With centuries of traditions, questionable diplomacy and a remarkable inheritance of power (political and superhuman) on his shoulders, prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) begins a journey to self-discovery as he takes his father’s seat on the throne of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Prepared to assume the responsibility to serve and protect his people, the new leader, who, like his ancestors, possesses remarkable abilities owing to an alien metal called vibranium, is about to face dangers that pose a threat to more than just his own nation. As multiple enemies stand in his way, the new king will be forced to question his role in helping not only his kingdom, but also the rest of the world.
If we were to be perfectly honest, since its announcement, Marvel’s new addition to the Avengers franchise, Black Panther, has been setting pretty high expectations as to how the most mysterious (for mainstream audiences, that is) superhero of the popular comic-book universe would be introduced – for reasons too obvious to even mention.
Director Ryan Coogler, for whom this is only his 3rd feature film (which he also co-wrote) hence had the important task to establish the new character and his world with due flair and respect. And now that it’s out in the open for all to scrutinize, Black Panther is ultimately revealing itself as an intensely compelling first-rate story.
An Excellent Marvel Production that Stands on its Own
There’s so much more to Black Panther than just being another Marvel movie. “A giddily enjoyable, convention-bucking 134-minute epic” and “a stunning visual and cultural achievement,” the film “doesn’t trade on looks alone,” taking superhero cinema “where it’s never gone before.”
With “a radically different kind of comic-book movie” that “loyally embraces its own heritage,” Ryan Coogler “gives the Marvel template a bold auteurist twist with an African extravaganza that packs a muscular intensity and challenges as much as it exhilarates.”
“Simply put, it not only holds its own, but improves on the formula in several key respects, from a politically engaged villain to an emotionally grounded final showdown.”
A Powerful Cast
Performance-wise, Black Panther features “some of the best young actors around” to support the“well-matched” “spellbinding” Michael B. Jordan (whose character “emerges as the most satisfying comic-book adversary since Heath Ledger’s Joker”) and Chadwick Boseman, who by taking command of his role, “makes the part his own.”
As for the non-negligible rest of the cast: True “scene-stealer,” Letitia Wright, who portrays T’Challa’s genius little sister, “gets to play with most of the best lines as well as all the cool kit.” “Suitably thuggish,” Andy Serkis is “great fun as Ulysses Klaue, a piratical South African with a grin that looks as though he chews lightbulbs for breakfast.” And Lupita Nyong’o, “a beyond-talented performer,” is “more than convincing as the Black Panther’s ex-girlfriend.”
Best quotes from the reviews:
“Black Panther celebrates its hero’s heritage while delivering one of Marvel’s most all-around appealing standalone installments to date.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“Even if it had nothing else going for it, Black Panther would still be the best-looking Marvel movie yet.” – Wendy Ide, The Guardian
“One of Black Panther’s greatest triumphs is to make you forget the barrier-breaking significance of its mere existence.” – Jimi Famurewa, Empire
“A one-of-a-kind experience: undeniably bold, black and beautiful.” – David Betancourt, The Washington Post