December 1, 2021

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[Review] Black Snake, the legend of the black snake: a superhero made in France

We can say what we want about Thomas Ngijol, we can never blame him for not always aiming higher in his filmography. After going back in time, donning the dictator costume or playing the failed sportsman, it is therefore almost no surprise that we see him wearing the mask as the first Franco-African superhero in Black Snake, the legend of the snake black.

If French cinema shows itself capable of offering us a comedy adapted from a successful cartoon ( see our review of Nicky Larson and the perfume of Cupid ), can it do the same with regard to the superhero film? ? The question is asked thanks to Thomas Ngijol and Karole Rocher who signed with four hands Black Snake, the legend of the black snake, a parody of a genre which Hollywood and, above all, the public loves.

We follow the return to the country, to Africa, of Clotaire Sangala (Ngijol), a lazy and selfish dandy accustomed to the ease of Parisian life. Except that he will find himself endowed with the ancestral powers of the yellow snake and he will have only one goal: to save the people, as well as a journalist (Rock), from the yoke of the dictator in place.

A Black Snake neither hero nor super
We admit it, the trailer got us smiles. We therefore expected a feature film that would have the merit of being funny if not high. In the end we will have as much laughter as in front of Schindler’s List. Not only were the funniest lines in the promo (the marketing team had either a thin nose or a lack of choice), but for the vast majority, they lose their flavor once inserted into awkward sequences. .

Provoking laughter is a delicate exercise that requires an impeccable sense of timing and chiseled writing. Thomas Ngijol has long proven that he has mastered this balancing act on stage, except that we always have the impression that he thinks his films as he thinks his shows, without differentiating between the two. Difficult therefore to adhere to this cinematographic One Man Show where the story puts itself at the service of the valves of its co-author and not the other way around. The laborious acting of the latter does not help, moreover, not really to appreciate his projections. If we were still wondering if a good humorist necessarily makes a good actor, Thomas Ngijol continues to give us the answer.

A little power is better than no power at all
We may not be in the funny explosion, we can not deny the desire of Ngijol and Rocher to achieve it. The important thing is to participate as they say, and our tandem takes care not to allow any downtime with jokes that constantly fuse. Those who particularly appreciate the style of Thomas Ngijol should therefore find their account there anyway.

We will therefore avoid throwing too much stone at this Black Snake who does not harm anyone. Where certain comedies make their butter by falling into the community and certain clichés not very defensible, the film is only a failed Ngijol show, but not unpleasant. Although some may find it heavy around the edges, on the contrary, we see a certain restraint – quite relative obviously – which makes the whole digestible. Neither pleasant nor unpleasant, the footage tries, succeeds, fails, but is looked at to the end and it is already a lot.

Besides the parody of superheroes, we have seen worse in the genre. Black Snake has fun with the codes, bangs on the side of Black Panther as well as Green Hornet (for the costume) and allows his headliner to have fun like crazy. The staging is in tune with its protagonist with slow motion effects, explosions, and everything that makes up the specifications. It is not tomorrow that we risk reviewing such a proposal made in France so we might as well take advantage of it a little. And then there’s Édouard Baer, ​​and you can’t hate a film with Édouard Baer because, you know, you don’t believe there is a good or a bad situation …