Black Panther is perhaps Marvel’s best outing yet; the cast is electric, the fictional nation of Wakanda is mesmerizing and most importantly the story is engaging from the very beginning.
Simply put this is not “just another superhero movie”. It feels different primarily because T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is both a hero and ruler. He must navigate the real world consequences on Earth rather than a foreign far-away planet. Furthermore, the script unapologetically addresses issues of race and identity head-on. Some of which is so specific to a certain community that it has never been explored in a film of this magnitude.
Trust me when I say this is a film that has it all. The action sequences, the musical score, and the beautiful imagery make this one worthwhile.
Panther picks up right after the events of Captain America: Civil War. We watch T’Challa step into the role of King after the tragic death of his father T’Chaka (John Kani) at the hands of Zemo (Daniel Brühl).
As a ruler T’Challa is incredibly loyal to his people and their guarded culture. I would describe him as a poised intellectual, who sometimes comes across as solemn and aloof because of the nature of his duties. However, I was elated to see that director Ryan Coogler and his writing partner Joe Robert Cole did a great job of carving out specific moments in the script where we saw more of T’Challa’s personality shine.
We saw his lighter side every time he interacted with his younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), who was a complete scene-stealer throughout the film. The bond they shared was very special and Wright will undoubtedly remain one of the most memorable characters in this series! We also saw T’Challa lower his guard down around Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), a loyal Wakandan spy who he obviously shares a history with.
One of the things I loved about Panther is how many strong female characters are present. In addition to Shuri and Nakia, there is also Okoye (Danai Gurira), who serves as General of the King’s all-female guard known as the Dora Milaje. Okoye is a fierce warrior and the power and strength Gurira herself brings to the role is impressive.
She and Nyong’o have the opportunity to do the saving and protecting in this film. There is never a moment where they call a man for help; the whole damsel in distress concept is thrown out the window and it’s so refreshing!
I also can’t leave out T’Challa’s mother Queen Ramonda, who coincidentally is portrayed by real-life Queen Angela Bassett. Not only does this actress never age, but she has the grace and presence to pull this role off.
One aspect of the film that I looked forward to the most was that of T’challa’s adversaries and foes. Coogler & co. more than delivered in this arena! Michael B. Jordan stars as Erik “Kilmonger” Stevens and his performance will forever be cemented in my mind. I think he’s the best new villain we’ve seen since Loki’s original introduction in the Thor series. He is a highly complex figure with a fascinating background and agenda.
Compared to T’Challa, Kilmonger is much more radical, ruthless, and impulsive, yet I still found myself being somewhat sympathetic towards him. He has a warped idea of how to “right” certain wrongs mostly because of the pain and darkness of his childhood. He is someone who has seen the disenfranchisement of his community and his people for so long that he’s now dangerous as an adult.
I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t seen it yet, but the burden that Kilmonger has to carry is tremendously great. He might be the first Marvel villain that gives you some pause as well.
I was very impressed by the action sequences as well as the general look of the movie. Rachel Morrison serves as director of photography and I’ve long been a fan of the way she captures a story. She and Coogler previously worked on Fruitvale Station and I hope they are a team that remains in tact!
What more can I say about Panther that is spoiler-free? 🙂 The music is great, the costuming and wardrobe is phenomenal and the feelings of pride I had leaving the theater were insurmountable.
Black Panther is directed by one of my favorite working directors Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) who also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole (Amber Lake). Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Andy Serkis, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, and Angela Bassett with Forest Whitaker. It is currently in theaters!
ps. there are TWO post-credit scenes following the film and I think they both help set up Avengers: Infinity War, which will be in theaters this May 4th! So stay to the very end friends! 🙂
**update Avengers: Infinity War will now be released in theaters April 27th!!
Have you seen Black Panther on the big screen yet? What was your favorite moment of the movie? Tell me all about it in the comments below!