Monday, March 12, 2018

What I Watched in February


In one way Black Panther continues the incredible winning streak of Marvel Studios but it is much more than that. It is, of course, a landmark superhero film because it breaks the previously stark color barrier that kept producers from making huge budget superhero films with a black lead character. You could argue that BLADE (1998) already made this leap but the level of money dedicated to that film versus BLACK PANTHER is astronomical. Also, Blade is much more of an anti-hero if, for no other reason, he is a half-vampire and not above murder. You could also point to Marvel's excellent LUKE CAGE NetFlix series as an impressive translation of black hero to the screen but in the world of entertainment Big Screen beats TV every time. 

As for the film - It's very good. I loved seeing Wakanda brought to the Marvel Universe so well and the emphasis on the tribal politics was well handled. The division between those that want to bring the nation's gifts to the rest of the world and those who wish to adhere to an isolationist policy is well drawn and the arguments on both sides are shown to have merit. This film really just tells the story of how T'Challa comes to break with his ancestors' choice to stay quiet and move out into the larger world to help. It's a great tale and having it mirror our current world's conflicts brings events a certain sharpness that I appreciated. 

My only complaints are the same ones I had with the second Captain America film. At times the plot mechanics are a little too obvious (Waterfall? I wonder who's going over that in the second act?) and the final act danger into which Martin Freeman's CIA agent is placed is far too artificial (Where did that window attacking plane come from?) and unnecessary. Also, the CGI fights got a little too cartoony, which is a standard problem with these action heavy films these days. But those gripes are minor in the face of such a well done film. 

THE LIST 

ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949) - 8 (Ray Milland as a devil!)
OCTAMAN (1971) - 3
GORATH (1962) - 5 (ridiculous Japanese SF - second half is tense)
ROLLERBALL (1975) - 9 (rewatch)
BUCK PRIVATES (1941) - 6 (comedy/musical/military recruitment film with Abbot & Costello)
ERIK THE CONQUEROR (1961) - 8 (rewatch)
LAST OF THE VIKINGS (1961) - 7 (rewatch)
THE WOLF HUNTERS (1949) - 4 (weak, slow Mountie tale)
THE BABYSITTER (2017) - 6 (fun comic book style horror comedy)
A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017) - 7 (rewatch)
ALIEN COVENANT (2017) - 8 (rewatch)
CODE 7, VICTIM 5 (1964) - 5 (Euro-Spy stuff that apes DR. NO pretty well)
SECUESTRO (1976) - 6 (Naschy crime film)
THE MAN WHO HAD POWER OVER WOMEN (1970) - 6
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE FROG (1959) - 7 (rewatch on Blu)
BLACK PANTHER (2018) - 8 

3 comments:

Nick Rentz said...

I got Erik the Conqueror earlier this month and enjoyed it immensely. I have yet to watch Last of the Vikings because most prints are garbage. Out of Cameron Mitchell’s Viking movies where would you place Knives of the Avenger?

Rod Barnett said...

I think KNIVES OF THE AVENGER is almost as good as ERIK. And Yeah- we need a good release of LAST OF THE VIKINGS. What I have is from my old Sinister Cinema VHS!

Nick Rentz said...

I was going to watch Last of the Vikings, but was kinda turned off by the picture quality. I’ve always liked Knives of the Avenger; I remember getting the Bava box set vol 1 years ago and realizing many people didn’t care for it.