Fair warning – there are going to be spoilers in this post. So if you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, and want to remain spoiler-free, don’t read on.
If you’d like to read my spoiler-free review, please click here.
(Spoiler-filled discussion after the jump)
I said in my review that they did a much better job with the villains than has been the norm for the MCU, and that’s still true. Killmonger was a very well-developed villain, with a motivation and a plan that was clear. Ulysses Klaue was also a fine villain, giving us a manic fun performance that I would have loved to see pop up in other MCU films.
SO WHY THE HELL DOES MARVEL KEEP KILLING THE VILLAINS!?!?
I mean, seriously. The only main villains I can think of off the top of my head who didn’t die were Loki, Trevor Slattery/The Mandarin, Adrian Toombs/The Vulture, and… um… Could that really be it? In 18 movies, only 3 villains make it out alive?
I don’t count Thanos, because he’s been more a behind-the-scenes presence up until now. Nor do I count Justin Hammer, since he was more there just to facilitate the real villain, Whiplash. Who dies.
Not only does Marvel struggle to have good villains, but they’re profligate with them, killing them off even when they’re good characters.
Following up on my statement in the review:
Having seen it, there wasn’t any “white people are evil” stuff (aside from a few exceptions about which I won’t go into details), and the ultimate message of the movie was actually quite uplifting.
What I was referring to there were the couple of times the white CIA agent was called a “colonizer”. That’s the most egregious example of politics in the film that I noticed, and it was completely undermined by the final message of the film, that “we should all be one tribe.”
Killmonger’s hatred of white people as “oppressors” and who seemingly exist only to steal stuff from black people is one of his defining motivations as a villain. So to the extent that message is in the film, it’s held up as the example of what not to do. I’ll be honest, given some of the over-the-top reviews from far left sources, that was a pleasant surprise.
I was very shocked that there was no mention of the Soul Stone in the film. It’s the only one of the Infinity Stones unaccounted-for, and given that Avengers Infinity War comes out in three months, I figured there would be some mention of it to lead into that film. But nope. Nada.
I still think they’ll tie it in with the vibranium meteor that is the source of Wakanda’s wealth and technology, somehow. Like they’ll discover the Soul Stone in the mine, and that will trigger Thanos’ assault on Wakanda. But I’m genuinely surprised they didn’t do it in an end-credits scene.
How about you? If you’ve seen the film, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.