Spoiler Warning: Spoilers follow for Black Panther. Don't read unless you want to know all the jokes before you see the movie. I don't know why you'd do that, but you do you.
This week saw the beginning of Marvel's 2018 domination with the release of Black Panther, which is proper because this movie is already DOMINATING. It's the second highest Thursday opening for the MCU, surpassed only by Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is pretty crazy. The movie is critically beloved and judging by the early reactions, fans really like it, too. Not only is the movie overflowing with character thanks to the excellent production design, but it's a major blockbuster movie that's actually about something and feels impactful. And, of course, it's super funny.
Yes, it isn't enough for Black Panther to be incredibly handsome and charming, but it has to be funny too. Being a Marvel movie means it has to have jokes and the jokes in Black Panther are really good. It may not be Thor: Ragnarok levels of hilarity, but Black Panther has several laugh-out-loud moments that had my theater rolling, and I've collected some of the funniest right here. Obviously, humor is subjective, so share your favorite moments in the comments below!
I Never Freeze
You may remember this line from the trailer for Black Panther, in which T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) further cements what a badass he is before jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Okoye warns him not to freeze, only for him to scoff at the very thought. He's Black Panther! Well, turns out he does freeze after Nakia is held up at gunpoint and Okoye needs to bail him out. He must freeze a lot because Shuri (Letitia Wright) specifically asks him about it later. "Like an antelope in headlights," teases Okoye (Danai Gurira). No respect for the king.
Another Broken White Boy
At the end of Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers leaves Bucky Barnes at Wakanda so that the nation's super advanced science can find a way to remove his Winter Soldier programming. Many fans were wondering if Bucky would be showing up in some way, but he gets a very funny shoutout from Shuri. After Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) is brought to Wakanda to heal his spine injury, Shuri excitedly exclaims, "Another broken white boy to fix!" It's a nice reference that fans should catch pretty easily. Shuri's carving a little niche for herself.
Black Panther utilizes the most advanced technology on the planet, all of which is developed by his sister, Shuri. Shuri manages to show off some impressive gadgets in her lab, but she might not be entirely great at naming them. After Shuri presents T'Challa with some slick Black Panther footwear, which will allow him to walk completely silently, Shuri knowingly says that she calls them "SNEAKers." Her winking look while waiting for T'Challa's reaction is priceless. Plus, those customizable sneakers are a sly Back to the Future reference.
WHAT ARE THOSE?!
I almost had trouble hearing this one because my theater was laughing so loudly. While Shuri is preparing to show off some new tech to her brother, she suddenly shouts in mid-sentence, "What are those?!" She's referring to T'Challa's sandals, which he decided to wear for his coronation because they are old school. T'Challa has a pretty dope wardrobe in general, so you can hardly fault Shuri for gawking.
Don't Strike It That Hard!
Shuri is also responsible for making the Black Panther suits, and she outdid herself with the latest batch. They absorb kinetic energy, store it, and then redirect it back out. It's a really cool (and cool looking) effect, and Shuri decides the best way to teach T'Challa this function is by example. She has him strike the suit, but he hits it way too hard. ("You didn't specify how hard.") She angrily goes to pick it up and tells him to strike the same spot again, taking out her phone. T'Challa questions why she's recording this, but plays along and is sent flying by the suit, his sister filming the whole embarrassing moment. "Delete that footage!" he shouts. Finally, a healthy sibling relationship in the MCU.
Honestly, Everything Else That Shuri Says
I probably could have saved myself some work and done this for all of Shuri's jokes, but she just has so many great jokes that they need to be singled out. The majority of the best lines in the movie come from Shuri, so here are a few of her honorable mentions: Flipping off T'Challa; Trying to hurry along T'Challa's ceremony so she could get out of her corset; and thinking she was going to Disneyland instead of Oakland. Here's to seeing more of Shuri in Avengers: Infinity War, where she hopefully has a scene with Tony Stark.
Maybe the single biggest surprise in the movie is the charismatic portrayal of M'Baku (Winston Duke). At first, introduced as just a typical C-level bad guy, M'Baku appears later in the film to demonstrate some layers. Not only is he honorable and charming, but he's pretty damn funny to boot. During one of his most memorable scenes, he threatens to feed Everett Ross to his children. Seeing as how the Jabari tribe are mountain people who worship a gorilla god and they've done nothing but be jerks, we're inclined to believe him before he makes a quick about-face and delivers a perfect, "Just kidding. We're vegetarians."
For some reason, I really do believe that Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), a weapons dealer and unremorseful murderer, at some point recorded a mixtape and posted it on Sound Cloud. During the South Korean casino scene, Klaue is in the process of selling some vibranium to Everett Ross, who makes a comment about Klaue arriving with his backup singers. Klaue offers to share their mixtape, and while he's probably joking, he's just insane enough that you can't quite tell. Now we're left to wonder forever if was lit or not. Maybe if Kendrick Lamar had something to do with it.
M'Baku Hates Ross
Everett Ross has it pretty tough in Black Panther. His sting goes sideways, he's shot in the spine, and he's almost killed by a plane while saving the world, so it doesn't help matters that M'Baku really seems to hate him. Later in the film, Shuri, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and Ross seek M'Baku's help in defeating Killmonger, but he's really not into it. Ross tries to speak up and ease the matter, but M'Baku immediately begins barking. The rest of his tribe joins him and it only gets louder every time Ross tries to speak. Eventually, Ross takes the hint and shuts up.
Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.
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