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Flash Movie Review: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

WE WERE A TIGHT GROUP OF four friends. Our friendship started decades ago, kindled by our mutual love for music and dance. Throughout the years, we shared in each other’s joys and tragedies. As the years passed by, we pretty much knew how each of us would react to a situation; whether it was at a party or a restaurant, we had each other’s back, as they say. I remember we had gone out to dinner and wound up at a bookstore afterwards. While walking around I got a call that a relative had died. My friends were there to console and comfort me before I had to go and pay my respects. The same could be said for any of us when one was experiencing a hard time. I cannot tell you how many times over the years we would congregate at someone’s house after hearing about their breakup with a significant other. With being so close through the years, there was nothing we could not talk about with each other. We knew about each one’s ailments, fears, concerns and when needed would housesit for one another. Throughout the years, like most people, there never was a time where one of us would entertain the thought of one of us not being there.      SADLY, THAT TIME EVENTUALLY COMES WHEN one is no longer with us. Suddenly, our foursome was turned into a trio. Gratefully, we had each other to help with the burden of sadness. Intellectually, I could process our friend’s death; death is an inevitable that each of us will experience. The only difference is whether it is at an early or old age, though early and old are more blurred these days. The hardest part for me is the routine that comes along with a long-term relationship. Being able to pick up the phone and talk to my friend was part of my life and incorporated into the things I would do on a consistent basis. It is the same with a broken relationship; I find the routines are the hardest part to overcome. And it could be the simplest of things like going grocery shopping together, that suddenly feels painful the first time after the breakup, when I must go by myself. One of the most important things I have learned is everybody mourns and handles grief in their own way; no one has the right to tell someone they are wrong for the way they handle their sadness. To see what I am talking about, this picture shows several different ways individuals mourn their loss.      WITH SOME OF THE WORLD’S NATIONS testing Wakanda’s strengths since the loss of their king/Black Panther, there was a bigger threat brewing near their shores. With Letitia Wright (Guava Island, The Silent Twins) as Shuri, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Us) as Nakia, Danai Gurira (The Visitor, The Walking Dead-TV) as Okoye, Tenoch Huerta (The Forever Purge, Dark Forces) as Namor and Angela Bassett (Gunpowder Milkshake, Contact) as Ramonda; this sequel did an admirable job of honoring the late Chadwick Bosman who was the Black Panther. The film is beautiful to watch, and I appreciated the way the script wove in the emotional loss and its effect on people. On the other hand, I felt the writers went on too long with the mourning because it cast a maudlin pallor over the story. For a Marvel film, there was not the usual amount of well-choreographed action. My favorite characters were the ones that Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Tenoch Huerta portrayed; Angela had some wonderful intense scenes that broke up the monotony of the sadness. This movie did not have the thrilling wonderment of the first one; however, it was a good solid sequel to move the franchise forward. There was only one extra scene in the middle of the credits.

3 stars 

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Flash Movie Review: Black Panther

SHE DID NOT LOOK LIKE an average woman, whatever average was supposed to look like. I only say that because I remember hearing the comments made about her appearance. We worked together years ago when aerobic meant doing hard impact body movements. The best way to describe her would be to say she was thick because she was not overweight per se. Her arms and legs were large for her body due to her intense weight training regimen. I would see her on the fitness floor from time to time and was always amazed with the amount of weight she used in her exercises. She was usually the only female among the male weightlifters and it amused me when I could tell some of the men were intimidated by her strength. In the locker room I would hear guys talk about her. They always had something negative to say about her appearance, never about her achievements. I am not going to repeat them here since they were rude and ignorant; let me just say I felt the men had to tear her down to make themselves feel better. They could not lift the same amount of weight as she so of course they had to say something to save face, the cowards.     MY HOPE FOR THE CURRENT times we live in is that men and women will get closer to be thought of as equals. Not to be crude or rude, but except for the different plumbing women and men can do similar skills and work; maybe with only some slight adjustments. The notion that one gender is weaker than the other is a dated falsehood that needs to be buried once and for all. I remember the teasing I took for having a female internist and the rude comments that were made about what must have taken place during my physical exams. Can you believe it? I did not care if the doctor was a man or women; I was more concerned if they graduated at the top or bottom of their class. No matter what doctor I go to, I always try to look for a copy of their diploma hanging somewhere up on a wall. This divide that has been around for centuries between the sexes is more about power than gender. Well I am here to tell you it was impressive to see the achievements women made in the African country in this action, adventure film.     UPON HIS FATHER’S DEATH T’CHALLA, played by Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up, 42), would have to participate in an ancient ritual to determine who would become the Black Panther and lead the nation. Someone else had already had been working for years on how to seize the throne. This science fiction movie also starred Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four) as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Star Wars franchise) as Nakia, Danai Gurira (The Visitor, All Eyez on Me) as Okoye and Letitia Wright (The Commuter, Top Boy-TV) as Shuri. First off I have to tell you this was not your typical superhero movie. There were no aliens or monsters hell bent on destroying Earth. I was fascinated by the story line and especially the use of women in the script. Black Panther was almost secondary for me compared to the scenes involving women. Michael B. Jordan and Danai commanded the screen with their roles. A majority of the fight scenes were filmed in an odd way; sort of a jerky slow/fast motion type of way. It was not a major distraction since these scenes were not all focal points in the story. The character development along with the juxtaposition of ancient rituals with modern technology kept me fully interested in this picture. Oh and also the great visuals and musical choices for the soundtrack. For those not into superhero movies this one may be worth your time. I enjoyed the different way it told a story and hope going forward that the novelty will wear off in having strong female characters participate in leading a story. There were 2 extra scenes in the middle and end of the credits.

 

3 ½ stars

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