Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and it stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther. (Wikipedia)
There is much to admire about Black Panther, Marvel’s latest addition to its cinematic universe but in the final analysis, the story is plagued with the usual blockbuster plot holes.
From its amazing cast to its intricate costume design to its special effects to its cultural significance, Black Panther gets most everything spot on and there is a deep sense of achievement in everyone involved in the movie.
It is easy in the light of this overwhelming success to turn a blind eye to the weak plot and serious logic flaws in its narrative. It does not help that these problems are nowadays par for the course for MCU movies.
Let’s begin with Killmonger’s (Michael B. Jordan) plan to take the throne of Wakanda. Like Zemo’s non-sensical machinations in Captain America : Civil War, it falls to pieces upon closer scrutiny.
If all Killmonger wanted to do was present W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) with Klaue’s corpse to win his loyalty, why go through the whole deal with stealing the Wakandan artefact? All so unnecessary.
Speaking of W’Kabi. He is presented as the best friend of T’Challa (Black Panther’s true identity) but he betrays T’Challa too easily. He knows Killmonger for a few hours and suddenly W’Kabi sides with him, without reason? What kind of best friend is that?
AND if Killmonger defeats T’Challa fair and square in ritual combat, does that not make Killmonger the rightful king by the rules of Wakanda? How is T’Challa justified in claiming that he did not yield and therefore he is still king?
Didn’t Killmonger effectively kill him by throwing him off the cliff and didn’t T’Challa cheat death by being revived by the “heart-shaped herb” – to which he was no longer entitled? All quite silly.
Not only that, the final act succumbs to the fatal flaw of too many Marvel solo movies, as the protagonist has to defeat a villain who possesses the same abilities as he does. Like in Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Ho Hum.
In this context, it can be argued that the sophisticated and multi-layered plots of The Dark Knight, Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, were vastly superior to most standard MCU fare.
But of course, THAT is not the reality that Disney have fashioned for themselves with critical and popular opinion. And that’s another story entirely.
Certainly, Black Panther is one of the better MCU movies out there, and deserves praise for all the factors we mentioned before. But let us not delude ourselves to believe that the story was anything but sub-par and merely functionary.
Onwards, to Infinity War.
Watch Black Panther on Disney+.
… still there’s more …