A powerful, star-studded cast and a classic tale of a rising king
The highly anticipated Marvel film “Black Panther” was released in theatres Feb. 16. Does it live up to the robust amount of hype surrounding it?
The answer is yes, it definitely does.
Black Panther is filled with an almost entirely African American cast and star-studded at that. The people behind the camera also spent several months in Africa studying African culture in order to create an accurate aesthetic for the movie. This and the central story creates a strong empowerment for the black community, that has very rarely been seen in Hollywood before, especially huge blockbuster movies such as this one.
The movie is directed by 31-year-old Ryan Coogler, who at his young age has already made a name for himself in Hollywood. Coogler is known for directing “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station” which are both excellent movies. With “Black Panther,” Coogler has now added a third amazing movie to his filmography.
“Black Panther” is based on the Marvel comic books of the same name. The story revolves around T’Challa who is also Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Jackie Robinson in the film “42.”
The film takes place in the isolated and technically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Centuries ago a meteorite containing a very powerful metal, called vibranium, landed in this nation. Wakanda was able to build off this metal inventing very powerful weapons and overall advancing their community making Wakanda futuristic compared to all other nations.
After the death of the king, who was also T’Challa’s father, T’Challa becomes the new king and protector of Wakanda. Meanwhile, Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings”), and Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”), steal a Wakandian artifact from a museum. This artifact can harness the same power Wakanda has secretly been living off of for years.
Erik Killmonger plans on using this artifact to find Wakanda and steal the throne. T’Chaka must protect his throne with the help of his people who have maintained loyalty to him.
My favorite aspect of “Black Panther” is that it does not feel like the normal superhero movie. The style and overall story differs from the tired Marvel formula we have been getting for years. This story feels more like a classic king story, consisting of the classic story of a rise and demise of a king.
The performances and characters, in general, are amazing. Chadwick Boseman does a great job of portraying a reserved man who is trying to discover what kind of king he wants to be.
However; the supporting actor’s performances are so strong it nearly takes away from Boseman’s performance. Michael B. Jordans portrayal of Killmonger makes for the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Killmonger is such a good character because it makes sense why he is doing what he is doing.
My favorite characters consist of Black Panther’s three allies; Nakia (the spy), Okoye (the warrior), and Shuri (the technician). These three women bring the most personality and humor in the movie. A large majority of the action scenes in “Black Panther” involved these three which was very refreshing to see.
Not only did the actors work very hard on this film, but the people behind the scenes, specifically the screenwriters, visual designers, and the composers, did an outstanding job. It made it feel as if Wakanda is an actual place that I visited.
Most notably the soundtrack to the film, which was produced by Kendrick Lamar, brings the movie to life giving the film its own unique style. Kendrick melded music from African tribes with a modern hip-hop to create the perfect tone for the movie.
The script for the film is very character driven as each character goes through some sort of revelation. “Black Panther” seemed to focus more on story than action which I was particularly fond of, while others may not be. The movie is filled with social commentary, but it actually is very relative to the story and doesn’t feel preachy by any means.
Overall, “Black Panther” breathes life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe right when it was beginning to feel stale. The movie is visual eye candy with its own unique aesthetic. However; at the same time, the story is very strong with multiple layers.