After what seems like an eternity, Black Panther roars onto the screen from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. Picking up from his scene-stealing appearance in Civil War, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced, African nation of Wakanda. As his country’s new King, T’Challa finds factions, from within his own country, determined to challenge his rule. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) and members of the Wakandan Special Forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
I can’t think of any superhero movie, in my lifetime, that I looked forward to more than Black Panther. More than just a superhero film, this is a film about legacy and finding your own inner strength. Director Ryan Coogler has crafted the best film in the MCU to date, in my opinion. With a script co-written by Joe Robert Cole, this is one film that is worth your trip to the theater. The strength of Black Panther is in Coogler’s direction. With his third film, Coogler is quickly becoming one of the best working directors today. Disney and Marvel let Coogler pretty much maintain control, of the final cut, and it shows.
While this Marvel film can be enjoyed by anyone, it would resonate most with the African-American community. Seeing people of color as scientists and warriors is one of the highlights of the film. While T’Challa is never weak, we do get to see him as flawed. Boseman was born to play this role. Not to mention, his chemistry with the rest of the cast, as you genuinely believe the relationships. T’Challa’s relationship with his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), is amusing and easy to buy into. His relationship with his love interest, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), is also well played.
Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is, without a doubt, the best villain the MCU has presented so far. His motivations are clear and his ideology directly challenges T’Challa’s. He is, physically and psychologically, the perfect adversary for Black Panther. I found myself agreeing with both Killmonger and T’Challa, which I can’t recall ever happening before this movie.
While Black Panther is as close to perfection as one can get with a comic book film, I do have a gripe, which was the portrayal of W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya). Currently nominated for an Oscar, Daniel Kaluuya’s portrayal is average.
Black Pantheris more than a movie— it’s a movement. All the hype surrounding the film is well warranted, and currently, it has my #1 slot as the best film of 2018.
Final Grade: A+