Black Panther (2018)
“Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. Released on February 16, 2018, the film has T’Challa protecting his kingdom of Wakanda from two different enemies.
The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also directed Fruitvale Station and Creed, and it is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like Spider-Man, Black Panther was introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2016 in the form of Captain America: Civil War. His introduction was widely praised by critics and audiences, so a solo film involving the superhero was inevitable. I’ve only known Black Panther from the animated Marvel shows and direct-to-DVD movies, most notably “Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther”, so you can say that I’m mostly prepared to visit the MCU version of Wakanda. How it translates to the big screen is the question that can easily be answered based on the MCU’s track record. There were plenty of reasons why I was excited for this film, besides the fact that it’s a part of the MCU. One of them is the director. Coogler has done extremely well with his last two movies, especially Creed, which I thought was a splendid continuation of the Rocky Balboa franchise, and his first attempt at a big-budget action movie should provide an interesting turn for his filmography if done correctly. So far, the film is receiving massive praise for not only its cast and the action (as usual), but also its impact on the African-American culture due to its history and setting, which is something that could be seen as an accomplishment made from the superhero genre. Aside from its cultural impact, is it really another hit for Disney and Marvel?
The film’s story ditches its usual superhero origin formula and follows T’Challa (Boseman) after his experience with the events of “Civil War”. When a mysterious adversary known as “Killmonger” (Jordan) plots to overthrow T’Challa by teaming up with black-market arms dealer, Ulysses Klaue (Serkis), T’Challa must find a way to deal with these threats while assuming responsibility as the new king of Wakanda. The film expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe by exploring the history of the fictional African nation as well as incorporating some elements that connect with the other films, including vibranium, the same material that was used to construct Captain America’s shield. Like the other installments in the MCU, the film has a blend of storytelling, action, and humor that creates a suitable and well-crafted experience made for both comic book fans and general audiences alike. Without relying too much on its superhero origin cliches, “Black Panther” has found a proper way to fully introduce the superhero to those who are unfamiliar with the Marvel character while also providing a splendid amount of good old-fashioned superhero fun in the process. Even though it struggled a little bit during the first act, this is another impressive win for Marvel. Boseman once again proves that he is an excellent choice to play T’Challa. His accent was spot on as always and his development with his character had enough substance to make me care for him. Jordan also delivered a convincing and daring performance as the film’s antagonist, who holds a shocking secret. The one thing that I really liked from Killmonger was that he’s not like any other cliched Marvel villain. He’s the type of person whose personal past convinced him to rule for the wrong reasons, and that’s all I could say about him in case you haven’t seen it yet. I think the only person who almost stole the entire show was Danai Gurira as the head of the all-female special forces of Wakanda. Her character was simply amazing in terms of her personality and her fighting skills. She’s one of those types of people that can break each and every one of your fingers if you rub them the wrong way. No joke. The addition of Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis as Everett K. Ross and Klaue, respectively, was a nice touch in serving some specific purpose to the story. Am I the only one who thinks about the Hobbit trilogy every time I see them on screen together? Not only were the action sequences fun and thrilling, but they also had some pretty impressive choreography to go along with them. There was this one sequence that I enjoyed less compared to the rest of them, but other than that, they were engaging from beginning to end. The fictional world of Wakanda was definitely a sight to behold due to its respectable African culture, the costumes designs, the music, and the film’s vibrant and detailed visuals. It’s like looking at an actual African nation, but inside the world of superheroes. It’s obviously clear that the MCU was attempting to examine more stories that involve different types of cultures, and thanks to Ryan Coogler’s direction, it did its part extremely well.
Overall, “Black Panther” successfully joins the highest ranks of the MCU due to its performances, Coogler’s direction, some fun action sequences, and its presentation on the fictional African nation and its culture. It’s no superhero masterpiece, but the film proves that Ryan Coogler can handle any story that revolves around the African-American culture, especially the big-budget action blockbuster type. If you’re a big time follower of the MCU or if you just want to have fun at the movies, I would highly recommend this one. Also, please don’t use the “race” card to criticize people’s opinions on this film. It is extremely unacceptable. Not to mention excruciatingly rude.
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