Marvel fans have been in heaven for the past few years. The films have been getting better each year, and the universe is expanding to be more fleshed out. However, two significant problems have been pointed out for a long time. Villains often fall flat, and there is a lack of diversity in the MCU. Thankfully we have Black Panther that correctly addresses both of these significant issues that fans have been complaining about in the MCU.
There is a lot of hype behind this movie with its glowing reviews from both critics and audiences along with the records that have been broken by this film. Left and right this film is crushing the box office. The film had a high bar set from experts, but when it came out those expectations were blown away by how wildly successful Black Panther turned out to be. So, the big question is that whether this film is worth it or not, and the answer is yes!
The film is set after Captain America: Civil War in which Wakanda’s leader dies in an explosion. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) comes home to take part in a ritual that will set him as the new leader of his home country, but make him the Black Panther. This role is not only a king but a warrior and much more. After getting some evidence that a long time villain to his country, especially his father, Klaue (Andy Serkis) who is making a deal in South Korea. After an attempt to get him, a new foe reveals himself. This introduces Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) who wants to become the new king of Wakanda. T’Challa must protect his people and defeat this new enemy. That is the gist of everything that you need to know before going in.
The world sees Wakanda as a third world country. However, the country is the primary source of vibranium. This powerful metal that came from a meteor should sound familiar. Ultron is made of this metal and same with Captain America’s shield. This stuff grants powerful weapons, clothing, and pretty much is everything to the people of Wakanda. The story heavily revolves around it and gives background to this country.
A significant part of the film is fleshing out the country of Wakanda. The country is one of the most incredible locations in the entire MCU, at least that is on Earth. A mix of African culture along with futuristic tech makes for an exciting place that gives a fresh feel to a Marvel film. The whole movie is full of culture to represent the people of Africa importantly. The music, accessories, clothing, and the way people communicate plays an essential role in the main cast of characters. People have wanted diversity, and this delivers perfectly. Not only do we see people of color given power, we see women having an enormous amount of power. Seriously, I need a movie that is with the female supporting cast as the leads because they are badass.
The film is full of exciting and loveable characters. Their dynamic with one another is excellent. The supporting cast is so great, that makes T’Challa looks less impressive. I think he is a great protagonist, but the other characters are that good. T’Challa has a good heart and a great sense of humor. Along with his skills in fighting which is an absolute joy to watch. What shines most are his friends and family who play a significant role in the film. First, we have Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) who is a spy for Wakanda. She travels the world to gather information then comes home to bring back anything important that she finds. She has wonderful action scenes and is a faithful friend to T’Challa. Okoye (Danai Gurira) is an excellent warrior who leads the Dora Milaje, who is Wakanda’s deadliest warriors. These ladies slaughter their foes, and it is the coolest thing ever. She may look familiar to some people because Danai is from The Walking Dead and can bring her skills into action scenes quite well. Shuri (Letitia Wright) provides Black Panther and many others in Wakanda their high valued technology. She can find ways to heal others while giving them powerful new weapons. Shuri is easily one of my personal favorites who brings a lot of lightheartedness to the film. We see the return from Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) who had his first appearance in Civil War. Out of the main supporting cast, he is the weakest. I felt his role seemed a bit typical and brought nothing that unique or special to the film. He is a fine character, who felt unnecessary in some ways. Ramonda (Angela Bassett) is the former queen and mother of the king. She is a great supporting character who has a great dynamic with her children. There are many other characters, but this film is so packed with them the best thing to do was to look at a few key characters. It is always a joy to see some of the cast members who are now a part of the MCU.
Out of all the characters, it is time to look at the villains. The film has two major villains, Killmonger (I vote for possibly the most ridiculous name in the MCU) and Klaue. Klaue is not as a fully developed as some of the other characters. This issue makes him a bit weaker amongst the rest of the cast. That does not mean he isn’t enjoyable. His constant humor and mixed with his ruthlessness makes for a great side antagonist for Black Panther. Killmonger takes a more prominent part in the second half of the film. I wish he had been given attention throughout the film, but his primary focus is the second half. His motives are clear and understandable. This is why so many people love him. He has style and sound reasoning. His cause is not that bad, but his execution is where he goes into villain territory. Ignore his lust for blood and the name Killmonger to appreciate his plan that could be beneficial, but too bad he is a psychopath. Killmonger is easily one of the best villains in the MCU. There have been some good ones in recent MCU films, but he is one of the most exceptional since Loki.
Marvel continues to deliver a gripping story with loveable characters. Ryan Coogler did an excellent job of directing. He and his crew were able to provide the right film to give respect and power to their community. Like many MCU movies, you will get action, dramatic moments with beloved characters, and some hilarious moments. Besides some of the typical tropes that follow in almost every Marvel film, this takes a step in a different direction. Black Panther takes a stand in a political direction about third world countries and the racial issues across the world. Some Marvel movies have tackled severe problems before, but this does go a little bit stronger about it than the previous films. If you are not a fan of politics in your Marvel movies, the film does not go too strong with this. It says its ideas and then focuses back on superheroes going on an entertaining adventure.
The film has excellent time management and pacing that takes it time with its action but focuses on world building for Wakanda’s history and its characters. There is an outstanding balance between every aspect of the film. However, the first half is a bit slower. Some action is there, but for the most part, there is a substantial focus on T’Challa and his family. Killmonger does not get much attention until the second half, which is the best part of the film.
Black Panther is strongest with its cast of characters, exciting and beautiful location of Wakanda, and delivering the perfect amount of diversity for people of color and women. The film offers one of the best villains in the entire MCU that rivals right next to Loki’s greatness. This is a refreshing change for the MCU that is familiar, but different enough to stand on its own two feet. A few issues are there. I wish there were even distribution of attention to Killmonger. Giving him a bit more time early on would help flesh him out earlier rather than later. A few ordinary moments that we see in every MCU movie that can be a little annoying that help with the story to progress. Everything else is entirely on point. Watch it for yourself to see how you like it. Black Panther will return in the upcoming Avengers movie that comes out this May.
Image via Marvel Studios.