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How Black Panther Avoids Common Marvel Movie Pitfalls


[Warning: This video discusses spoilers from Marvel’s Black Panther.]

YouTuber Just Write (Sage Hyden) recently posted a video about how Black Panther subverts or avoids what he views as common issues with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. In the video, he argues that director Ryan Coogler “addresses almost every single issue” he’s had with the MCU as a whole.

“It’s like [Coogler] said … ‘I’m gonna make a villain who is, you know, actually interesting and intimidating and multi-dimensional. We’re not gonna waste a millisecond setting up other movies, and we’re gonna have female characters that rock. I heard you guys were tired of heroes fighting generic grey armies of henchmen at the end. Well, then, I’ll make sure to clearly establish every faction involved in the final fight, and make them all colorful and easily recognizable so that you never get lost in the action.'”

Hyden also compares Black Panther to Thor: Ragnarok, arguing that Black Panther is “strangely almost the same story as Thor: Ragnarok.” However, the tones are completely different. Ragnarok, Hyden say, is “a movie where Thor loses his father, his three best friends, his home, hundreds of his fellow Asgardians, and I never really feel sad, because Thor only occasionally does. The rest of the time, he seems to be having fun.”

Now, as you probably remember from my review, I loved Thor: Ragnarok. And while I understand the general point about bathos, I do think Taika Waititi often uses it in a sadder, more affecting way—and I also don’t think you can or should treat Space Vikings as earnestly as you do the idea of an un-colonized Africa. One of those deals so much more directly with real-world traumas.

However, while I disagree with him about Ragnarok‘s use of bathos, Hyden does effectively outline all the ways that Black Panther takes superhero movie tropes to their next level: its nuanced and fully realized world, its amazing side characters, Killmonger’s characterization, T’Challa’s moral and political growth, and the film’s fundamental empathy.

What do you think about Hyden’s arguments in the video? Agree? Disagree? Think he missed one of your favorite elements?

(Featured image: YouTube thumbnail)

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