All Hail The Black Panther

A Critical Review By Trent Omar Cooper

February 19, 2018

The Marvel movie universe has struck gold or vibranium once again with their latest release of the film Black Panther.

The Black Panther created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, first appearing in Fantastic Four issue #52 back in 1966, made him the first African super hero in comic books.

This was a big deal because this was the first-time blacks — let alone an African — were represented in comic books in such a positive light, even if from a fictional country. Pretty huge.

Lets talk about the country of Wakanda for a bit. For a publisher back in the early sixties to even elude to the fact that there was a place on this planet that was 100 years more advanced that the rest of the free world — and that country 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, brought to earth millions upon 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 vast technological developments. Unlike other countries in Africa, Wakanda has never been a victim of colonialism. This 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 all of the rituals and eats the heart shape herbs, he or she will be bestowed the mantle of the 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 after the events from Captain America: Civil War. The Black Panther is played once again 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 touches, it sets this 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 as Nakia, the beautiful spy and love interest of the Black Panther; Danai Gurira is the fierce General/protector of the throne of Wakanda; Letitia Wright is Shuri, T’Challas 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. Also reprising his joyfully played role as Klaw, is Andy Serkis. Rounding out the cast is Forrest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, and last but not the least is Michael B. Jordan as the evil Erik Killmonger.

The Black Panther Cast (Marvel Studios)

The Black Panther, is a visual delight from start to finish. You are quickly immersed into a complex society and world rich in culture. I only wish we could’ve seen more but that would have taken away from the action and that’s what you come to these movies for. The Black Panther didn’t disappoint. From beginning to end, the action was fast-paced.

Whenever T’Challa suited up you better be in your seat because the action 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 will change the game as far as film special effects are concerned.
The narrative is comparable to a Shakespearean play and you can see this played out in this story.

It is your basic story line where the hero must pay for the sins of his father.

It’s a pretty straight forward plot — not too deep and that’s a good thing. Marvel has a formula to its cinematic movie universe and for now, it works:

Act 1: Set up the plot by giving us something the hero and audience don’t know but will be revisited in the reveal close to the last act.

Act 2: Establishes the Hero.

This is the time to let the audience see what a bad ass our hero is.

In this case, hero and heroines, because even though this movie is called the Black Panther he doesn’t do everything alone. His sister Shuri is a tech guru and she outfits her brother with technology to aid 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 wasn’t able to protect and save him.

Act 2 (continued): Establishes the Villain.


Act 2 also introduces the main villain and his motivations. Michael B Jordan, Erik Killmonger, 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 up everything.

Act 3: There has to be drama that every hero must journey through.

The revealing of the villain’s motives, the overcoming of impossible odds head into Act 4.

Act 4: 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. Not because of its high flying special effects. The beauty of this film is in its depiction of a fictional world here on earth — an untouched idyllic kingdom in Africa as the western world to the moviegoer.

It shows us a society of beautiful and powerful blackness in all of its glory.

The powerful portrayal of women in this movie is a sight to cherish. 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 few years 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 wouldn’t be surprised if Disney starts immediately building a Wakanda Park at one of its theme parks in the near future. Just as Tony Starks the Iron Man was the first face of Marvel’s cinematic universe, T’Challa, Black Panther could easily be its 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 remember, as with all Marvel movies, stay after the closing credits.

Photo Cred:

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