‘Black Panther’ Review: Long Live the King

For the first time, I walked into a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie without knowing exactly what to expect. Most superheroes movies follow a relatively simple but effective formula, but Black Panther comes along in 2018 to change the game and face of what a superhero movie can be.

Black Panther chronicles the events following the cataclysm that was Captain America: Civil War. It was in that film that we met T’Challa, the now-King of Wakanda, a fictional seemingly third world nation in Africa, which we quickly learn is the most technologically advanced country on Earth. Wakanda hides its amazing resources like vibranium from the rest of the world with very few knowing about the true nature of the nation.

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The film has a really interesting, recurring theme. It’s a great portrayal of the internal struggle between tradition and innovation that many actual countries today face. This fight is excellently portrayed in the film’s lead, T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman), and the main antagonist, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, a Wakandan outcast portrayed brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan (who is so underrated).

The struggle also slides into the score. The music is both primal, formal, and futuristic all in a single note. The two completely contrasting styles (tribal and electronic) portray the imbalance between the tradition loving hero and the new, uprising villain. The score itself acts as a living breathing force within the film reminding us that it’s important to look to your past and focus on the future at the same time.

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This film was amazing, but isn’t without flaws. It boils down to being around ten minutes too long and having a couple of jokes being at inappropriate times, a staple of 2017’s Marvel movies. While plenty of critics have said that T’Challa gets outshone by the other members of this stellar cast like Danai Guerrera and Letitia Wright, I just think it helps build the world that is Wakanda through the eyes of several people. We get more than enough of T’Challa and the characters around him only add to the awesome power of the Black Panther.

With last year’s films, Marvel became a little stale for me. It seemed that all they were producing were one note, quipping quasi-comedies with not much to offer other than great action sequences and bad jokes. That formula didn’t work for me, but audiences seemed to be satisfied. I’m so glad Black Panther offers much more. It brings character growth for a star studded cast mixed with an exciting setting and score, and not to mention, some of the best placed action I’ve seen in a while. It’s well worth your time and definitely needs to be seen as many times as possible.

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(I own no photos)