Black Panther, Marvel’s latest addition to its cinematic universe releases officially this week on Thursday, February 15th. With it’s latest phase, Marvel has been not only visiting the tried and true favorites (IE: Thor) but has also been introducing heroes popular within the comic world. Most of these characters have not yet been introduced to the cinematic universe. If they have, it’s been through brief appearances in other movies. Case in point, Black Panther, who up until now only appeared in Captain America: Civil War. Having recently done a recipe for the release of Black Panther on Geeks Who Eat, I was able to attend an advanced screening of the film.
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 are 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.”
3D or Not 3D
Unsurprisingly, Black Panther is visually stunning. Our screening of the film was shown in 3D. I wasn’t a fan of the 3D experience due to the dizziness during the action sequences. That being said, it wasn’t all bad and the landscape of Wakanda was definitely enhanced by the effect.
Much hype has surrounded the release of Black Panther. Fortunately, it is well deserved! From the cast to the cinematography, this film is dang near perfect. Chadwick Bozeman has really settled into the role of T’Challa and delivers a really terrific performance. While not his first foray into the Marvel Universe, Michael B. Jordan gives one of the best performances of the whole movie. His Killmonger is not just a villain for villain’s sake but also carries a lot of depth. This makes you dislike him yet sympathize all at the same time. I will get more in depth below, but the ladies of the film are a huge highlight almost stealing the show from the two aforementioned actors.
Without gettting into spoilers, the story of the film is very well done. Despite this being the first Black Panther film, it does not feel like an origin story in the way the early MCU films did. With the exception of Thor: Ragnarok (which I have yet to see), the latest Marvel films have felt very phoned in to me (I know that my opinion is not the popular one). Black Panther has far more depth to it’s story. I found myself actually getting lost (in a good way) in the movie. The attention to detail found in Black Panther is amazing. Inspiration from African culture can be seen in areas such costuming, the design of Wakanda, and the film’s score. In fact, the costume design was created by combining traditional regional African garb with futuristic style.
The Women of Wakanda
The emphasis on women in super hero movies is definitely increasing. With the smashing success of Wonder Woman, it feels like the storytellers are becoming less afraid of giving women more prominent roles in these films. Sure, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch have been given screen time but it always feels lacking and with little connection to the viewer. I have never walked out of any Marvel films up to this point saying a female character was a favorite. Black Panther changes all of that! There is not one but rather four strong female characters:
- Okoye– The general of the Dora Milaje and the head of Wakanda’s armed forces. She is portrayed by Danai Gurira.
- Nakia– Member of the War Dogs and Wakandan Spy. She is portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o.
- Shuri– T’Challa’s younger sister and responsible for creating most of Wakanda’s modern technology. She is portrayed by Letitia Wright.
- Ramonda– Queen Mother of Wakanda. She is portrayed by Angela Bassett.
All of the female leads portray strong (not just tough) yet different women. Each actress does a phenomenal job of conveying their character and the character’s motivations. I have to say that Shuri was definitely my favorite as she is young, fiesty, and intelligent.
Overall, I think Black Panther is a much needed breath of fresh air for the MCU. Movies featuring Captain America, Thor, and the crew are still enjoyable but it is time for a new group of super heroes. With Black Panther leading the way, I have high hopes for the upcoming Marvel releases like Captain Marvel and Avengers: Infinity War.