Black Panther takes on Africa and adds positivity while completely absorbing it and putting it into the spotlight. The movie celebrates the wonderful culture of Africa and when people talk about it being ‘the first black superhero”, people often reference the Blade trilogy or the recent Luke Cage series on Netflix, and while the two respectfully did their part, it’s the love and acceptance of African culture that makes T’Challa earn the title. Black Panther is filled with tons of influence and references of African countries that are the cornerstones of Wakanda, the kingdom of T’Challa. The country has shielded itself from the outside world and from colonialism giving us an image of a technology advanced African country. This film was the perfect way for Marvel to show the values and traditions of Africa in a new year, but the only sad part is that they built Africa and Wakanda completely in CGI, They shot the interior shots were shot on sets but apart from those shots everything was computer-generated. Audiences would be taking home an even stronger message if it was actually filmed in parts of Africa.
Black Panther’s story is smaller than normal Marvel movies and surrounds itself around Wakanda and inheritance. T’Challa has to take over the mantle of his father, king T’Chaka. The movie begins with the introduction of the country and the five different tribes living in it. Audiences are shown the history of its origin, the faith and the Black Panther spirit. To start off the movie we see the characters and traditions being introduced. We see familiar faces return like Ulysses Klaue ( played by Andy Serkis) and Everett K. Ross (played by Martin Freeman). Klaue is this movie’s villain, Erik (played by Michael B. Jordan), who was nicknamed ‘Killmonger’ as a soldier for running his enemies to the ground as if some type of game. The next part of the movie we see T’Challa face Killmonger like every other superhero movie battle it in strong climax with excellent cinematography.
Without revealing any spoilers, Erik wants to take over and rule Wakanda and has a pretty good reason to do so. In the past, Marvel has introduced us to villains that don’t have too much good reasoning behind their evil plans and obviously showing the fact that they are “evil”. In this movie, Killmonger is similar to Loki, who can count on the audiences sympathy throughout the film. Killmonger is a one-dimensional character in the comics, but Michael B. Jordan channels a certain amount of brokenness to his role.
Black Panther uses these two characters to form a story about open and closed communities, that conflic political ideologies how it is being both a superhero and a monarch. I personally saw a lot of influence from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther, which I have to credit. Any fan of the comic will love this movie. The only bad thing I can tell about the story is that very little is done with Freeman’s Ross.
The cast of Black Panther is exceptional. Chadwick Boseman remains a very strong Black Panther and the secondary characters that we’re introduced two are brought out lovely. One of my favorites is Danai Gurira (Michonne from The Walking Dead) as Okoye, one of Black Panther’s bodyguards, and Letitia Wright (best known from Black Mirror), who plays her smart younger sister, who do their parts justice. It is also nice to see Forest Whitaker, whose character has a ceremonial role, and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) lose themselves to such a large extent in their characters.
Last thing I want to address is the amazing track, TDE and Kendrick Lamar executive producing the soundtrack was a great touch to the film. Having recently released two singles ‘Pray for Me’ and ‘All the Stars’, the music will give you a bigger reason to stay past the credits for the bonus.
Watch the final trailer below and be sure to check out Black Panther when it hits theaters February 16th.