Black Panther Film ReviewPosted by Wilson Morales
February 6, 2018
When Marvel first announced that they would make a stand-alone film for Black Panther, the first for a Black superhero in their MCU, some may have wondered whether they could pull off the same success that the studio has had with their other stand-alone films (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Ant-Man). While we have seen War Machine and the Falcon in other Marvel films, Black Panther is the one character, other than Luke Cage (whose character is on the Netflix series), that most folks are familiar with.
After the jubilant fanfare the character and Chadwick Boseman received from his first appearance in “Captain America: Civil War,” there was no question that the time was now for his film to come out. With director Ryan Coogler at the helm and this being his third film following Fruitvale Station and Creed, suffice to say, Black Panther is a hit! It’s emotional, powerful and action packed to satisfy comic book fans as well as newcomers who probably haven’t seen a Marvel film, but want to experience seeing Black excellence on the big screen.
With a star-studded cast that includes Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, John Kani, Florence Kasumba, and Sterling K. Brown, Coogler has put together a Marvel film that has sense of realism that they haven’t had with their other films. There a lot of political aspects that resonates with today’s world in regards to the rich and the poor and whether or not resources should be shared.
Everything you wanted to see in this film, from the characters, the story, the action scenes, the costume designs, and the production values are firing on all cylinders. While Boseman is the lead, he is aided immensely by Jordan, Wright, Nyong’o, Gurira and Freeman. Each character is given ample time to establish their identity and along with co-writer Joe Robert Cole, the film is also filled with some humor that keeps kids entertained without losing them to a language they are too young to understand.
Taking place after “Captain America: Civil War,” when his father King T’Chaka (John Kani) was killed, T’Challa (Boseman) returns home to the undiscovered, isolated home of Wakanda where he has to prepare to be named the new King and continue the legacy of the Black Panther. With his younger sister and tech wizard Shuri (Letitia Wright), stepmother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his all-female band of soldiers aka the Dora Milaje at his side, T’Challa is in great hands. With many different tribes gathering for the ceremony, T’Challa’s rise to the throne is initially challenged but he prevails.
Meanwhile, outside of Wakanda, a man by name of Erik Kilmonger (Jordan) is seen in London robbing a Vibranium item and gives it to Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), the man responsible for T’Chaka’s death. Vibranium is the heart and soul to Wakanda and its technical advantage over the world is mostly desired by others. When word gets to the folks in Wakanda that Klaue has been located in South Korea, it’s agreed by T’Challa, mentor Zuri (Whitaker) and his chief counsel W’Kabi (Kaluuya) that Klaus must be apprehended and brought back to Wakanda to face justice. Setting out on this mission are T’Challa, Okoye (Gurira), his most trusted ally and head of the Dora Milaje and his former lover Nakia (Nyong’o), a war dog and undercover spy for Wakanda.
Based on the various trailers and clips shown, and without revealing any spoilers, we know that CIA agent Everrett K. Ross (Freeman) is also on the hunt for Klaue and while it seems (from the trailer) that both T’Challa and Ross managed to capture him, there’s a larger threat to both of them that neither saw coming and the world of Wakanda may never be the same.
The moment the trailer was released, the thing that stood out was how amazing each setting looked. From start to finish, costume designer Ruth Carter’s vibrant colors for the characters and Hannah Beachler’s dazzling production values makes this a beautiful film.
Having played Jackie Robinson, James Brown and more recently, Thurgood Marshall, Boseman is no stranger to embodying the spirit of a well-known character, and as Black Panther, he commands attention, but it’s actually the other characters who stand out. Jordan’s Kilmonger, in particular, is the strongest villain in the MCU thus far. One can make the argument for Thor’s Loki, but the more Loki sticks around and pops up in the other Marvel films, the less he’s hated. Kilmonger has a purpose, and while he’s menacing in his actions, there’s an emotional core that one could side with. He’s not a one-note character who will be forgotten after the film is over. His actions has consequences that will be remembered and Jordan, having working with Coogler on his previous films, is having a ball playing the villain you love to hate.
Another scene-stealer is Wright, who as younger Shuri, is basically the female version of Q from the James Bond franchise. She’s smart, savvy and just as strong as her brother. Not only that, but ALL of the women are fierce. From Okoye, the Dora Milaje and Nakia, there is no damsel in distress here and to see the women fight as a unit and without fear is a triumph. Wonder Woman and the Amazons paved the way and Black Panther continues to empower women as equals.
At a running time of over two hours, some may have quibbles on the pacing of the film, but each scene is either filled with a landscape that’s too gorgeous to ignore or an action scene where you want more. Marvel has given Coogler the latitude and tools to have Black Panther readers and fans be proud and where people can feel connected and entertained.
Black Panther Clip 1
Clip 2 – It’s a Set Up