Oscar Nominee: Black Panther

Max Eguizabal, Writer

Black Panther is an achievement to diversity in Hollywood. Finally, black people from around the world can have a big budget superhero movie that appeals to them. Not only is it diverse, but more importantly, it was successful. This movie, along with others like Crazy Rich Asians, sends the message to Hollywood executives people actually want movies starring more diverse casts. However, that is all Black Panther really is. A testament to diversity. While not terrible, compared to past and present best picture nominations, Black Panther falls flat on its face.

Nominating Black Panther is a huge departure for the academy. Not only is Black Panther an action film, which are usually dumped by the academy for dramas and character studies (only one action film got nominated for best picture last year: Dunkirk), but it is the first superhero movie ever nominated for best picture. This automatically pits Black Panther against every other superhero film in order to deserve its worth. Was Black Panther really better than The Dark Knight, Iron Man, or Logan? In my opinion the answer is a strong no. In fact, I believe that Black Panther wasn’t even the best superhero film this year: that title belonging to Avengers: Infinity War or Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse.

Black Panther certainly is not a bad movie. It just isn’t great either. Despite all the praise and hype surrounding the film, Black Panther is nothing more than a typical Marvel film. While I do admit that it does have its strong points (the villain, theme, and location being them) it is by far means a perfect film. The action scenes are quite a mixed bag; some are quite intense (the 1-on-1 tribal fight being a prime example of that), but some are quite boring (the car chase scene being an example of this). The special effects also feel quite dated and floaty, a mistake that should never happen with Disney’s enormous budgets and empire.

In short, Black Panther is not a bad film. In fact, it’s better than OK, and has a strong argument for being better than good. But it is not excellent. Black Panther simply does not deserve to be on this list. The Best Picture list is reserved to the handful of extraordinary films of the year. Black Panther is not of this caliber, and it’s not even close.