Welcome to my 1st movie review of 2018. Today we are reviewing one of the most anticipated movies of the entire year, Black Panther. Black Panther is the new superhero movie and the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letitia Wright and Andy Serkis. Let’s get into it people because the hype is real. At the time I am writing this review, Black Panther is the highest rated MCU movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes as stands at 97%. Does it live up to the hype? Hell yea it does! Black Panther is not just a fun superhero movie, but it’s also a very smart emotional film as well. There a lot of positives in the movie so let’s start with the performances.
Obviously, the most important part of a superhero movie or really any movie in general is that the title character has to work. I can safely T’Challa/Black Panther is the best part of the movie and Chadwick Boseman is great once again. Civil War was a great introduction for the character, but this movie was truly Black Panther’s coming out party as he becomes king of Wakanda. Another huge strength of the movie are all of the supporting characters in the film. Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia who is a Wakandan spy and T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend. The two of them have fun back and forth and I liked her a lot. But the two standouts were Danai Gurira as Okoye and Letitia Wright as Shuri. Gurira is the leader of the Wakandan army and she has some of the best action scenes in the movie. Wright plays Shuri who is T’Challa’s younger sister and tech genius. She’s basically Wakanda’s version of Peter Parker and she has some of the funniest moments of the film.
I also have to say that Michael B. Jordan was excellent as the villain Killmonger. One of the big criticisms of the MCU is that they lack compelling villains but that is not the case here. Killmonger has a legit gripe against T’Challa and Wakanda in general and you get it. I don’t think he’s on the level of Loki but he’s in my top 5 for Marvel villains. Moving from the performances, I have to talk about Wakanda itself. It was cool witnessing what Wakanda looked like. People have described it as African culture meeting the 22nd Century and I couldn’t agree more. It’s going to be fascinating how Wakanda fits into the MCU going forward. Finally, the action and the humor is up to the level of previous MCU movies. I was surprised how much humor was in the movie but it worked throughout the film.
In conclusion, Black Panther is a fantastic film. There were minor issues that I had with the film but none that could overshadow the positives. It’s also worth mentioning that there are two post-credit scenes so stay till the very end. Like Wonder Woman, Black Panther is film that is going to be a lot more important to other people. This film proves that you can make a Hollywood blockbuster with a black director and a black cast. We’re not where we should be as a society when it comes to race but as this movie proves; we’re getting closer.
-Steven Santoro (SVS_1993)