Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira
Director: Ryan Coogler
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.
The 17th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may end up as one of its strongest yet. Black Panther has an incredible story, beautiful technical achievements, and intense action sequences that make the movie entertaining from start to finish. While the villain was lacking at times, it was not enough to take away from an otherwise fantastic movie.
The story takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War with T’Challa (Boseman) taking over as King of Wakanda. Even though it would be helpful to have seen the previous Marvel movies, I appreciated how well this story transitions away from the universe and into its own world. While T’Challa tries to rule as a young King, he encounters two enemies; Killmonger (Jordan) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). Ulysses has limited screen time, but Serkis being the world-class actor that he is makes the most of it. While Killmonger is the main villain, I believe he could have been developed more as a character. He has an interesting backstory, but whenever Jordan is one screen he gives a rather pedestrian performance. He gives a great performance during a flashback scene that shows he has the ability to be a dramatic actor, but other than that he is not a very interesting character. Regardless of the performance, I really enjoyed the moral ambiguity of Killmonger. Many comic book villains are evil for the sake of being evil, but Killmonger does not see himself as the bad guy. He sees himself as someone who recognizes the evil of the world and wants to do whatever it takes to eradicate it, which was a refreshing change of pace. There is one other villainous character in the film; M’Baku (Winston Duke), that I wish we got to see more of. He makes an appearance towards the end of the film, but I felt as though his story was never resolved. I wanted to see if there would be consequences for his actions and how it would affect Wakanda moving forward.
Technically, this film is a tour de force, specifically with its color, sound, and costume design. The spectrum of color throughout is appealing to look at, from the neon colors of Busan to the five traditional tribes of Wakanda, the contrast between these art styles is smooth and well done. I knew going into this film that if everything about this movie was bad, that at least the music would be serviceable. Kendrick Lamar is one of my favorite modern artists and he did another incredible job with this soundtrack. The songs line up perfectly with the scenes and are used appropriately, going from action to emotion without it becoming awkward. I believe this is the first Marvel movie to have a completely original album made exclusively for it and based on how great it was, I hope that this become a trend that Marvel and Disney follow for the foreseeable future.
Overall, Black Panther does is another strong addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is one that anyone can enjoy. It Is a perfect blend of comedy and action and has touching emotional moments throughout. I am really excited to see how T’Challa works with the rest of the MCU in Avengers: Infinity War and the potential relationships he could form there. Boseman continues to be one of the better actors in these series and I look forward to seeing more of him in years to come.
Overall Score: 8.5/10