Panther 4K (2018/Marvel
Studios/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A- 1080p Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras:
B- Film: B-
1966, two of the giant thinkers of in comic books and especially of
Superhero characters wanted to be as challenging and ahead of their
time as possible. As a counterpoint to DC comics, Marvel Comics had
been around almost as long, even if it had been in various forms, and
they had been looking to be more comparatively realistic than not
only their big rival, but the many other publishers that existed at
the time that started to disappear in the 1970s. Along the many
characters they came up with that tried to reflect the more modern
was Black Panther.
name may have arisen around the time of the political group of the
same name and the comics dared to deal with social issues then and
now, but the result was a new character from a world we never heard
of before as is the case with the most enduring characters in the
genre and the work held up. Though not one of the biggest
characters, he was always a favorite who offered something new, fresh
the 1990s, action star Wesley Snipes became interested in doing the
then-rarity of a superhero film. He turned to marvel at the time
(all the DC heroes were owned by Warner Bros. and still are) and
thought something that was unthinkable at the time: a feature film
based on a marvel Comics character could work, actually be a good
film and even a hit. Outside of several hit cartoon TV shows and the
live-action Incredible Hulk, Marvel Comics on screen had been
a series of disasters so bad, it deserves some kind of documentary.
first chose Black Panther and worked for several years to get the
budget, studio and best director to pull it off. Instead of making a
horrible film, he refused to compromise, the film never got made, he
avoided being at least partly blamed for the potential latest Marvel
failure, then still surprised the industry by getting fellow Marvel
hero Blade to the big screen and Marvel Comics had their
first-ever feature film hit that was (no pun intended) cutting edge,
the critics liked, the fans liked and even influenced the whole
action genre (the original Matrix was the first of many films
to steal from it).
two decades later, when Marvel Comics big screen feature film
adaptations are almost always guaranteed to be hits, the now
Disney-owned company decided to give the semi-independent Marvel
Studios the backing to make an all-out big budget version of the
character (debuting him in a previous film) and thinking the
otherworldiness would play as well as Wonder Woman (who ironically
was just revived in a megahit that saved DC Comics movies) and the
underrated value of the character like Thor and Iron Man had once
been underestimated and a potential hit was very possible.
writer/director Ryan Coogler, who had come out of nowhere with the
well-received and timely indie hit Fruitvale Station, only to
stun the industry soon after with Creed, a belated spin-off of
the Rocky films that turned out better than all of its endless
sequels. He was a big fan of Black Panther. Marvel got it, had him
co-write the screenplay and the production was on its way.
Snipes older and already heavily identified with Blade, the
filmmakers needed a new actor to play the title character and they
already hit the nail on the head by casting Chadwick Boseman
(Marshall) who more than stood out debuting the hero in Captain
America: Civil War. Other actors playing characters connected to
him returned for this film, joined by other Marvel characters 'here
and there' and debut new star turns by Forrest Whittaker and Angela
Bassett. Thus, in the early section of the time, the script takes
its time to lay out the world in fine exposition and great detail.
it sets itself up, though becoming a little derivative at times, the
characters find themselves in South Korea and once the first big
action sequence kicks in, the film never quits and goes full force to
the very end with some fun twists, turns and serious hard work and
money that all ands up on the screen. Of course, there has to be a
villain and Panther's #1 nemesis surfaces.
turned to his Creed lead Michael B. Jordan to play the arch
villain Erik Killmonger. It is a thankless role. There is no room
for being nice or kind and Jordan goes all the way to play one of the
most formidable of villains, especially because he does not have to
hide behind an insane amount of latex (et al) like too many villains
in the genre's recent films (Marvel and DC are equally guilty of
this) and the result is a big blockbuster done well.
the down side, the derivative parts hold the film back a bit, as do a
few other points that would require spoilers and a separate essay to
address, but the film was a massive international blockbuster and the
intense energy of all involved overrides those flaws making this yet
another positive, giant surprise in a genre that is far from finished
doing what it can do. It also shows Coogler is one of the most
significant directors around, so outside of any sequels to this film,
I can't wait to see what he'll do next.
Panther is the first hugely budgeted film of this size from
Hollywood since The Wiz (1978) which sadly underperformed
despite the likes of Diana Ross, a pre-Thriller Michael
Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Lena Horne and Mabel King in a solid cast.
It could not have taken Hollywood so long to try this again, but
regressive 'mall movie' safe 1980s filmmaking did not help and it is
great to see this corner finally turned, so we'll see if the changes
are permanent and it is the best combination of 'money talks' and
critical success that gives us more than Panther sequels. In
the meantime, this is a great moment for commercial filmmaking we
should all enjoy because it is long overdue.
enjoyment even extends to how well this looks and sounds. Shot on
Ultra HD cameras with 3.4K capacity, the 4K 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X
1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High
Definition image is a great performer with consistently fine shots
throughout, interesting visuals, a fine use of wide-ranging color and
composition that increases the impact of the narrative. It even has
some demo moments that make it an early 4K Blu-ray disc to show off
your monitor and/or projector with. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High
Definition image is not bad, but you miss more than usual between the
two formats and the 4K version is the preferred way to watch it
outside of a top rate theatrical screening.
you get fine sound and sound design to match, with a Dolby Atmos 11.1
track on the 4K version on the 4K disc (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for
older systems) for a release that also showed up in the best
theatrical screenings in Auro 11.1, DTS: X and IMAX 11.1 worldwide.
The sound is very well recorded, articulate, state-of-the-art and
what we expect from the best big budget films and especially Marvel
Studios films. The regular 1080p Blu-ray offers a still-impressive
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix that is worthy of the
TrueHD mixdown, but the Atmos is the best way to hear it on this set.
(as explained by the press materials) include
the Blu-ray featuring a Director's Intro, From
Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion
that lets you Delve into the film's making, Crowning
of a New King
you explore the world of 'Black Panther' in all its color and
features Wakanda's women and the actors who portray them, The
Hidden Kingdom Revealed
on Wakanda's diverse people, Wakanda
Revealed: Exploring the Technology,
Gag Reel, Exclusive Sneak Peek at ''Ant-Man and The Wasp'', Marvel
Studios the First Ten Years: Connecting the Universe, Director's
Commentary, and Deleted Scenes:
Meet and Greet
And W'Kabi Discuss the Future of Wakanda
Remembers His Father
from the Past
you can access Digital Exclusives:
World Wakanda Tourism Ads...
to Wakanda 'Before'
to Wakanda 'After'