“Black Panther” is a fascinating, accomplished, superhero movie made on the highest level. Characters fight and fly, embrace and argue, overthrow then return home all under the wise embrace of an African nation called Wakanda.
Wakanda is a nation of intelligence and restraint, ruled by a king and kept safe by a female military force that rivals any of the Amazons in “Wonder Woman.” My only wish is that Wakanda actually existed.
A two-hour-plus visual feast of a movie that is as much exposition as it is visceral. The film is a complicated story, taking a lot of explaining, but the visuals are so compelling the stretches of dialogue never get in the way. How could they, these are beautiful people who not only walk tall and carry a big stick, but they have learned the art of listening? They deserve our admiration.
It’s also a revolutionary film in every sense of the word, going back and forth from Wakanda to the streets of Oakland with a seamlessness that makes sense the more you engage the many levels offered by “Black Panther” director, Ryan Cooler (Fruitvale Station).
Then there’s the monumental cast, too many to name and all of them on screen throwing light and substance to a world desperately in need of such strength and dignity. A cinematic expression of the human condition that might look like Marvel comic book heroes on the surface, but end up being so much more.
I cannot speak for the African American community, I have never earned that right, but as a film critic, I smiled through most of “Black Panther” knowing these powerful, impressive images of humans beings are to be cherished and admired. Images that even in 2018 seem rare but deserve to be commonplace.
Images that defy gravity, defy hate, defy racism, defy stereotypes, defy bullying, defy every institution designed to keep people down.
Sometimes you find truth in the most unlikely place, and in this case, on a movie screen in a film called, “Black Panther.”
The Pairing: Protea Chenin Blanc from Western Cape, South Africa
This impressive cinematic celebration of the power, strength, and beauty of the African culture deserves an equally stellar wine. Though the number of black winemakers around the world is limited, several deliver stellar selections, including the luscious Pinot Noir wines of Vision Cellars artfully crafted by African American winemaker Mac McDonald in Sonoma, California, available via his website.
To toast this film with a wine available throughout Hawaii, try South Africa’s Protea Chenin Blanc, with its stunning bottle decoration depicting protea flowers, the official flower of the country. The wine highlights fresh honeysuckle, spicy ginger, citrus and tropical notes with a very dry, bright palate. It is a lovely representation of the signature white variety of South Africa. $15.
Gary Cogill is an Emmy award-winning film critic, speaker and film producer. His wife, Hayely Hamilton Cogill, is a Sommelier, wine writer, and educator. Together they host “Cogill Wine And Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolverPodcasts.com while living on Hawaii Island in Kamuela. Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryCogill. For more pairing suggestions follow Hayley on Instagram and Twitter @DallasUncorked.