Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Black Panther as an adaptation

Let's talk about movies a little.

As exciting as the Black Panther movie sounded, I had concerns about seeing it because I have never liked the books that much. That was a foolish worry; it's when you adore books that adaptations fill you with rage and disappointment!

Regardless, this worked well, and I wanted to spend some time on why it worked for me.

(There are some spoilers here, but even more there geeking out comparing the comics to the movie that may not make sense to people who have not read the books.)

First of all, for successfully incorporating comic book fantasy into a movie, I loved the way the absorbed energy was displayed in the suit. Being able to store the power of absorbed attacks is a cool idea anyway, but then as the purple potential energy spread it built excitement for the upcoming release of kinetic energy. It's a minor thing I suppose, but I thought it worked well.

Little touches can mean a lot. One of my favorite laughs was when Ross asks Klaue if he has a Soundcloud; he thinks he is being sarcastic, but he isn't. In a few years that joke may not be funny, but then it was. Also, it made Klaue goofier, which meant that they didn't need Achebe to get that element in. Honestly, I think it would be hard to make Achebe work onscreen. With Klaue as one type of danger, and Killmonger as another, the antagonistic elements were well-balanced.

Speaking of changing up your villains, the biggest change was Nakia. Instead of being the love-obsessed but kind of doomed to it villain, here Nakia is basically Storm, but with highly trained warrior powers rather than mutant powers. Recent mergers could allow X-men crossovers, but I like this Nakia.

To fix her they had to fix the Dora Milaje, and they did. It was in Queen Divine Justice's arc that the books really showed what a twisted position it is to be a Dora Milaje, not even being allowed to speak to other people, intended for the prince, but never really going to be with the prince. It's a horrible situation, and only really works as a male fantasy.

Here they are highly dedicated warriors, but they have their own lives too. They may choose their jobs over their husbands under the right circumstances (like if your husband chooses Killmonger over T'Challa), but it still seems like a much better life.

(I love Okoye!)

The movie Nakia has been through that training, but left to do more good and serve a broader purpose. I like that she inspires T'Challa but also leaves him with a weak spot.

That leads to the best part of all: I loved Shuri.

One of the things that never worked for me in the books is that T'Challa is too perfect, but without it paying off. He eventually solves problems but they keep coming up, but it isn't from personal weaknesses because they stripped all of those away. It makes everything else in the fictional world worse.

It's amazing how much a teasing little sister can lighten up a dourly idealized hero. I know she does appear in some books, but I have not read any of those. I hope she lightens up the books as much as she does the movie, but at least she does lighten up the movie.

I think I want to appreciate the movie from a different direction tomorrow, but first of all I am going to mention the part that I completely missed the significance of until later, because I admit my weaknesses.

I stayed for the after credits scene. I heard White Wolf and thought "cool". I understood that it gave a context to Shuri's line about T'Challa bringing her another broken white boy.

I did not recognize that he was Sebastian Stan. I just got curious later about who played him and looked it up. Oh. I guess he's unfrozen now.

At least it made sense when I saw Infinity War.

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