“Black Panther” is here to stay!

February 20, 2018

Rated 5 stars

 

“Black Panther” picks up where “Captain America: Civil War” left off. At the end of Civil War, Tony and Captain America had engaged in an all-out brawl that ended with the deciding to be frenemies. T’Challa found out the truth about who really killed his father – it wasn’t Bucky. Black Panther starts with a week after the death of his father, T’Chaka. Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is crowned king but he must balance being king and the protector of Wakanda, Black Panther.

T’Challa is in a vulnerable place because of the events that transpired during “Civil War. The movie introduces some of the other people of Wakanda who serve with him: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and his mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett).

Shuri is T’Challa’s little genius sister; she’s smarter than Tony Stark. Immediately chemistry oozes from Boseman and Wright as siblings such that one might wonder if they are siblings in real life.

What makes this movie work so well is that the story comes first and one can’t have a story without characters with great moments. One example comes in the middle of the movie. T’Challa has to reconcile what kind of man does he want to be. Wakanda has not been his home for a long time, but his people expect him to come claim his birthright. His facial expressions tell his struggle better than words.

Of course, one can’t have a king without a rival. The film’s main villain, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), is a driving force of evil. He evokes fear – a villain on par or even worse than Loki – but also sympathy.

Killmonger is different from T’Challa. He didn’t grow up in Wakanda but rather in the United States in an area where he’s been viewed as a burden. So, he put himself through a lot to become the man that he is now. Jordan reunites with the film’s director, Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station,” “CREED”) and it’s fair to say that one can see that they have a bit of a Scorsese/DeNiro partnership.

Another standout of this film is the score that was created by Ludwig Goransson, who also reunites with Coogler after doing the score for “Fruitvale Station” and “CREED.” It doesn’t distract one from any scene in the movie whether if it’s T’Challa and company kicking tail or an emotional moment that elevates the character more than who they already are.

“Black Panther” is such a standout film compared to the other films of the Marvel Comics Universe because of the story that’s being told and the characters who are progressing it. It even has a message about not only responsibility and identity, but there’s a shadow that reflects the modern days of politics as well.

 

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