“Black Panther” more of the same from Marvel Cinematic Universe


Alex Tsymbalisty, Perspective Editor

Ever since its announcement back in 2014 Black Panther has generated a lot of hype, and for good reason. Black Panther was the first mainstream, black superhero that portrayed Africa and Africans in a positive light. To call Black Panther “just another superhero” is an understatement to say the least.

Unfortunately, the Black Panther movie does exactly this. Instead of creating something with substance and flavor, Black Panther manages to be just another stale, unimaginative superhero movie.

The plot of Black Panther follows the same story of every other superhero movie released in the last 15 years with only a handful of exceptions. Boil it down to its core components and Black Panther is literally identical to its superhero contemporaries.

The reason for monotony isn’t a secret by any means. For starters, there’s the hero’s journey, a common structure used in storytelling that’s seen in probably every comic and superhero movie ever produced.

But there’s also the business side of it. The reason these movies keep getting made is because they’re profitable. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is easily the highest grossing movie franchise ever produced. The formula works; why would any sane movie executive stray from this template when it has worked so well this far?

But enough business; what does all this mean for Black Panther? Well, simply put, it’s so average it’s boring.

When you look at the movie there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it. The plot makes sense, the acting is pretty decent, and apart from Killmonger, the characters are pretty well  developed.

The aforementioned  problem with Killmonger mostly has to do with the fact that the movie doesn’t really go into what happened after Killmonger was excluded from Wakanda. This is especially evident when Killmonger kills one of his partners in crime when she is held hostage by Ulysses Klaue. It’s evident that her death was supposed to be important or shocking, and it probably would have been if Killmonger’s relationship to her was explained.

But there’s something missing. If movies were food then Black Panther would be butter on toast. Butter on toast isn’t bad or anything, but compared to more complex dishes it’s just boring.

At the end of the day, Black Panther will surely be one of the most successful Marvel films to date; most people who see it will like it, and it will produce relatively little controversy or debate; and at the end of the day, this is its biggest problem.