Title – Black Panther (2018)
Director – Ryan Coogler (Creed)
Cast – Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett
Plot – T’Challa/Black Panther (Boseman) takes the mantle of king of Wakanda and finds himself in a fight to keep hold of his countries traditions, while fighting off the threat of the bloodthirsty Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Jordan).
“It’s hard for a good man to be a king”
Review by Eddie on 16/02/2018
As is the case with the law of averages, the what some would call the law of the inevitable, we just keep waiting for the day in which Marvel makes the wrong move but that day continues to feel like a far off, near impossibility, as the superhero empire (with help from the Mouse House) continue to unleash quality and more risky products like it’s no big deal at all.
Continuing on the trend with what could well be their biggest risk from outside the normal yet, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther may not mess with the well-worn superhero narrative formula but thanks to Coogler’s pitch-perfect direction, a brilliant cast that all seem committed and a passionate representation of African culture embedded into an otherwise generic set-up, this Marvel event is going to become a quick favourite of many right around the world.
First appearing in this current format in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther see’s Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther become king of secretive African nation Wakanda and fighting the good fight to keep his country’s order in place while he tries to stop Andy Serkis’s arms dealer Ulysses Klaue from trading into the precious commodity of vibranium and stop Michael B. Jordan’s nefarious Killmonger from gaining anymore traction in his quest to make Wakanda his own.
There’s really nothing overly special about this story, one that plays out as you would expect it to, but Coogler who showed such talent with his debut Fruitvale Station and his bigger budgeted follow-up Creed instils his film with a true sense of heart and purpose and full-credit to him and Marvel for allowing Black Panther’s roots in the African culture to take full effect here.
Thanks to Coogler’s guidance, the country of Wakanda and the beautifully realised settings and production design of Black Panther make it Marvel’s most visually captivating film yet (sorry Ragnarok) and combined with a selection of Kendrick Lamar’s tailored songs, this is Marvel at its most technically and aesthetically proficient.
All this technical prowess and impressive direction would be for naught if Coogler and his ensemble failed to meet but as his proved with his previous films, Coogler once again shows himself a filmmaker well in-tuned to his actors.
Led by the impressive Boseman, Black Panther’s much-publicised predominately African-American cast all work together to create Marvel’s best team-up outside of the Avengers and Guardians and the Galaxy, with a highlight coming in the form of Michael B. Jordan’s key-bad Killmonger.
Killmonger (real name Erik Stevens) is Marvel’s most impressive villain outside of Loki, with Jordan doing a fantastic job at bringing this tormented and in some ways justified character to life and whenever his on screen, Black Panther elevates itself to greater heights.
Killmonger’s anger and resentment to what has happened to him and his people is more powerful than your average superhero alien looking to take over Earth for no real-reason and with this, Coogler’s film has some powerful things to say about the world in which we live, not often the case with a comic-book adaptation.
It’s actually the films biggest downfall in many ways that it doesn’t utilise Jordan more in its 2 hour plus runtime and had it managed to squeeze more of Jordan’s escapades into its sometimes more slowly paced and methodical opening half, Black Panther could’ve become something undeniable and memorably special.
Final Say –
Re-writing the rulebook with its casting and socially relevant themes, Black Panther may not reinvent the superhero staple but it’s a fresh and often exciting new addition to the Marvel universe that’s deserving of its likely box-office dominance, making Black Panther a king well-deserving of its spot on the throne.
4 armoured rhino’s out of 5