To call Black Panther a “Black” movie misses the point.
It’s an amazing action film that happens to star actors of African descent. Watching an interview with Chadwick Boseman (who portrays Black Panther in the film), he said he hoped people wouldn’t see Black Panther as a great Black film but just a great film. Which it is…and then some. Filled with amazing visuals, a compelling story, incredible action, an intelligent script, and great acting by a cast of talented people, how could you go wrong?
Black Panther is a film about T’Challa, the King of Wakanda who ascends to the throne after the sudden death of his father and about a rival to the throne known as Killmonger in the outside world. But that’s just on the surface. Underlying this action-packed, exciting movie is a story that tackles a person’s character and their struggle to stay true to their ideals in the face of overwhelming odds and adversity. Who are you in the midst of strife? It’s also a story about an isolationist nation that has survived for centuries by hiding itself from the world but struggles with it’s desire for peace and stability and the increasing need beyond its borders that Wakanda can help. Laced throughout this is a story of love, family, loyalty, tradition, and forging new paths. How director Ryan Coogler is able to keep all of those different plotlines together and maintain not only a coherent story but a dynamic one says a lot about his talent.
Equally impressive is the talented cast. Chadwick Boseman who portrayed the titular character in Captain America: Civil War shows his character to be complex and extremely cool. Not only is T’Challa bold and brave but intelligent, compassionate, and thoughtful with a strong sense of honor. Lupita Nyong’o is his on again, off again love interest Nakia who is also an accomplished agent for Wakanda and cares deeply about the world surrounding her country. Okoye, played by Danai Gurira is just AWESOME! Impressive and physically able to take on anyone, she is not only a force to be reckoned with but has a sense of loyalty that drives her.
Michael B. Jordan is an intriguing counterpoint to Boseman’s T’Challa. Raised in the outside world, Killmonger (Jordan’s character) isn’t just a mustache-twisting villain but a man with a purpose and his own sense of justice. Both men are driven by the death of their father and how they react to those deaths is part of who they are. You know your cast is deep when the “supporting” players are people like Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, and Andy Serkis. Each actor plays their part so well and help to bring Ryan Coogler’s vision to life. Equally impressive is young Letitia Wright who portrays T’Challa’s younger sister and tech genius Shuri. She holds her own among this extremely talented cast.
The nation of Wakanda itself is an impressive “character” in the film. Hidden from view, what the world believes to be a third-world farming nation is actually the most technologically advanced country on Earth. It is a place without poverty or hunger and one that lives in harmony with the Earth instead of battling against it. The culture, traditions and heritage of this nation is itself part of the movie and a vital and depth-filled one at that. Oh, and what I wouldn’t do for a piece of Wakandan tech! Wow.
Black Panther is a great film and perhaps Marvel’s best. Go and see it right away!
- Black Panther comes out today in theaters nationwide.
- Curious about the cast’s thoughts and insights into the film? Read our piece on the site!