Directed By: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Bozeman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, Angela Basset, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, et.al.
Black Panther, the latest home video release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, follows T’Challa, who was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, as he attempts to settle into his new role as King of Wakanda. Shortly after returning from a failed mission to capture Ulysses Klaue (pronounced claw), an arms dealer introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron who stole a valuable mineral, Vibranium, and set off an explosion that killed several Wakandans, T’Challa is challenged and overthrown by a man named Erik Stephens, who calls himself Killmonger, and is a long-lost cousin T’Challa never knew he had. After his defeat, T’Challa must fight to regain his thrown and stop Killmonger from using Wakanda’s advanced technology to devastatingly attack cities across the world.
Black Panther is a great movie. Since the MCU began their endeavor over 10 years ago, they’ve managed to change comic book movies from story-lite, action-heavy popcorn fare into compelling, character-driven stories about the (usually) human beings behind the super hero personas. The result is a ground-breaking movie like this. While the main villain may be a little one-note (revenge, while a common and easy motive, is a tad bit overused and is no longer as compelling as it once was), Michael B. Jordan gives his all to inject as much pain and humanity into Killmonger as he can, and for the most part, he succeeds. All of the actors clearly have a blast in the movie. While not filled with the cheeky humor of Thor: Ragnarok, they still get to have fun, usually at the expense of Martin Freeman’s CIA agent Everett Ross. From what I can tell, the only main actor in the movie using their native accent is Michael B. Jordan, though my admittedly untrained ears didn’t notice anyone stepping on the ones they use.
The effects are well-done. Marvel/Disney always make sure their graphics are top-notch, and this movie is no exception. The CGI blends well with the scenery, and isn’t overly obvious. They even manage to turn a horse into a rhinoceros without much difficulty.
I definitely recommend seeing this movie. Not only is it a record-setting example of why representation in cinema matters, but it’s also an enjoyable story that’s accessible to everyone. Those who hate comic book movies might not like it, but the general public should. And anyone worried about not know what’s going on should breathe a sigh of relief, since this is the first Black Panther movie, and most of the characters are making their debut.
Black Panther isn’t available to stream anywhere at the moment, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.