Running off the events of “Captain America: Civil War” we find T’challa (Chadwick Boseman) returning to his hidden yet magnificent country to take his rightful position as King. While T’challa, Black Panther, settles in as protector of Wakanda, a new foe with their own agenda emerges to challenge more than just his seat at the throne.
There’s no denying that “Black Panther” had a lot riding on it. The hype began with the character’s introduction in the MCU in Civil War, but has only grown since the cast announcements. While the superhero film isn’t the first to showcase a black lead, it is one of the first to have a predominantly black cast; making it all the more important on a historical level. To no surprise, the cast and overall African themed elements reign supreme.
Starting off, the isolated country of Wakanda is one of the most beautiful aspects in recent years. The decision to mix the rich culture of Africa with the technological advancement of the fictional world of Wakanda creates a melting pot of sheer Hollywood bliss. It’s created so well in such a way that you don’t even question the legitimacy of a place like this existing in real life. From wide shots of the technological Utopia landscape to tribesman performing in ancient ceremonies, the celebratory of a culture is wonderfully and awe inspiring.
Indeed the set pieces set the tone of the film, but the cast is what cements “Black Panther” as a great film. From top to bottom each character is written which such depth that you can easily identify and understand their personality and selective purpose that encompasses them as a person. There are multiple layers to several characters, a staggering feat for a film with so many characters that haven’t been introduced in prior movies.
Supporting characters like Warrior general Okoye (Danai Gurira) and intelligent and all the more charming Shuri (Letitia Wright) are just a few that stand out for their personable ideals and all the more incredible performances. These are just two female characters that hold up the celebration and representation of women being strong, independent and fierce. Ideally I would love to explain why each cast member was near perfection, but this review would never end.
By far the most notable character in “Black Panther” is Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger. A truly refreshing addition to the rather lackluster catalog of super villains and an ideal mold for creating a truly awesome bad guy. Special care was taken into consideration when writer/director Ryan Coogler penned the character. Taking storylines from several character arcs from the comics, Killmonger has a sense of purpose that just about everyone can sympathize for, while still maintaining a sadistic aura. This then makes the audience feel conflicted when he and Black Panther come at odds.
There are however some negative aspects to the film. For instance, having such strong supporting characters results in a lesser focus on Black Panther himself. Yes there are character motivations, an inner struggle and growth to T’challa, but not to an extent expected in most solo films. A few scenes also suffer from blurry zoomed combat that takes you out of the element of well performed choreography. CGI is unbalanced in a few sequences too, but it must be noted that these gripes are minor nit picks.
“Black Panther” has a different tone than prior marvel films as it focuses less on teasing the next film and more on being a personable movie- one that celebrates equality and breaking the boundaries of gender, race and social status. Ryan Coogler has spoiled us with this film as it hits all the marks required, and then some. If you haven’t seen “Black Panther” yet, drop everything you are doing and witness the movie in all its glory. Wakanda forever.