Black Panther review
For a long time, comics were dominated by characters that had two defining traits. They were white and from some big American city. Then along came King T’challa, the Black Panther. Everything changed; he was a black hero from a hidden city in Africa. He not only fought crime, but he governed Wakanda and only used violence as a last resort. A character with an abundant amount of African culture surrounding him shows that heros aren’t defined by the pigmentation of their skin. Marvel Studios,now ten years old, have changed the game with the release of Black Panther.
T’challa’s father has just passed, and now he must take up the throne as the new king. But the title is not the only thing he inherits. Ruling the hidden, futuristic city of Wakanda comes with many difficulties, including defending it from outsiders who want to take advantage of Wakanda’s superior technology. The Black Panther is played by Chadwick Boseman who does a spectacular job of capturing a struggling, but powerful monarch. The most stunning performance is Michael B. Jordan’s as Erik Killmonger. He displays strength and, although he’s a little twisted, is a very sympathetic character. Joining these two are Letitia Wright as the scientist Shuri, Lupita Nyong’o as the spy Nakia, Danai Gurira as the warrior Okoye, Forest Whitaker as the wise shaman Zuri, and Andy Serkis as the menacing Ulysses Klaue.
Hopefully Marvel gets more villains like the ones in this movie. Klaue is a ruthless dealer of vibranium, a valuable metal only found in Wakanda. Klaue is maniacal and eccentric — a chaos-loving nut job and one of the few outsiders who knows of Wakanda.
From the trailer, you may think that Michael B. Jordan’s character is just another clone villain, like how Iron Man fights other men in armour, or how Captain America fights the Nazi version of himself. And yes, T’Challa and Killmonger are similar, but not because the movie is lazy. They are two men who want what’s best for everyone, but with different ideas about how to achieve that goal. This leads to a clash that separates not only the hero and villain, but the entire kingdom.
The message of the film is definitely the most ambitious one the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has attempted to deliver. Revolving around discrimination and isolation, Black Panther overcomes these old views and decides that acceptance and compassion lead to a better tomorrow for everyone.
Marvel films have a tendency to be alike, with a similar visuals and music. Black Panther does add some more style to the MCU with vibrant cinematography, but it truly shines with its music. The soundtrack was curated by Kendrick Lamar with collaborations from The Weekend and many other artists of colour. The powerful sounds give greater weight to an already heavy movie. The film and score create something exceptional — it’s a movie bursting with emotion.
This cast of characters is enjoyable to watch on screen and it will be exciting to see them integrate with the rest of the MCU in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. It seems that Wakanda will play a pivotal role.
Go watch Black Panther — it is one of the best, if not the best, movie released by Marvel.