Black Panther review
In this day and age, the studios are under a lot more pressure to represent different nationalities and backgrounds. Those that are asking for it are right; it's important for black children to have black role models as it is for LBGT individuals to have role models that are just like them. Many artists and directors want to adapt and give people something different, but they also understand that studios are still trying to make a profit. That's not to say an African-American lead can't draw an audience, but movie making is expensive, so they have to make sure that whatever they put on the screen can draw in all people of interest.
In the case of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they've done well so far with bringing in black stars. We've got Samuel L. Jackson for Nick Fury, Anthony Mackie as Falcon from the Captain America films, and Don Cheadle as Rhodes from the Iron Man movies. One of the surprise popular characters to debut was Chadwick Boseman from Captain America: Civil War as the Black Panther. The character has not only led his own series in comics that’s still running, but is the only African-based hero I'm aware of. Let's see how he does on his own in Black Panther.
In the hidden country of Wakanda, it has created groundbreaking technology, thanks to it's source of a rare substance called vibranium that landed via comet thousands of years ago. Though much of it could have benefitted mankind, the leaders and previous kings have made the decision to isolate themselves from the world.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa (Played by Chadwick Boseman) is crowned king and reigning heir to the mantle of the Black Panther. It's revealed that along with the suit that's made from it, he gets his internal powers from vibranium.
When he hears that a Wakanda artifact is being sold underground, he travels to Hong Kong along with his sister Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), his ex-lover and spy Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong'o), and proud warrior Okoye (played by Danai Gurira). Though they capture Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), he's broken out, thanks to his boss Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Played by Michael B. Jordan). By the time T'Challa and his group return to Wakanda, Erik reveals his identity as a tribal son and challenges him for the throne. T'Challa loses, is thrown down a waterfall, and Erik gets ready to ship out much of the Wakanda technology to black markets. Will T'Challa manage to stop him?
Many people have been touting Black Panther as a grand and revolutionary super hero story that different. While I don't know if I can call this different and revolutionary, Black Panther is a very entertaining movie regardless. It's clear that director Ryan Coogler (Creed) not only wanted to show a different hero, but a different world together. The two best elements to the movie are the side characters and the setting.
When it comes to who the movie is following, it tries to give us a lot of characters…and it does work. I liked Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurria, Andy Serkis, and especially Letitia Wright. The winner here is Michael B. Jordan who plays one of the better Marvel villains. While he is physically powerful and intimidating, he also makes a compelling case for the mistakes that Wakanda has made by it's isolationist polices. While he isn't bad by any means, the least interesting character was the Black Panther himself. He does carry a royal energy of leadership; he doesn't seem to have that same struggle for mistakes of his countries history that I got from Michael B. Jordan. I think the script could have done better with that, and show him how he earns his mantle back. The movie does try to show out hero at his worst before he tries to fix everything, the story still succumbs to typical superhero tropes.
Now having said that, what they do with Wakanda is really cool. This design reminded me of The Guardians of the Galaxy movies, in which things are very colorful and lively. It seems the overall goal was to create an African utopia and everything from the architecture to the costumes are great. I wish there was a video game to Black Panther, just so that I can get a better glimpse into this country and it's culture.
I'll give this four Black Panther helmets out of five. In a large sea of superhero movies, and even within Marvel superhero stories, Black Panther manages to remain it's own unique thing. I had fun watching it and families will probably be pleased with it. Give it a watch and see it's powerful roar.