Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o
Avengers: Infinity War is right around the corner, but the MCU had one final stop to make first…
As someone who has openly admitted that over the past few years I’ve become saturated by Superhero movies, I went into the latest installment of the MCU with tepid expectations. I can report, however, that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie.
Black Panther’s biggest strength comes from the fact that it doesn’t feel like all the other Marvel superhero movies. This would be important enough if it was just a run of the mill entry into the MCU, but because of the political importance behind this movie and its placement in the timeline (Being the final entry before the big mashup of Infinity War) it was critical that Black Panther felt fresh and reinvigorated any fans who might be waning on the franchise.
As previously mentioned, Black Panther holds a strong political message about race and equality. The whole film is built around this concept and I am far from qualified enough to talk about the connotations and emotion behind it all in detail. All you should know is that the message is organic for the story Marvel are trying to tell, but most of all it is impactful and well delivered.
The cast of Black Panther is phenomenal. Whilst I thought Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa was a weak character for the most part, his portrayal is still well delivered and the supporting cast is probably the strongest of any Marvel movie. With Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Danai Gurira’s Okoye being particular standouts. The highlight of the movie however came in the form of Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger. Killmonger is without doubt the best Marvel villain since Loki, and I would even go as far to say that he may be better, purely down the level of character development he is given and the realistic motivation behind his goals. Loki of course benefits from being featured as the main villain in multiple movies, but it will be interesting to see where the general audience start to rank the two when compared to each other. One thing is for sure is that Tom Hiddlestone has his work cut out for him if he wants to match the emotional weight that Michael B. Jordan delivers in his role.
The film isn’t perfect though. As previously mentioned, King T’Challa is somewhat of a weak character until the latter stages of the film where he develops his own moral standing. There is also some moments of dodgy CGI, which are a shocking inclusion given the budget and hype behind Marvel movies nowadays. Furthermore, whilst Wakanda is solidly established ahead of its seemingly large role to play in Infinity War, I could have done with perhaps 5 to 10 more minutes developing what the actual city was like, rather than just the one or two remote locations we get to explore. Although this time would have had to have been knocked off from elsewhere as the film already stretches its run-time to the levels of just about being acceptable.
With that being said, Black Panther is certainly one of the strongest Marvel films. A strong cast, good direction, a good story and a well developed villain have all combined to create the kind of impactful film that the Marvel series has needed for a number of years now.
Consider me back on the bandwagon and bring on Infinity War.
Final Score: 8/10 Porgs.