Black Panther is exactly the movie that audiences have been waiting for all this time.
Over the last ten years, Marvel Studios has churned out superhero movies that can rank as some of the most entertaining blockbusters that have graced the big screen. But for the first time, Marvel is stepping out of its comfort zone in a way they’ve never done. For the first time, the MCU will give audiences their first black superhero movie. Black Panther is filled with diversity, ranging from the director, the cast, and the crew which is to Marvel’s benefit here. Black Panther is one of the most exciting, thought-provoking, action-filled films of 2018 and the first heavy hitter of the year.
Black Panther picks up about a week after the events of Civil War after T’Challa (Boseman) went through the grief and anger of losing his father, T’Chaka, at the hands of Helmut Zemo. T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne as its rightful heir. Greeted by his mother Ramonda (Bassett) and Shuri (Wright), the three begin to prepare for the ritual that comes with crowning a new king. Things don’t quite go as planned as M’Baku (Duke) of the rival Jabari Tribe challenges T’Challa in ritual combat. T’Challa comes out victorious, taking his place as the rightful king of Wakanda.
Intel comes into the hands of T’Challa that Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) has resurfaced with a stolen Wakanda artifact in South Korea, which he plans to sell for a hefty price. T’Challa, with the help of Okoye (Gurira) and Nakia (Nyong’o), sets a plan in motion to capture Klaue, dead or alive. They arrive at an underground casino only to realize things won’t be as simple as they had hoped. The buyer for Klaue’s artifact is none other than CIA agent Everett Ross (Freeman), which means this job has a lot more eyes on it than initially expected.
Going into Black Panther, I had an idea of what to expect: some spectacular performances, competent directing from Coogler, and another solid movie to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What was given was much more than any fan could have ever asked for. Black Panther jumps right into the upper echelon of not just Marvel films, but superhero films in general. It begins and ends with the director, Ryan Coogler. Coogler is able to create a world that’s separate from the rest of the MCU, with no cameos from comfortable fan favorites Iron Man or Captain America. The only characters who make an appearance from previous films are Everett Ross and Ulysses Klaue, but this is strictly a Black Panther movie.
Black Panther succeeds on many levels, proving that a Marvel film can be more than just fun and entertaining while existing in its own world. Coogler and Cole bring us Marvel’s most ambitious film to date, focusing on racial tensions, politics, and class struggles – all of which are prevalent in today’s world. For as much as this is Coogler’s film, this is collectively a celebration of black art and culture, from Coogler’s direction to the cast and the soundtrack curated by Kendrick Lamar. Boseman continues to shine as the titular character, Michael B. Jordan steals the film in a way that hasn’t been seen since The Dark Knight with The Joker. Killmonger is anything but a one-dimensional villain, and his motivations, while fueled by anger, are pure.
At the end of the year, Black Panther will stand as one of the most important movies of 2018. It’s no secret the impact that superhero genres can have on society; children have been raised to seeing Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and Thor on their screens for almost the last ten years. What’s the one thing each of these characters have in common? Seeing a superhero like Black Panther, a character with strength and intelligence like Shuri, a group of strong and powerful women in the Dora Milaje is such an important moment for children of color growing up in today’s America. 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Marvel as Black Panther will be one of the most successful films of all time, and with Infinity War and The Ant-Man and The Wasp following up later on in the year, this is Marvel’s world – we’re all just living in it.
And this goes without saying, stay for the credits. Black Panther will be in theaters February 16th, 2018 and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. Black Panther is written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole. Black Panther is directed by Ryan Coogler.