TITLE: Black Panther (2018)
DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
CAST: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, Martin Freeman
GENRE: Action, drama, comic book movie
Marvel Studio’s 18th film, Black Panther, is FINALLY showing in cinemas… and it is the studio’s best origin film to date! #RepresentationMatters
The film picks up right after Captain America: Civil War, where T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) becomes King of Wakanda after the death of his father, T’Chaka. Being the leader of the afrofuturistic and highly-advanced Wakanda also means he has to take over the mantle of Black Panther, a superhuman protector of the country.
The film highlights T’Challa’s journey, balancing his positions as King and the Black Panther. Eventually, his position is challenged by the arrival of Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who comes to Wakanda to claim the throne.
Not Your Typical Superhero Movie
One of the reasons why I think Captain America: The Winter Soldier is so great is that when you strip away the “superhero-ness”, it’s still a great political thriller. The same goes for Black Panther. Marvel and Ryan Coogler did not make another ‘just a superhero movie’. They included some really relevant aspects, like the social commentary about how difficult it is being a person of colour in this world.
When I was watching the film, I was beyond hooked with the culture presented on screen. Wakanda is a technologically-advanced country, but no one other than the Wakandans know about this. The previous kings (before T’Challa takes over) continues this charade that Wakanda is a poor, Third World country. But when Killmonger comes into the picture, the Wakandans (especially T’Challa) have to decide whether or not they should reveal themselves to the world.
Amazing Characters And Performances
Speaking of which, Michael B. Jordan delivers a charismatic performance as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, and he is easily one of MCU’s most compelling villain (since Loki!). Much of T’Challa’s character development as the new king relies on Killmonger’s beliefs. I love it when a film shows the side of the villain’s story that humanizes them. For example, when I was watching this movie, I sided with Killmonger. I understand where he’s coming from and why his viewpoints are valid. Sure, he murders a bunch of people (and seems to be proud of it), but his motivations of trying to overthrow T’Challa’s reign is actually reasonable. A great villain is when The Hero has to look at himself and think, “Hmm… maybe The Villain is right!”
The women of Wakanda is another aspect why I think this film is amazing. The characters of Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and Shuri (Letitia Wright) are really some of the best MCU’s female characters. Okoye and Nakia are loyal, strong, bad-ass warriors, and Shuri is smart, funny, and can also kick-ass! It’s empowering to see these strong BLACK women on screen because you don’t really get to see that in a Marvel movie. I’m all for them portraying positive and strong women because the trio contributes to saving Wakanda from the villain.
Personally, I love, love, LOVE Black Panther. Sure, it is not a perfect movie and it has some minor flaws throughout. But a film featuring a black superhero, a group of powerful black women, a really compelling villain, and a story relevant to today’s society, it rates pretty high in my book. So I’m giving this film a 4 out of 5 rating.