Marvel has struck gold — or vibranium once again with its latest release from their movie universe: the debut of Black Panther. The Black Panther, created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, first appeared in the Fantastic Four issue #52 back in 1961 making him the first African super hero in comic books. This was the first-time Blacks — let alone Africans were represented in comic books in such a positive light even if the African was from a fictional country.
Let’s talk about the country of Wakanda for a bit. In the 60’s, for a publisher to even elude to the fact that there was a country on this planet that was 100 years more advanced than the rest of the free world that was ran entirely by Blacks in Africa was really progressive on Marvel Comics’ part. Wakanda, located somewhere in the great continent of Africa sitting on top a vast
deposit of Vibranium, introduced it to earth millions of years ago. It is one of the strongest and most valuable metals on the earth, only located in Wakanda. Wakanda is a closed off kingdom and uses Vibranium for the advancement of its citizens through technological innovations. Unlike other countries in Africa, Wakanda has never been victim to colonialism. The
Kingdom has been a complete mystery to the rest of the world for many years. Wakanda is lead by its King, the Black Panther; he or she is its spiritual and political leader. Once the heir completes the all of the rituals and eats the Heart shape herbs, he or she will be bestowed the mantle of Black Panther. The movie covers this part of the Panther lore in a quick and clear way for those new to the character.
The story in the movie is set in the Civil War post-Captain America. The Black
Panther is played by the brilliant Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa. Boseman does an excellent job of bringing the Black Panther to life just like he had done in Civil War. The Kingdom of Wakanda is just as beautiful as one would imagine. Marvel studios put a lot of effort into showing how advanced this kingdom is compared to the rest of the world. From the look of
Wakanda to its rituals and all of the special touches, it sets this scenery apart from other Marvel cinematic endeavors. One is truly immersed into a world unlike anything seen on earth.
The supporting cast of characters Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia, the beautiful spy and love interest of the Black Panther; Danai Gurira is the fierce General Protector Wakandan thrown; Letitia Wright is Shuri, T’Challa’s highly intelligent young sister and chief scientist; Angela Bassett is Ramonda, T’Challas mother; Martin Freeman reprises his role from Captain
America Civil War as CIA agent Everett K. Ross as well as Klaw played joyfully by Andy Serkis. Rounding out the cast is Forrest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, and last but not least Michael B. Jordan as the evil Erik Killmonger.
The Black Panther is a visual delight from start to finish you are quickly immersed into a world rich in culture with a complex society. I wish we could’ve seen more but that would have taken away from the action — the reason we watch these movies. The Black Panther did not disappoint from start to finish; the action was fast-paced. Whenever T’Challa suited up you better be in your seat because the scenes came hard and fast.
I was amazed at the level of technology that was at The Black Panther’s disposal. He made the tech used by Iron Man look primitive. The technology used in this movie was unprecedented and will lead the industry in cinema special effects.
The story itself will be compared to a Shakespearean play. It is the straightforward story where the hero must pay for the sins of the father. Marvel has a formula to its cinematic movie universe and for now it works. Act 1 sets up the plot by introducing us to the hero undetected. Act 2 establishes the hero. This is the time to let the audience see what a badass our hero actually is — well in this case, hero and heroines — because even though this movie is called the Black Panther, T’Challa does not do everything alone. His sister Shuri is a tech guru and she accessorizes her brother with technology to aide him in his effort to defend Wakanda. We’re also shown that T’challa
is still reeling from his father’s death and how he was not able to protect or save him. Alternatively, Act 2 establishes the main villain and his motivations: Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger. He is a capable villain for this first type of movie. Regardless of what anyone may think, Erik Killmonger is an
established enemy of the Black Panther and you can tell Jordan had fun playing the bad guy. Andy Serkis as the Klaw was awesome with his sonic arm cannon blowing everything up. In Act 3, there has to be drama that every hero must journey through. We discover the truth about the villain;s
motivations, the overcoming of impossible odds and head into Act 4: the epic fight scene.
All I got to say is Rhinos…Rhinos. Marvel does this in every one of their movies and this one is by far the best.
The imagery in the Black Panther is truly a sight to behold. Not just because of its super heroics or its high flying special effects. The beauty of this film is in its depiction of a fictional world here on earth giving the moviegoer an idyllic kingdom in Africa that has been untouched bey the western world. It shows us a society of beautiful and powerful Blackness in all of its glory. The powerful portrayal of women in this movie is moving. These women don’t need to be rescued — they do the rescuing. All shades of black are used to tell this epic story.
Every once in a while Hollywood gives us the diversity that we yearn for and they finally got it right. One would have no problem taking the whole family to see the movie. Remember this is a Marvel/Disney movie and I would not be surprised if Disney starts immediately building a Wakanda park at one of its theme parks in the near future. Just as Tony Starks Iron Man was the first face of Marvels cinematic universe, T’Challa, Black Panther could easily be its new face in the future.
Marvel has done it again.
I often say that comic book movies aren’t made for the fans and readers of comic books. These movies are made for everyone else. But I can truly say
that the Black Panther was made for everyone. And as with all Marvel movies, make sure stay for all of the closing credit parts!
Written By Trent Omar Cooper