Marvel’s Black Panther is the 17th installment of the Marvel Universe since 2008. It stars Lupita N’Yongo, Chadwick Boseman, and Michael B. Jordan. The film was written and directed by Ryan Coogler, and it tells the story of a hidden city in Africa called Wakanda and how Wakanda’s internal power struggle affects the rest of the world.
Marvel’s Black Panther is a celebration of African culture that tackles the same racial issues we have today, driven as much by its characters as it is by the story itself. No better move could’ve been made for director than placing Ryan Coogler at the helm. As it often is in the Marvel Universe, new directors are given big budgets and are tasked with creating grand set pieces. Some directors can’t handle the sheer size of a Marvel film, Coogler is not one of these directors. His writing is personal and his style is intimate, in this way he’s able to make a movie in a huge universe, feel like its own world. The fight scenes are possibly his greatest achievement, both of which take place in about 6 inches of running water, the effect it elicits is incredible. Water splashing after every takedown, opponents yielding at the edge of a waterfall, Coogler takes the geography of Africa and turns it into a wonder of cinematography. Direction aside, the writing is perhaps what Black Panther does best. With a Game of Thrones feel, Black Panther boasts the most well-crafted plot in a Marvel film since the Winter Soldier. Michael B. Jordan’s character returns home to challenge T’Chala (Boseman) for his throne, Killmonger (Jordan) defeats T’Challa and therefore, usurps the throne. When T’ Challa is found alive and his Black Panther power has been restored he returns to face Killmonger one last time for the throne. When he comes back from the dead and shouts “, I never yielded and as you can see, I am not dead,” chills will run up your arm. The fight that ensues is a wild thrill ride of badass women and huge rhinoceroses, eclipsing with Killmonger’s emotional death scene. Killmonger, like most origin story villains, dies in the end, but his impact is lasting and Jordan’s performance will not soon be forgotten,
Lupita N’Yongo, Forrest Whitaker, Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael B. Jordan and even Andy Serkis all turn in great performances, but it’s Letitia Wright that steals the show. With her quick wit and effortless independence (and even a vine reference), her character Shuri doesn’t just compliment an already great film, she helps shape it into one. Letitia will almost definitely use this as a springboard to a wonderful career and hopefully more Marvel movies in the near future. She joins a cast of women so powerful and compelling that perhaps we’re better off seeing more of Lupita N’Yongo as a spy and not Scarlett Johanson.
Hollywood costume designers can pack it up and go home now because you’ll never do it better than Black Panther. What can be said other than “wow,” you have to see these costumes for yourself. When filling in this section of your Oscar Ballot next year feel free to use a Sharpie. Along with the costumes, the production design is marvelous as well. As they effortlessly pairing spaceships and skyscrapers with thatch roofs and mud huts.
Black Panther is a triumph of acting and filmmaking. Shaking up the Marvel universe with a fresh take, and going places where no other movie has gone before. Black Panther is almost too good. As you can see this article is my shortest yet, what more is there to say about a movie that delivers in every way? Go see it for yourself and I promise you won’t be disapointed.