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“Black Panther” is a Marvel-ous phenomenon

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Despite the number of Marvel Entertainment films to be released this year, “Black Panther,” which features an almost all-black cast and drips quality encourages discussion because of its cultural and social implications and impact.

The film immediately follows the events of “Captain America: Civil War” with the titular Black Panther, now King of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returning home following the death of his father, T’Chaka (John Kani). Wakanda is extremely technologically advanced thanks to its stock of Vibranium, but its power is kept a secret from the rest of the world.
T’Challa attempts to maintain order in Wakanda with the help of his genius sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), ex-lover and spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and the general of the Dora Milaje, Okoye (Danai Gurira), but the group soon must subdue Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), an arms dealer that has plagued Wakanda for decades. Klaue is aided by the mysterious and deadly Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who sends T’Challa on a journey of self-discovery and development.

Production-wise, the filmmakers have spared no expense in presenting a unique and brilliant take on Afrofuturism through intricate and exquisite costume designs, unique technological advancements with Wakandan technology and a variety of other visual effects.
The writing and directing is exceptional, with the script co-written by Joe Robert Cole and director Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station” and “Creed”). With “Black Panther,” Coogler has cemented himself as a visionary director.

However, the film truly shines through the acting. Boseman is fantastic as the serious, stoic and conflicted hero of the film, showcasing his acting prowess that has been growing since 2014’s “Get on Up.”

Despite Boseman’s strong performance, the real showstoppers are Wright and Jordan. Wright, as the young inventor Shuri, brings some levity to the film as she provides comic relief and emotional depth while also being the film’s version of James Bond’s Quartermaster. Jordan portrays one of the best Marvel and superhero villains. He makes Killmonger sympathetic and almost rational at times, and creates a magnetic and compelling foil for Boseman’s T’Challa.

The film is complemented by a terrific soundtrack provided by Kendrick Lamar, even if it is mostly separate from the film save for a couple songs, and an excellent film score by Ludwig Gӧransson.

In the end, “Black Panther” is a strong entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is also the most socially striking. Its social depth is primarily derived from opposing ideologies of T’Challa and Killmonger and the existence of a country like Wakanda. Yet again, Marvel strikes gold.

Film: “Black Panther”
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Release Date: Feb. 16
Rating: 5 out of 5

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“Black Panther” is a Marvel-ous phenomenon