[MOVIE REVIEW] Black Panther smashes barriers, builds bridges
February 18, 2018
A single film containing a coming of age story, rapid-fire action, diverse casting, and stunning visual effects? Sounds incredible, but impossible to find. Lucky for viewers, Disney-Marvel’s newest blockbuster, Black Panther, meets and exceeds each and every one of these criteria.
Enter Wakanda; an African technological powerhouse masquerading as a third world country in order to protect the source of the world’s rarest metal, vibranium. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the Black Panther himself, still coming to terms with his father’s death, must assume the throne. Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a radical Wakandan outcast, clashes with the protagonist over succession to the throne and how the country’s ample resources should be used. Joined by spunky, tech-genius, teenager, Shuri (Letitia Wright), fiercely loyal General Okoye (Danai Gurira), clueless Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), and bold peacemaker Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), T’Challa must confront Killmonger and grow into his new role as king.
Fans of Marvel films will rejoice at references to previous superhero blockbusters as Avengers: Age of Ultron villain Ulysses Klau (Andy Serikis) makes a reappearance and the characters experience flashbacks to the events of Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Cinematic Universe “inside jokes” aside, viewers new to the superhero scene will have no problems engaging with Black Panther. With its fresh, original setting and plot-line and nearly all-new characters, no previous knowledge is required to enjoy the film.
Disney continues to stun with its effects. Vibrant landscapes and intricate costumes make the film visually appealing. Advanced Wakandan technology thrills viewers. Breakneck CGI fight scenes are well executed and exciting. Even the soundtrack, which features artists such as Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and SZA,is noteworthy. With its extensive list of achievements, it may seem that Black Panther could not get any better. But it most definitely does.
Black Panther brings much needed African American representation to the superhero genre. With a nearly all African-American cast, in-depth depiction of traditional African culture, and black director, Ryan Coogler, Black Panther breaks barriers left and right. The original comic, written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, was incredibly progressive for the era and heroic representation in the comic was source of inspiration for many African Americans. The story’s original effect appears once again as the film hits theaters, with #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe trending on Twitter and theaters selling out before the film’s Feb. 16 release date. After bringing in $192 million in just its first 3 days in theaters, smashing the record for the top-grossing film by a black director, and receiving a 97% on “Rotten Tomatoes,” revenue and popularity is sure to continue to grow.
Black Panther combines incredible visual effects, fast paced action, and essential representation, creating a cohesive film that is sure to become a classic and future source of inspiration.
5 out of 5 stars