Not just another hero!
Where should I start? Ok. I got it. Long known for its revolutionary and social commentary, Marvel Comics has introduced its readers to a dynamic roster of diverse heroes since the 1930s, most notably with Black Panther. Having made his debut in Fantastic Four #52 (1966 to be exact), Black Panther exposes the story of T’Challa, an African prince who takes on the throne of King and Super Hero, alongside its dire responsibilities. To no surprise, Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s ferocious kitty established itself a fan-favorite. Crossing racial/cultural lines, the imagery of a regal African King and his heroic abilities continued to resonate with fans over the years, resulting in multiple publications, and 52 years later (coincidentally since his comic book debut), his very own film. In 2016, the MCU welcomed T’Challa/Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) with open arms, introducing him to its massive fan-base in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.
2 years after his cinematic debut, Marvel Studios finally releases BLACK PANTHER. In his own piece, the flick follows T’Challa (Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, hi-tech African nation to take his rightful place as King. But when a powerful old enemy reemerges (Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis) and a competing throne contender (Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan), T’Challa’s reign as king and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into complexities that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.
Although the revolution wasn’t televised, it was epically displayed on a silver screen! Marvelized once again, BLACK PANTHER claws its way up cinematic awesomeness. (Were there doubts?) One thing’s for sure, this time around, the layout of its narrative proves the MCU doesn’t have to be silly to be engaging and fun at the same time. From start to finish, this panther proves to be a stealthy cat. One that doesn’t purr unless justice does the petting. Planting great performances as Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall, as T’Challa/Black Panther, Boseman is on a whole other level. Cosmic, if I may say. Accent and all, Boseman makes quite a mark.
The flick is no hype. You get exactly what is advertised. Unique in rhythm and style, Ryan Coogler’s exposition of one of the most beloved heroes and most anticipated among a live-action film makes a powerful impact. Marvel has had its share of black heroes on screen with BLADE, LUKE CAGE, NICK FURY, FALCON, and WAR MACHINE, but BLACK PANTHER raises the bar to unreachable levels.
One of the most appealing aspects of PANTHER’s narrative is although the film is about Black Panther, the characters are so deeply detailed, personal, and intricate to the storyline, it’s almost as if Black Panther serves as a secondary character. Especially among the women, who in turn, are the backbone to the film. They’re the structure of morality, loyalty, respect, unity, love, and survival. It stood out immediately and I was drawn its effect, noticing their level of importance and stability for T’Challa himself. Great chemistry among the women who portrayed these important characters, and just as much fun to watch and endure. Much love and respect to Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright! (I will not spoil their roles or objectives!)
On the flip, Andy Serkis will always be Andy Serkis. He never fails to draw you in. However, Michael B. Jordan… Damn! This man is in a class all on his own. like Boseman, he’s had his share of characters. Although not as grandeur as Boseman’s roles, but come on… As an alumna from the Coogler school of cinema, we all remember FRUITVALE STATION and CREED. As Erik Killmonger, Jordan held his own in the film. A badass in his own right, if I may add. Rough around the edges, yet charismatic with his intellect, as well as logic to his “madness,” Killmonger lived up to become one of my favorite characters in the film and MCU as a whole. Many times, I found myself wondering and drawn more to Killmnoger than I did Panther. (Crude, but fun fact.)
And if that’s not enough, its pulsating, adrenaline-ridden score adds to the fun. Also starring Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, and Forest Whitaker, as lead-in for the upcoming INFINITY WAR throw-down, BLACK PANTHER’s script roars, the action hunts with precision, and the execution allows it to be an apex predator among the MCU. As a crowning jewel to all Marvel films, stick around for two post-credit scenes. Just like all cats, this one’s territorial. Therefore, I conclude, brace yourselves for more Black Panther in the near future.
Grade: A | Genre: Action-Adventure, Sci-Fi | Rated: PG-13 | Run Time: 2:15
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis
Directed and Co-written by: Ryan Coogler