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Black Panther VS Avengers: Infinity War

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Wakanda Forever or Avengers Assemble? Join WatchMojo.com as we compare 2018’s biggest Marvel blockbusters, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. We’re evaluating a wide-range of categories to determine which of these MCU movies stands out the most in the ever-growing superhero genre. Watch the video at WatchMojo.com
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Black Panther vs. Avengers: Infinity War


Wakanda Forever or Avengers Assemble? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be comparing 2018’s biggest Marvel blockbusters, “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” We’re evaluating a wide-range of categories to determine which of these MCU movies stands out the most in the ever-growing superhero genre.

Round 1: Story


With echoes of “Hamlet,” “Black Panther” is a classic story about family, revenge, and responsibility. Even if you didn’t see “Captain America: Civil War,” this standalone film does a great job at establishing T’Challa for newcomers without coming off as repetitive. Anyone can quickly pick up on T’Challa’s personality, motivations, and inner demons. The same goes for the film’s scene-stealing supporting characters. While “Black Panther” isn’t without a couple references to the larger MCU, it never forgets that T’Challa is the focus of the story. This makes the narrative accessible to the whole audience, keeping us invested in T’Challa’s journey every step of the way.

On paper, the story in “Avengers: Infinity War” is rather straightforward: a villain is collecting several stones to complete a gauntlet that can wipe out half of all life in the universe. While that’s easy enough to follow, the film also packs in a plethora of characters who all come with detailed backstories. It’s truly impressive that the filmmakers actually manage to juggle so many subplots without coming off as unfocused or overstuffed. Unless you’ve been keeping up with every MCU movie, however, it’s difficult to get that invested. Plus, this is only half of a story with the conclusion being saved for “Avengers 4.”

Although both films tell captivating stories, “Black Panther” feels more complete with a beginning, middle, and end. The story in “Infinity War” may be grander and more ambitious, but it requires the audience to do a fair deal of homework and doesn’t even deliver the whole picture. With “Black Panther,” you immediately get sucked into the narrative and walk out of the theater with closure.

WINNER: Black Panther 1 / Avengers: Infinity War 0

Round 2: The Action & Visuals


Wakanda is one of the most engaging locations the MCU has taken us to yet. The costumes, sets, and makeup create a vibrant country that practically leaps off the screen. The action is also gripping with the standout set piece being an inventive vehicle chase that utilized 150 cars and more than 700 people. This sequence might’ve set the bar a little too high, however, as not even the climax competes with it. While the final act is well-executed and keeps us hooked, it’s a somewhat standard battle with CGI that can be underwhelming at times, especially when it comes to those rhinos.

Although not without practical effects, “Infinity War” is arguably even more reliant on CGI than “Black Panther.” Yet, the CGI in “Infinity War” feels more polished, making the audience believe that characters like Thanos, the Hulk, and Rocket Raccoon are really there. Since half of the universe is on the line, each action sequence carries a significant amount of weight and the fact that our heroes don’t always walk away victorious only adds to the drama. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the film’s mind-blowing final act, which gives every major character a chance to shine with imagery that’ll be remembered for years to come.

Interestingly, both of these movies have climaxes that take place in Wakanda, which could’ve come off as redundant. “Infinity War” ups the ante in its final act, however, and the same can be said about the film’s action on the whole. With higher stakes and more refined visuals, it’s this round’s clear victor.

Winner: Black Panther 1 / Avengers: Infinity War 1

Round 3: The Villain


MCU movies had garnered a reputation for forgettable villains, but this wasn’t at all the case with “Black Panther.” Michael B. Jordan dominated the screen as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, T’Challa’s long-lost cousin who tries to usurp the throne of Wakanda. What makes Killmonger such a compelling villain is that he’s not entirely unsympathetic and not all of his actions are unjustified. He was robbed of his birthright as a child and – with a better upbringing – probably could’ve become a wise, noble ruler like T’Challa. Since he was sent down such a dark path, though, Killmonger sees force and vengeance as his only options.

He may look like a California Raisin on steroids, but Thanos is far more complex than he appears. In Thanos’ eyes, he’s a necessary evil who will benefit the universe by wiping out half of its population. The way he justifies his unspeakable actions feels eerily similar to the mindsets many real-world dictators and warmongers have. Josh Brolin also had a lot to live up to as Thanos, seeing how the villain has been teased since the original “Avengers” five years earlier. After sitting on his throne for several movies, it’s highly satisfying seeing Thanos finally show off what he’s capable of.

It’s a close call, as both of these villains more than hit their marks. Thanos is given a slight advantage, however, since he not only lived up to the astronomical hype, but is also one of the few supervillains who actually succeeds in their evil endeavor… for now at least.

Winner: Black Panther 1 / Avengers: Infinity War 2

Round 4: Impact on the Film Industry


“Black Panther” wasn’t the first Marvel movie to center on a black hero, as “Blade” came out 20 years earlier. Where that film was a modest hit, though, “Black Panther” was a box office revelation and earned rave reviews across the board. Many critics cited the film’s success as a major turning point in Hollywood for people of color, both in front of the camera and behind. Direct Ryan Coogler turned in a culturally relevant and even important blockbuster that audiences needed following the Charlottesville riots and the #OscarSoWhite controversy. Speaking of which, Disney actually launched a full-scale Oscar campaign for “Black Panther,” which is rare for a superhero movie.

When it comes to shared cinematic universes, Marvel remains the undisputed champ. With ten years of buildup, “Infinity War” was the MCU’s most expensive crossover event yet, working in almost every Avenger, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and even Black Panther. Although “Infinity War” set a new standard, it didn’t impact the film industry like its 2012 predecessor did. After the first “Avengers” came out, it influenced other studios to jump on the cinematic universe bandwagon, leading to the DCEU and more. While “Infinity War” was bigger and in many respects better, the original “Avengers” will always be the trendsetter that started it all.

Each of these films have left an imprint on cinematic history, but “Black Panther” is the one that inspired positive change throughout the industry. Hollywood has been making a push for more diverse projects and “Black Panther” undeniably played into this shift. Where some may write off comic book movies as kids’ stuff, “Black Panther” demonstrated that superheroes can make a real difference.

Winner: Black Panther 2 / Avengers: Infinity War 2

Round 5: Impact on the MCU


While “Black Panther” works as a standalone movie, it’s also a piece of the puzzle that is the MCU. The film ends with T’Challa addressing the United Nations, revealing that Wakanda isn’t a Third World country, but rather a technically advanced society that’s way ahead of the curve. This is largely thanks to their bountiful supply of vibranium, which notably makes up Black Panther’s suit. Now that Wakanda has gone public, it’s bound to shake things up in the MCU. Although the country’s resources may be used to help others and improve living conditions, they could also lead to disaster in the wrong hands.

“Black Panther” is an essential entry in the MCU, but “Avengers: Infinity War” is everything the past decade has been building towards. Featuring almost all of our heroes, the film is not only a major milestone for the franchise, but also marks a dramatic turning point that ends with half of the universe gone and the other half in total disarray. The film’s events played into the after-credits scene from “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and will surely be addressed in “Captain Marvel.” Most importantly, “Infinity War” sets the stage for “Avengers 4,” which brings a 22-movie arc to a close.

When you look at the big picture, there’s really no contest. “Avengers: Infinity Wars” is pretty much the penultimate chapter in a story takes been unfolding since 2008. While it’s unclear what may happen in “Avengers 4,” it’s safe to assume that nothing will ever be quite the same after “Infinity War.”

Winner: Black Panther 2 / Avengers: Infinity War 3

Wakanda may be strong, but Black Panther is even better when you pair him with the Avengers, giving “Infinity War” a narrow victory of 3 to 2.
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