The latest film in the Marvel Universe has arrived with “Black Panther” and it continues the tradition of big budgeted event films from Marvel. The film follows T’Challa (Chadwick Bodeman), as he prepares to assume the throne of the country of Wakanda after the death of his father. He is destined to lead over a nation that to the outside world seems impoverished and rural, but is secretly a very technologically advanced society thanks to their Vibranium resources. The resources allow them to keep their capitol city hidden from the world.
As T’Challa attempts to assume the throne and rule over the various tribes of his country; a threat from his past both known and unknown arises. Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) surfaces, T’Challa mounts and effort to bring him to justice which in turn sets a chain of events into motion. A mysterious and deadly figure known as Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), plans to obtain the Vibranium to exact a plan of revenge so severe it will lead to the nations of the world being subjugated and will divide even the most loyal citizens of Wakanda.
T’Challa must use his powers as The Black Panther and guardian of Wakanda to save his people and the very world from a threat that holds the fate of the world in the balance.
The film takes a while to get going as Director/Co-Writer Ryan Coogler takes his time introducing audiences to the world of Black Panther and especially the various characters. The strong supporting cast features Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman, and so many others that it is great to see such well-rounded characters.
The film does take a while to get up to the action but when it arrives; it delivers making the wait worth it. What I really liked was that the characters were well-defined as were their motivations. You did not have some cartoon mega-villain with some insane scheme, but rather a realistic and believable threat whose motivations were understandable though misguided.
Marvel has again delivered a very thrilling story that fits well into their extended universe and you will want to make sure to stay through all the credits for the two additional scenes which sets up future events for the Marvel Universe. “Black Panther” is a rousing success all around continues Marvel’s Cinematic Universe in grand style.
4.5 stars out of 5
Second Review by
by Joseph K. Saulnier
I almost feel like there is no need to review Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies anymore. You know what you’re getting into when you choose to watch one, and if you’re choosing not to watch the film you’re pretty well fed up with all the superhero movies and hype as of late. Which begs the question, why are you hear reading this?
I’ll tell you why. Black Panther, much like Guardians of the Galaxy, is a generally unknown IP. Before you beat me up about this statement, think about it first. Yes, the character and surrounding mythos has been around for a long, long time. And many know about him. But for many more, there only experience (unfortunately) with Marvel characters has been through the movies over the past few years. So all they know is T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the son of a King who was assassinated in Captain America: Civil War (I didn’t say spoilers because if you haven’t seen it by now, why are you going to watch Black Panther). It’s a sad reality, but it is true. Black Panther is new too many, and definitely a curiosity.
Black Panther delivers in so many ways. The story is engaging, the core cast is brilliant, and the score and visuals blow you away. Right away we are given the story of the Black Panther mantle and the history of Wakanda. Which is great. It does it in a fantastic way as to give you a bunch of information, but not so that you feel overwhelmed. All before a very gratifying opening set way back in the 1990s to give some context that will be come much clearer later in the movie. I’m not going to give away major plot points, except to say that Black Panther revolves around an internal conflict in Wakanda, and doesn’t have much to do with the previous films other than a visiting character here and there.
And I have to say, I am very glad we didn’t see any other MCU Superhero in this film. No reliance on Captain America or Bucky Barnes, which if you recall, both are in Wakanda at the end of Civil War. This story is about the Wakandans, and that is probably one of the best decisions the writers made in this film. Casting was amazing. We all saw what Bozeman could do, but Marvel alum Michael B. Jordan steals the scene every time Erik Killmonger makes an appearance. He knows how to make you feel empathy and a little bit of hatred toward him all at the same time. I also find it interesting that both of the actors who have played Johnny Storm on screen have now made their way to the MCU and had conflict with Black Panther.
Let’s not leave out the rest of this stellar cast, though. Danai Gurira shows us once again just how badass she is as Okoye, a general in the Wakandan military who seems to be assigned as a personal body guard of sorts to T’Challa. Lupita Nyong’o shows us her acting chops and prowess in a non-CGI role action role. Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis, your Tolken white guys (thank you Twitter for that one) make appearances once again as Everett K. Ross and Ulysses Klaue, respectively. Forest Whitaker joins the ranks of Star Wars/MCU crossovers in pivotal role in the film as Zuri; admittedly, I wish he had more screen time in the film. But the other scene stealer is Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, the T’Challa’s sister. She is the scientific genius of the family, and delivers humor and wit perfectly with every line. I look forward to seeing her in future roles (can you say Ready Player One?).
Bottom line: go see this film. It is quite possibly the best, if not one of the best, MCU films to date, and that’s saying a lot as it goes up against the masterpieces that were Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-man: Homecoming released last year. Make sure you stay through the credits as there will be two per Marvel staple. Look for one in the mid-credits and at the very end as well.
4.5 out of 5 stars