Black Panther Movie Review

Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Florence Kasumba, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown.

Rating: PG-13. Runtime: 2hrs and 15min

Click here to watch the trailer.

Black Panther is the 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let that sink in for a moment. There’s only a couple other franchises that can top that (at least for now).

You would think that by this point, it would be difficult to keep the franchise fresh. However, with Black Panther, Marvel continues to bring new and exciting perspectives to its movie universe.

This is a significant entry in the series. It is the first major superhero movie to feature an African hero, as well as an almost entirely African cast of characters with their native country taking center stage.

Story: 8 out of 10

Overall, the plot is very solid. Other than briefly mentioning a couple events that took place during Captain America: Civil War (mostly for background info), Black Panther is its own, self contained story. This was a great way to show the world these characters can stand on their own without the rest of the Marvel crew to hold them up.

Black Panther is an origin story, introducing not just T’Challa, but also Wakanda: it’s people, culture, and traditions. The majority of the film focuses on T’Challa officially take over the mantle of king as well as what ruling the fictitious African nation looks like.

The pacing did feel a bit choppy and disjointed at times, but not enough to hurt the film. I do think Killmonger’s plan (no spoilers) would have carried more weight if it had been saved for the inevitable sequel; giving T’Challa more time as king first. It’s not a major issue though, and still worked well here. There were also a few things that didn’t completely add up, however, nothing that can’t be chalked up to comic book logic.

As with any Marvel movie, there is plenty of humor to be had which is well timed and feels organic. Black Panther knows exactly when it should be funny and when it’s time to be serious; something I still feel derailed Thor: Ragnarok.

There are 2 after credit scenes, so make sure you stay until the end. The first expands on Black Panther, and the second adds a small tease for the upcoming Infinity War. If you were like me and hoping to see the last Infinity Stone revealed, sorry to burst your bubble; no such thing happens (I still think it will be in Wakanda though).

Acting: 10 out of 10

This is one of the areas where Black Panther shines the brightest. Everyone not only gave fantastic performances, but they also all felt vital to the story. Each character had meaningful moments throughout, and no one felt wasted.

Chadwick Boseman reprises his role as T’Challa/Black Panther. He is very charismatic and the perfect choice for the role, however I did leave the theater wanting more. There was plenty of time devoted to T’Challa as king, however I wanted to see more of him as Black Panther. The moments he is in the suit are great though.

Michael B. Jordan was fantastic as villain, Eric Killmonger. A story always stands out more when you can sympathize with the villain and their point of view. You can definitely understand why Eric feels the way he does even if his reaction is wrong. It’s also satisfying to get more than the standard “evil for the sake of being evil” baddie common in the comic book world. This must also feel like a bit of redemption for Jordan as his last go in the genre was the colossal train wreck of a reboot: Fantastic Four in 2015.

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Letitia Wright absolutely stole the show for me as T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri. She was responsible for a large chunk of the humor and her presence lights up every scene she’s in. She deserves as much screen time in future movies as possible.

Shuri is the brilliant techie behind most of the developments in Wakanda technology similar to Q in the Bond films. The car chase scene, specifically was outstanding and really felt like a cool and unique idea for a franchise that’s 18 movies deep and already featured technology experts before.

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Danai Gurira’s Oyoke is a fierce warrior who takes things more seriously than the other characters; which also makes for some great humor. She’s known for playing the badass Michonne in The Walking Dead, however Oyoke’s skills in battle are far superior. Oyoke is passionately commited to Wakanda; so much so that someone in the theater with us yelled out towards the end, “She’s loyal as fuck!” Comments like that, and the audience’s reaction to them, are why I love going to movies opening weekend.

Others, including Angela Bassett, Forest Whitacker, Luputa Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Daniel Kaluuya all were terrific at rounding out the cast. Andy Serkis also proved that he’s not just the king of voicing CGI characters, but can also hold his own in person.

Sound: 9 out of 10

The music in Black Panther also stands out, offering a refreshing change of pace. Composer Ludwig Göransson, actually spent a month in Africa researching the music of the area to ensure the score sounded authentic. That, combined with a soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar, resulted in a music experience that sounds unlike any Marvel movie that’s come before.

Visuals: 8.5 out of 10

The visuals for the movie mesmerize at times, and at others disappoint. Some scenes, especially shots of the city of Wakanda, look fantastic. The mix of futuristic tech and ancient tribal traditions make for serious eye candy. Other sections, like the big fight at the end, showcase CGI that seems below Marvel’s achievments with other movies.

The last fight between T’Challa and Killmonger reminded me of the early days of Marvel movies. Think of some of the special effects in Sam Rami’s Spider-Man. Specifically, Peter in his wrestling outfit, climbing up a building after the death of his uncle. After 15 years, it is painful to watch.

A couple of the landscape shots are also a little too noticeably green screen created. I blame Marvel for these issues. They should have thrown more money and time at it to make the scenes look as good as their other films.

The costume design for the movie is honestly award worthy. There is so much detail to all of the colors and designs that it’s easy to get distracted from the rest of the movie just taking it all in.

Overall Rating

Obviously, this review represents what I feel were the strengths and weaknesses of Black Panther as a movie. At the same time, this movie represents a historic moment for Hollywood that transcends numeric ratings. Box office records are currently being broken and will undoubtedly open the door for more culturally diverse superhero movies, which should have happened a long time ago.

The movie has a much needed message, not just for African Americans, but for everyone. As T’Challa tells the UN; “that which binds us together is stronger than what separates us.” This is a message we need to hear now more than ever.

Black Panther’s final score is 8.9 vibranium panthers out of 10.

Everything You Need to Know About Black Panther Before Going To See the Movie.

There is no question that Black Panther, releasing this week will be a big deal for several reasons; not only as a stand alone film, but also leading up to Avengers: Infinity War in just a couple of months. I’m all but certain we will see the final Infinity Stone pop up somewhere. This will definitely be one you won’t want to miss.

Who is Black Panther, anyway? Many movie goers will not be overly familiar with this character going in, however he is a heavy hitter in the Marvel universe that shouldn’t be overlooked. While there is a far richer background for the character in the comics, I’ll stick to covering primarily the cinematic counterpart to keep things simple.

First, I highly recommend at least making sure you’ve seen Captain America: Civil War before catching the movie, as this is where Black Panther makes his first appearance in the MCU.

A quick history lesson.

Black Panther, or the character’s real name T’Challa (“Ta-Cha-lah”), was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, during a time when comic book heroes were not ethnically diverse at all. In fact, he is the first African superhero to hit mainstream comics, paving the way for others to follow such as Falcon and Luke Cage…in other words, he’s a big deal.

Contrary to what some think: Black Panther does not have a connection with the Black Panther Party, and actually predates it by 6 months. For a brief time, Marvel even changed the character’s name to “Black Leopard” in an effort to sidestep any controversy, however it didn’t last long as the name didn’t sound quite as badass.

“Black Panther” is actually the ceremonial title passed down to each successive king of the fictional African nation, Wakanda. The title signifies that the king is both the ruler and protector of the people of Wakanda. During the events of Civil War, T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father, is the current king until he is murdered during the UN meeting to ratify the Sokovia Accords. This means that the kingdom, as well as the mantle of Black Panther now passes on to T’Challa.

As king, T’Challa also has an all female royal guard, known as the Dora Milaje (“The Adored Ones”) and are highly skilled with various weapons and fighting styles.

Wakanda is one of the most technologically advanced civilizations on the planet, and sits on one of the largest vibranium deposits anywhere. If that word sounds familiar, it’s because vibranium is the metal Captain America’s shield is made out of, so it’s an extremely valuable commodity. For comparison, much of the tech in Wakanda rivals that of what Tony Stark can cook up, in some ways even surpassing.

Vibranium plays a significant role for the hero, as the Black Panther suit is highly advanced and made out of the material, including retractable claws on both hands, effectively making him bulletproof.

Furthermore, T’Challa also has enhanced abilities including speed, agility, strength, and durability; gained from eating something called the Heart Shaped Herb. In the comics, (and most likely the movie) this herb is believed to grant a mystical connection to the Wakandan Panther God, however in reality, the plant is mutated from a vibranium meteorite that crashed to Earth long ago.

T’Challa/Black Panther is essentially the Marvel equivalent of Bruce Wayne/Batman; except T’Challa is not only richer than Bruce (by far), but also has super powers, unlike The Dark Knight.

A couple other characters you should know

Ulysses Klaue, the smuggler and arms dealer who lost his arm in Avengers: Age of Ultron will return in Black Panther. He’s actually been to Wakanda before, where he enslaved Wakandans to illegally mine vibranium for him.

Everett Ross is the CIA operative from Captain America: Civil War that worked with the government to attempt to control the actions of the Avengers. He will be returning with unknown motivations so far.

Stay tuned for my full review at the end of the week!

Black Panther is releases in theaters tomorrow.

Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

New Black Panther Trailer

Tickets for Black Panther have now gone on sale, and in an effort to help get the word out, Marvel has released a new trailer.

If you have seen previous trailers, nothing more story wise is given away here. However, there a couple new action scenes that look fantastic, as well as a bit more time given to Michael B. Jordan’s character, Eric Killmonger.

Black Panther releases February 15th and will be the final Marvel movie before Avengers: Infinity War in May.

New Movie Posters for Marvel’s Black Panther

Marvel released some awesome character posters today for the upcoming Black Panther! Although T’Challa was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, this will be a similar release to Guardian’s of the Galaxy in that most movie goers won’t know much about the characters beforehand. I know I am not very familiar. Black Panther was created in 1966 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and has the distinction of being the first black superhero in mainstream American comics.

These posters look fantastic and I’m excited to be fully introduced when the movie releases on Feb 16, 2018.

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/ Black Panther.

Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia. Judging from the post, she will be T’Challa’s love interest

Danai Gurira as Okoye. She is well known as Michonne on Walking Dead.

Winston Duke as M’Baku.

Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi

Angela Bassett as Ramonda, mother of T’Challa

Leticia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa’s sister (The glove is pretty badass).

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue. He was last seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Forest Whitaker as Zuri

Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, last seen in Captain America: Civil War.