Black Panther (2018)
PG-13 | 2h 14min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 16 February 2018 (USA)
Synopsis: T’Challa, 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.
Review: There is a lot to like about the new BLACK PANTHER movie. Those who are burnt out on the over abundance of Marvel/Superhero flicks should be the most excited as this one could easily live outside that universe and stand alone as just a powerful, action film. The story line is intriguing with characters who are fresh and exciting. The world of Wakanda is rich with culture and heritage which adds to the depth of the movie. I will be the first to admit I am well over Tony Stark and Captain America strutting around spewing the same jokes (which sounded witty the first few films) time and time again. The fact that we know little about T’Challa/The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and his world elevates the fun and adventure.
What little we do know came from Captain America: Civil War in which we see the death of the King of Wakanda and are first introduced to The Black Panther. In this installment T’Challa has returned to Wakanda to take up the role as king. There we get to meet his family and friends and marvel at the beauty and culture of his home. We get plenty of backstory meet a cast of characters quickly. But the story never feels thin or rushed. You get what you need when you need it. Often it is in what we don’t hear, but rather watching the story play out in the characters, that gives it that extra something.
His sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) might actually rival old Starky when it comes to technology and the creation of cool gadgets. She is like a young hip version of Q from the Bond franchise. It is through her that we learn about the hidden secrets of Wakanda and the power it contains. Okoye (Danai Gurira) is the one that shows us the loyalty and strength of the people. As head of the King’s guard Okoye is fierce but dedicated. She is committed to her duties and doesn’t stray. Many are familiar with Danai as the zombie killing Michonne on The Walking Dead. If you think she is steely-eyed on that show wait until you see her here. She redefines bad-ass beauty.
The best of Black Panther were truly the non-marvel moments. Sure it was fantastic watching him suit up and fight the villain, but the story of his lineage and seeing the tribe live and breath were truly the most wonderful movie moments. Many will compare it – not as fault or incorrectly – to films like The Lion King. The deep rooted African heritage is beautifully depicted by writer and director Ryan Coogler. The rituals that T’Challa and his people partake in are a strong fabric of the narrative. Those scenes are the ones that set it apart and stay with you after the credits roll.
As always I try and deliver reviews that give very little if anything away. I believe everyone should be able to witness a movie for the first time. So I will simply say that BLACK PANTHER has loads of action, intense fight sequences, organic humor and a beautiful style about it. The Marvel Universe is not completely forsaken and what you would expect to see, you will. It was the unexpected though that made this one of my top three super hero films so far. I give it 4.5 out of 5 spear thrusts. It is a tad over 2 hours but never really feels long. Plus be sure and stick around for two little teasers after the trailer.