family Steampunk Carnivale in Perris, Riverside Dickens Festival, Gaslight Gathering in San Diego, Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, Gaslight Expo in San Diego, Oxnard Steampunk Fest, and San Diego Maker Faire. Most of these events are in San Diego county and the Inland Empire. I'm less familiar with the conventions in Northern California, but the Clockwork Alchemy and Edwardian Ball are a notable events in San Francisco.
A lot of Comic Cons and similar events also have pretty good steampunk representation. Most of the events in my area are Comic Cons or general sci-fi festivals. I'm planning to attend several events this year, including the Long Beach Comic Expo, WonderCon in Anaheim, and the Long Beach Comic Con among others. They're really fun and I run into a lot of familiar faces at these conventions.
I'm planning to attend steampunk festivals outside of California too. It would be fun to visit the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention in Tucson, Arizona. My sister and I have relatives near the Tucson area. It would be a great opportunity to hang out with family and attend a great steampunk convention. I'm also really curious about the Steamposium in Seattle, Washington. The Steamposium always has an awesome group of steampunk guests and it's still on the West Coast. I haven't attended the Steampunk World's Fair either. It's the largest steampunk festival in the world and I'm sure it will be a lot of fun. Hopefully, I can check off one of these events in the near future.
I'm going to conclude this post with a special announcement. One of my fellow steampunk authors, Michelle Lowe, is releasing her second book in the Legacy series. It's a steampunk fantasy adventure and here's a short synopsis.
“Britain’s infamous thief, Pierce Landcross, has returned to face justice. Along the way, he learns that his long-lost parents are being held in Newgate Prison. To save them, Pierce must first escape himself and then come up with a strategy.
But nothing goes as plan, and Pierce finds himself in yet another adventure as well as a mystery he never anticipated.
A small fortune has been left to the Landcross family and to collect it is to follow a series of clues. Pierce sets out on his quest to retrieve this inheritance—but he won’t be going alone. Joining him is a beautiful and adventurous young woman named Taisia Kuzentsov. Danger, however, isn’t too far away. Tailing them is a bounty hunter with his eyes on the hidden money and the reward offered for Pierce.
With every clue Pierce and Taisia find, they uncover untold secrets about the family and soon learn there is more to the journey than initially believed.”
If you're planning to take any steampunk road trips, bring a couple books. Conventions are fun, but everybody gets tired at the end of the day. There is plenty of awesome steampunk literature and it might be relaxing to read while you're chilling by the pool or curling up for bed. Don't forget that my third book, The Post-Apocalyptic Society: A Nelson and Hyde Domination, is coming out later this year.
I want to thank Airship Ambassador for hosting Steampunk Hands Around the World. Take a look at his website to read more posts in this blogathon. What would be your ideal steampunk road trip? Tell me about it in the comment section. Thanks for visiting and come back next week for my film review of Black Panther. Enjoy the rest of your week.
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