Black Panther is a film with a heart of gold… or vibranium.
Directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed and Fruitvale Station), Black Panther is the 18th feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first MCU film with a predominantly black cast. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira, this film is set immediately after Captain America: Civil War.
After the death of his father T’Chaka (John Kani), T’Challa (Boseman) is now the new king of Wakanda and, in effect, the new Black Panther. With his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), statesman Zuri (Forest Whitaker), and general Okoye (Gurira) by his side to help him in his path as a new ruler, T’Challa accepts the throne. However, Ulysses Klau (Andy Serkis) returns with the help of a half-Wakandan named Eric (Jordan), who is secretly tied to T’Chaka’s unknown dark past.
First of all… WHAT A STORY! This is easily one of the best written MCU films ever! The story is oozing with themes on tradition, culture, heritage, duty, righteousness, legacy, and family; each of those themes hit the spot just right.
The film has the most well-rounded characters ever established in a single MCU film. In most MCU films, we get to grow with the character and love them as time pass. But here, most of the characters are so grounded and relatable, despite the technological advancement of their home country. T’Challa is portrayed as this well-meaning leader who is conflicted between the tradition of preserving the knowledge and the resources of Wakanda or sharing it to the rest of the world. Eric “Killmonger” Stevens was handled really well; you can truly feel empathy when his origin was revealed. In fact, I dare say that he has been the most-rounded MCU villain, especially for a guy who only appeared for one film. Loki had 3 (4 if you include Avengers); Zemo only had the last act to have us relate to him. Or maybe Michael B. Jordan is just a great actor, and we should all forget 2015 Fantastic Four. Even the supporting characters did a good job, especially the intensity of Okoye and the humor of Shuri.
The world-building was amazing. Every part of Wakanda screams of the perfect blend between African heritage and sci-fi technology. The costume design is well-crafted and researched.
However, the only gripe I have with the film is its action sequences, especially the fight scenes. The problem is summarized in the very first action sequence where T’Challa fends off a group of human traffickers. It was hard to follow. Too many close up shots. A lot of Hollywood films have this problem, and it just gets getting worse.
Black Panther is a film that makes you patriotic to a fictional country. It makes you respect a fictional ruler. And despite its huge issue regarding the cinematography of its action sequences, its story and world-building greatly overweighs it. This film is truly…