In terms of cinematography, which is the better movie: BLACK PANTHER or WONDER WOMAN?

I have listened to both of them now, but have no opinion about the visuals of either because of my useless goddamn eyes. So I thought I would torture myself by posing the question here. I don’t need to hear anything about how hot Angela Bassett still is, though.

I’ve seen both, and enjoyed both, though I don’t recall either of them having particularly noteworthy cinematography.

An exception to that, however, is the scene in Wonder Woman in which she’s repulsed by the brutality of the front, and leads the impromptu charge out of the trench. From the exchange of looks between Diana and one of the refugees, to when she hunkers down behind her shield, taking fire, I think it’s a very well-shot scene.

I personally consider a negative aspect of the cinematography of Black Panther (or at least the last half-hour or so) is that it reminded me of the cinematography of The Phantom Menace and that movie was dumb.

Neither stood out for cinematography wise sice it was a whole lot of generic CGI.
Some more recent movies that did stand out cinematography wise were Fury Road, The Revenent, and Bladerunner 2049.

Both had the sort of big sweeping effects-laden landscapes-and-armies shots that have come to be standard in action movies (especially superhero movies) lately. But I wouldn’t say that either really broke any new ground in that regard. I suppose that the biggest difference would be that Black Panther had more natural scenery, while Wonder Woman had more architecture.

I thought the scenes on Wonder Woman’s home island were quite beautiful. After she left the island, everything became darker and grimier, and not in a good way.

Black Panther was much more visually interesteing throughout, in my opinion. And I was actually able to follow the action in the big battle sequences, which can be tough to pull off in this sort of film.

Whether any of that technically falls under “cinematography,” though, I dunno.

Neither stood out, notably.

The visuals were a lot more fancy in Black Panther, since they were creating a whole city and super hi-tech fortress from scratch. Wheras, in Wonder Woman, most of everything takes place in WWI and the bit on the Island of the Amazons was largely just “some Mediterranean Hillside”. There wasn’t a lot of architecture and what we did see was mostly just walls and a few towers in some faux-Ancient Greek castle style.

But visuals aren’t quite the same thing as cinematography. There was lots of detail in Black Panther but none of the images stood out as obviously an “impactful image”.

Because you’re assembling bits together, between live action and 3D rendered, so much I think that it stops being less about the cinematographer and more about the storyboardist. The cameraman doesn’t know what’s going to be behind the characters, so he just needs to do something reasonable and hope. And the people doing the backgrounds are constrained by the live footage they get, and have to set up their angles to be compatible with it. The only point of cohesion is the storyboard that has the images together before they start shooting - if both the camera and 3D groups use that as their unifying goal.

Whether they’re doing that at all, I don’t know. It could be that they’re just shooting on a green screen and letting the artists figure out something after-the-fact, rather than really planning it out beforehand. But either way, so far none of the Marvel films (that I have seen) have been particularly notable from a cinematographic standpoint. Though, very few films are.

Another vote for they both had okay cinematography, but nothing special.

I’d vote for Black Panther. Wonder Woman had that muted color palette that’s become a DC movie trademark.

Not quite cinematography, but I will say that Gal Gadot is a better visual actor than any of the actors in Black Panther. Her facial expressions, posture, etc. said a lot.

Gal Gadot turned out to be a much better actress than anyone had reason to expect her to be based upon her sparse resume up to that point. I don’t think it is going to far to say that her characterization of Wonder Woman/“Diana Prince” is the most sympathetic and best portrayed character in the DC film universe, and that she’s basically carrying the franchise at this point. That being said, I’m going to put Letitia Wright’s portrayal of Shuri as full of such nuance that she’s immediately believable as the younger sister cum technical genius of T’Challa. And while she didn’t get much screen time in the film, I don’t think anybody in the DC stable can hold a candle to Angela Bassett in terms of acting.

I’m somewhat surprised to see how poorly regarded the cinematography of Black Panther is; of the MCU films, it is far and away consistently some of the best, save for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and at least on par with Captain America: Civil War. The casino fight is superbly filmed; I had to check and see that it wasn’t DP’d by Roger Deakins, because the contrast and shallow depth of focus are very similar to his style. Most of the other MCU films have fairly pedestrian cinematography and composition (I do like the intentional Golden Age styling and framing of Captain America: The First Avenger, but since it is a pastiche of a cinematographic style of cliffhangers that was dated when Orson Welles was filming Citizen Kane, it is hard to get too excited about it.)

The common complaint that “there is too much CGI” needs to be reminded of just how awful static background mattes actually looked (and worked; I still recall Billy D. Williams nearly walking into a matte of the Millennium Falcon and having to stop abruptly). CGI can be done well or poorly, depending on the skill of the cinematographer and the animators, but given that superhero films are by definition fantasy, creating the world around them requires a lot of CGI even in scenes with contemporary settings. Of course the world of Wakanda is almost entirely computer animation (given that it doesn’t exist), but it gives the impression of a very lived in world. There are some excesses (the falling into the vibranium mine fight, and the cringeworthy end of the chase sequence in Busan where the vehicle disintegrates around Nakia and Okoye) but on the whole it is a well filmed story which creates a uniquely vibrant setting, second only to first Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok in memorability.

Wonder Woman started out well; while it was narratively pretty much an extended expository sequence, the early scenes set on Themyscira are visually memorable. Once the film exits that setting and enters London and later Western Front sequences, the look becomes that grim and frankly ugly desaturation that permeates the DC films. Note that this is essentially the same effect used in pretty much all war movies since Saving Private Ryan, and in those films it is (at least ostensibly) used to convey the kind of dulling of affect due to battle stress. It makes for a wearying experience, though, and combined with the very uninspired and predictable story makes for a film that becomes increasingly tiresome as it goes along. That the film succeeds at all is in large measure due to Gadot and perhaps the scenery chewing of Danny Huston, who are pretty much the only memorable characters in the second and third acts of the film. I’d really like to be more complementary of the film because it has the nuggets of a great story, and again, Gal Gadot is fantastic, but it too often felt like floor cuts from the first Captain America movie with Gadot inserted in, and lacking in the self-referential humor of that film. I’m hoping the sequel, set in the 'Eighties, will be more complementary to her natural humor.


Both Themiscyra and Wakanda were portrayed as utopias.

To be clear, I didn’t actually think that there was too much CGI. The CGI dynamic backgrounds in both were fine. It’s just that, in this day and age, that alone doesn’t count as anything special.