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Black Panther Movie Review (2018) | Wakanda Forever!

Marvel ups their level! Black Panther is what Marvel had been scared to do hitherto. That is lower the humour throttle and become really serious with the filmmaking. Bringing Ryan Coogler into the vanguard who had directed the brilliant film Creed in 2015, I think they made a pretty good call.

Black Panther is everything we wanted from a superhero movie, maybe a little bit more action but the exceptional story compensates for it. It has an appreciable plot that gradually unfurls into bigger intricacies.

What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world.

The African Touch

Wakanda the fictitious city of Marvel is built on a culture that’s centered somewhere in Africa. Ryan made sure that the Wakandans were heavily influenced by the mannerism and style thus successfully painting a next to real picture about a place that doesn’t exist. It’s like moulding a comic impeccably into a reality.


Wakanda puts something contrasting about the image the world holds about a place like Africa. It is like a poor child’s dream who wishes to roll the dice and change his fate. It is the ultimate contrast where the less fortunate are extremely blessed. All they are trying to do is hide what they have from a ravenous world.

I have seen gods fly. I have seen men build weapons that I couldn’t even imagine. I have seen aliens drop from the sky. But I have never seen anything like this.

Whilst Wakandans have a hard time grasping the concept of sharing, it is understandable why someone would keep something so powerful as Vibranium for themselves. The Black Panther movie still, however, tries to change that by showing this transformation of ideologies by delving into “why the good in the world should be apportioned”.

For a threat that is imminent in the form of Thanos, it only provides an icing of perfection to what is about to go down. It was an ingenious build up and you cannot write it off as mere luck.

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger (Minor Spoilers)

Black Panther movie becomes more thoughtful and cognitive as it proceeds. There is something insanely sympathetic about its antagonist Erik Killmonger portrayed by Michael B. Jordan that would leave you feeling sorry for him when the movie actually fades.

Wronged by T’Challa’s father sat a poor child in Erik who only had his father’s stories for conversations. Bereaved of a childhood with no one to care for, becoming a villain was inevitable. You don’t know that but you see that gradually happen when he shows up at the door of Wakanda asking for his birthright.

 I’ve waited my whole life for this. The world’s going to start over. Imma burn it all!

Was he capable? Yes! He defeats the king in a fair fight, announcing his arrival as the new king of Wakanda. The only problem being his motives were ulterior. He wished the world to get a taste of what Wakanda was trying to hide. If you rule that out, you realize Killmonger was too good a villain. The one who had capabilities to drive his claws into superheroes and bring them down.

The most crushing moment is the tete-a-tete with his father N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) where he transforms into a kid trying to reason with his life. There is so much hatred in him for the Wakandans that it is futile for N’Jobu to make him understand that the path he had set out on only houses destruction. That child had carved a purpose for himself that avenged not only his father but a deprived life. Michael B. Jordan, by the way, is outstanding as Erik Killmonger.

Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage.


Whilst there are reasons enough to go gaga over the villains, nothing compares to what T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) was dealing with. He held immense veneration for a father who did something terrible to Erik as a child. He is fighting his father’s image, literally boiling his insides up trying to make sense of why T’Chaka (John Kani) left the poor child behind. That has clearly crushed him mentally making him more susceptible to enemy attacks.

You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.

T’Challa’s revival has been beautifully timed when the world is about to go down in cinders. As he is about to metamorphose into the Black Panther, he once again encounters his father’s soul. This time with tons of questions in his head.

A man who has not prepared his children for his own death has failed as a father.

T’Challa resuscitates with a clear conscience focusing on what he has to do wiping off his slate of anxiety.

Black Panther fight still T'challa vs Eric Killmonger

I did not yield! And as you can see, I am not dead! The challenge continues!

The end result this time boils down to simple awareness and he becomes successful in stopping Killmonger from spreading his perversion. He does the right thing eventually opening gates of Wakanda’s knowledge for the rest of the world.

The illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.

Other Characters

M’Baku (Winston Duke) comes strong as a helper from a mountain tribe Jabari, even though the entire tribe is not on good terms with T’Challa’s people.

If you say one more word, I’ll feed you to my children! I am kidding. We are vegetarians.

Andy SerkisKlaue is another one of those brilliantly executed villains. He lands in a rabid colloquy in place filling up the screen time with extraordinary delivery. You know whenever his bit comes, there’s something interesting about to go down. His fate, even though magnificently fills in the plot, appears like a cheap shot.

I made it rain!

Bottom-line – Serkis deserved more screen time, the villain was yet to showcase his skills for crying out loud. With Black Panther his fate was sealed with Marvel, and that I think was a huge bummer.

Another one of those roles that matter the most is that of Shuri (Letitia Wright), sister of T’Challa. Her scientific creations are next to none. The brother-sister relation between them puts a smile on your face. You instantly know she is very important, proven thus by that Winter Soldier (Bucky) cameo in the end.

Another broken white boy to fix.

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Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), T’Challa’s ex, brings home that emotional angle to the story providing him the mental support he lacks.

You cannot let your father’s actions define your life. You get to decide what kind of king you want to be.

Her wisdom supersedes people which is her true strength. Lupita fills Nakia up with realism.

Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) is that eye who brings home that third-party perspective to an ongoing resplendence. It is like a marveling eye that reflects ‘us’, the spectators, in those frames.

Okoye cannot be forgotten either. She makes her presence felt by being one of the finest warriors of Wakanda. Her loyalty to her king and her allegiance to what is right, comes under the cross-hair when she finally decides to take a call.

You are so full of hatred, you will never be a true king!

The Final Verdict

Black Panther’s true strength lies in its ability of story-telling. Ryan Coogler wasn’t afraid to experiment even though it stretched the story a tad too much, like by showing the ancestral meeting (the process right after consuming the heart-shaped flower) thrice in the flick. It was crucial to the plot and he made sure that he took his time with it. It is beautifully done and literally fills the movie with emotional substance.

Its action is a tad less when you pick up all the prequels and line it up against Black Panther. It is a little bit slow paced as Ryan Coogler prefers it. But I don’t think it has affected the movie at all by the way it has been wrapped.

There are barriers it breaks, lives it affects with its storytelling as it packs in hope building that staircase to the upcoming spectacle Avengers: Infinity Wars.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story Review (2016) | Darth Vader Lives Again!

Rogue One A Star Wars Story resuscitates on screen’s biggest and most badass villain. Darth Vader gets to live once again as Gareth Edwards presents us with a stunning story that’s squeezed precisely betwixt Episode III and IV of the Star Wars saga. His take introduces us with the legacy of an unsung squad that helps in giving the original franchise an intriguing angle.

Star Wars Reverie

Remember how as kids we used to dream of possibilities, of ways to tackle an on-screen pickle? Movies were real for us. All elements we saw were real too. So growing up watching Star Wars was no different. We would be constantly swaying under its wraps, capering around its mesmerizing reality, thinking what if we get to walk those streets filled with aliens?

What if an AT-AT walker showed up all of a sudden from nowhere? What would we do then? How would a Jedi-less world appear to be? What would it mean to normal people? If a doomy scene homed in our heads we would try to think of possibilities to escape it.

Well, the good news is Gareth Edwards was just one of those children. And a child knows a fellow child better. He directs the movie with exactly that set of mind creating a stellar prequel out of thin air.  All those imaginative fantasies of how we would have played the streets if we were there, literally comes alive.

Plot of Rogue One A Star Wars Story (Spoilers Ahead)

To comprise the plot of Rogue One it is the story we had all often wondered about. How did it reach there, the point where Darth Vader invades Princess Leia‘s ship killing everyone before capturing her. It is a very thoughtful winding tale that completes all the dots beautifully.

image of Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso in Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie

We are introduced to new characters here starting with Galen Erso portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, the mind behind the creation of the formidable planet destroyer Death Star. He is hiding on a planet named Lah’mu with his family after discovering the true motive behind the creation of the deadly weapon.

The prologue wraps with an Imperial leader Orson Krennic portrayed superbly by Ben Mendelsohn invading Galen Erso’s abode killing his wife in the process, taking Galen away with him for finishing the creation of Death Star. Galen’s daughter Jyn Erso however escapes the onslaught and is later discovered by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) the rebel leader.

The Main Mission

When the main course is served we find Bodhi Rook an imperial defector, played by Riz Ahmed, trying to contact Saw in order to deliver a message from Galen. Meanwhile a captured Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is released from her captivity by Rebel Alliance only to slap her on a mission to rescue her father. However, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who is supposed to accompany her, has been secretly briefed by the Alliance to kill her father instead.

The path of their mission crosses with the discovery of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus who end up accompanying them to overthrow Imperial plans. We also have a worked up Imperial droid K-2SO, who accompanies Cassian at all times. Watch out for his Choke Slam in the beginning!

The fate of the Death Star lies in all of their hands. It is up to them to deliver it to Rebels so as to stop the dark side of the force from taking over.

Recreating Characters with CGI

It goes without saying we already knew how the movie was going to end. Since, we were galloping towards meeting Episode IV: A New Hope, Gareth chose to kill the whole squad directing us towards the colossal sacrifice the team made in order to retrieve schematics to destroy Death Star.

In order to make sure the thrill factor hopped aplenty, Gareth Edwards chose to bring back three pivotal characters from the original. Governor Tarkin was brought to life by CGI. Even though you could feel that it was a tad unnatural, it was still a commendable job to linger him for that long. It was more of a cameo but long enough to successfully re-create his perversion.

Then the most epic scene of the movie ensued with Darth Vader hogging the screen with his demonic shenanigans. Vader was easy since all we needed was a helmet and a heavy gasping voice to bring him back.

still of darth vader in rogue one movie

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director!

The final showdown which could have been easily the epilogue, finds Vader storming in from the dark to a platoon of waiting Rebellions. When you see him rampage past rebellions choking and killing them one by one, you realize how monstrous, intimidating and huge Darth Vader really was. Hands down one of the finest and memorable scenes from the movie!

It was soon followed by an enchanting glimpse of Princess Leia as she receives schematics in her hands by a fellow rebel. She was created with painstaking detailing too, and it almost sends you back in time as you watch her smile.

You can pre-order Rogue One A Star Wars Story from here:

Screenplay and Music

What was equally beautiful was the fact that the screenplay of Rogue One A Star Wars Story doesn’t get compromised either. There were plenty of good one liners enough to send you into a pensive mode. Like the time Cassian responds to this by Jyn

I am not used to people sticking around when things go bad.

by saying “Welcome Home!”.

Or when Jyn Erso puts the idea of a revolt in heads of Rebellions with a:

We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.

It makes you wonder if it were not for her, may be they wouldn’t have really ever stood up.

Rogue one has that whiff of original Star Wars music. It constantly caters your repressed memory bringing elements of nostalgia. Be it be Darth Vader’s stylish entry or a constant turmoil in the heads of the Rebellion. It has Michael Giacchino‘s apt music to complement it with.

Rogue One has references galore from Stars Wars franchise to make you instantly euphoric. Easter Eggs are strewn all across to make you feel all gooey. You get to see R2-D2 and C-3PO too at one point. They are subtly put.

The Final Verdict

The beauty of Rogue One movie lies in how everything unfurls into a plausible course of action. It has the gravitas of storytelling and it promises to keep you riveted. Rogue One A Star Wars Story banks on surprises galore. They are inscribed in its frames as it takes you off guard with plenty of Stormtroopers and Walkers. Thrill of a laser gun fight, (only this time Stormtroopers can hit the target), of plotting a covert mission, executing it as planned, watching Rebellion spaceships come to the rescue, reliving A New Hope moments all over again give you immense pleasure.

I say you watch this movie right now if you are a Star Wars fanatic. You are going to love it.

May the Force be with us.

You can check out the trailer of Rogue One A Star Wars Story here:

Arrival Movie Review (2016) | Denis Villeneuve Helms a Masterpiece

Wonderstruck! Dumbfounded! Arrival movie confounds you as it crushes dams of conventions. It is the arrival of a change, a different outlook at the word ‘alien’. So many movies we have seen hitherto, all showing aliens in an ugly limelight, branding them destroyers, marauders or invaders. It used to paint the same old picture with its destructive cliches.

Arrival movie changes everything. Your perception about strangers in our land. It stresses on the fact they could be here for a reason other than war. The movie unfolds gorgeously from a stupefying elusive pickle into a mind-boggling explosive revelation. That’s the entire driving force on which Arrival runs.

Direction of Arrival Movie

Denis Villeneuve stays highly revered in my head owing to all the uncanny topics he picks. He isn’t afraid to experiment, takes bold awe-inspiring risks and literally fuels avant-garde cinema. His direction abounds with intelligence that nips at our traditions of perceiving movies. He challenges us to think, knocking us out of our comfort zone. It’s ballsy, different and simply remarkable. Something we don’t see everyday in cinema today. Primarily because such films vexes many, and then all the movies end up becoming nothing but moderate crowd-pleasers. But this man right here, never ceases to take risks.

still of Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in Arrival movie

In particular I love how Denis Villeneuve imparts tranquil focus to his frames. Everything happens for a reason. It merges and overlaps with wistful thinking and asks of you to do the same. In those momentary transitions you are forced to hear your thoughts, you think of the possibilities and given his reputation try to envision the figurative side of the story.

Plot of the Arrival Movie (Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Created on a story by Ted Chiang titled ‘Story of Your Life‘ the movie runs beautifully making up stunning placid frames for its plot. To understand the movie truly you must get this first: There is no definite order! It is a ragbag of tenses. And Denis, the genius he is, intermingles them often supersedes them brilliantly amongst each other. The main theme goes like this:

Louise Banks is an insanely gifted linguist who is sought after by a US Army Colonel to communicate with alien spaceships that have landed on Earth. She meets physicist Ian Donnelly who has also been hired to accompany her for the job.

still of alien letters and symbols from Arrival movie

I loved how Denis decided to show repercussions of alien arrival. Betwixt his poised frames we get to see our world flame up in chaos, even though all alien ships did was stand still on our ground. The contextual insinuations that human mind read are beyond our grasp. It goes on to show how humans are akin bubbles waiting to explode with a mere instigation without comprehending the what, the why and the how of a situation.

What then follows is constant prodding in order to understand the language of the aliens to figure out their true purpose of visit. The final revelation is so huge (and yes it has time theory entailed) that I have decided to pen a separate article to expound it better. You can find the article here:

Arrival Movie Explained

But really, you need to watch it to experience that climactic relentless pile driver yourself.

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Music and Screenplay

The music of Arrival has been given by none other than 2 times Oscar nominee Johann Johannsson himself.  It is beautifully done, you have to live it to truly experience it. It being an art movie, limited words get spoken. But those that are there try to expand how huge the subject of language is. Also, there are pretty cool one-liners that don’t fail to titillate your ears every now and then. Like when Ian Donnelly confesses:

You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.

What also constantly elevates the movie is an artful performance by Amy Adams. Being the lead protagonist, the driving force, the film basically revolves all around her. If it weren’t for her, things would have been really different. A nod to the movie casting there! Great Job.

The Final Verdict

Arrival is not for everybody. I learnt this the hard way as I was compelled to hear two of my friends, who accompanied me to watch the movie, snore profusely throughout the movie. It was ‘their’ loss of course. Because it was only by the time we reach the end that we get to learn the colossal secret. It wraps up beautifully around the concept that eludes us throughout. It almost brings back memories from Christopher Nolan‘s magnum opus Interstellar movie.

Read Interstellar movie review.

You know what else really makes me happy? It is the director’s next colossal project. It is none other than Denis Vileneuve himself who helms the Blade Runner sequel with Jared Leto and Harrison Ford in the vanguard. Can’t wait for that one as well.

You can check out the trailer of Arrival movie here: