Black Panther – Film Review

Black Panther is a fantasy sci-fi superhero film which continues from the events of Captain America: Civil War. After the death of his father King T’Chaka, T’Challa played by Chadwick Boseman, finds himself flung into a world of responsibility as not only the heir to the throne of Wakanda, but is also bestowed upon the power of the Black Panther. When an old enemy, Ulysses Klaue played by Andy Serkis rears his ugly head, T’Challa makes the decision to go after Klaue to arrest him for crimes against his country. By choosing to do this, T’Challa unintentionally unearths a dark past with consequences created by his father’s mistakes, causing chaos within the nation of Wakanda.

Chadwick Boseman portrays T’Challa as a sensitive but strong young man who wants to do what he feels is right in his heart and is not easily swayed by what others tell him he should do. While I enjoyed his performance leading the pack, I would have liked to have seen him have more character development and more chemistry between he and his love interest Nakia played by Lupita Nyong’o. As this is the first Black Panther film, I’m sure that we’ve only just scratched the surface with T’Challa, so I’m going to let this slide.

Martin Freeman as CIA operative Everett K. Ross is basically the ‘token white guy’ of the film, which is a nice change from the usual norm in cinema. His character seems to just go with the flow with the events that unfold and does the best that he can with what he is given. He is a listener and despite being from another country, genuinely wants to help the Wakandans.

I thoroughly enjoyed Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s younger super techy clever sister, Shuri. T’Challa’s scenes with Shuri reminded me a lot of James Bond whenever Q would show off new gadgets. The differences between Q and Shuri though is that Shuri actually designs and creates all the contraption in her lab, much like Tony Stark, but better. Despite her intelligence, she’s still cheeky and mischievous, like most little sisters would be.

I loved how extremely badass Danai Gurira was as Okoye, the captain of the warrior soldiers who is an extremely proud Wakandan and traditionalist, following the rules instead of her heart. Her fierce facial expressions were gold and despite being a serious character, she surprisingly had many funny moments. Her lover, W’Kabi played by Daniel Kaluuya is a frustrated leader of the Border Tribe and head of security for Wakanda. You can’t blame him nor hate him for the decisions he makes. When his country has done the same thing forever, it’s not difficult to understand why his character desires change. I too feel that these two characters needed more chemistry between each other as I had forgotten they were a couple and was only reminded at the end of the film.

The best performance in Black Panther would have to be Michael B. Jordan as Erik/Killmonger. Hands down. I dare say that his performance steals the show. Every character in the film is flawed, but it is Erik/Killmonger that you feel the most for. Being a victim of circumstances and not necessarily an enemy, it is hard to hate Erik when he is only going after what believes is rightfully his, although is going about things the wrong way.

While Black Panther is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is self-contained enough to be understood and appreciated by those that don’t religiously follow the film franchise. With a predominantly black cast, Black Panther feels refreshing and triumphant. Although no where near perfect as I personally would have liked to have seen a stronger narrative, Black Panther is still a game changer for the film industry and I really hope that it is granted the sequel that it so rightfully deserves.

The cinematography, the special effects, the costumes, the colours, the action scenes; everything about Wakanda seems so fascinatingly attractive that I wish it were a real place. If were Wakanda were real, I would have booked my flights already, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who would want to visit. Unfortunately, Wakanda isn’t a real place, so I’m going to have to visit via proxy by re-watching Black Panther again. Which I’m totally fine with because this film is worth every cent.

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