I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fair weather Marvel fan; the more buzz surrounding the newest one, the more I’m inclined to get up at 4a to see the 6a show in IMAX. Historically, the trailers of these movies have been mainly comprised of white men — Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Thor, Captain America — and the occasional woman.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the Black Panther trailer jam-packed with striking men and women of color.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the movie we need right now. For a myriad of reasons, this is the two-hour escape that we’ve been begging for, and it’s finally here.
Following the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his African nation of Wakanda. Hiding from the rest of the world, Wakanda is thought to be a third world country, when in fact, it is akin to a divine utopia. Returning to Wakanda as well is T’Challa’s former flame, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). An operative of Dora Milaje — a special forces team that is made up of exclusively women — Nakia has come back to see T’Challa crowned the new king.
Waiting to receive him in Wakanda are his mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright). With them, head of the Dora Milaje — Okoye (Danai Gurira) will look on as the new king takes his rightful place as ruler of Wakanda.
Amid the serenity of his new responsibilites is personal turmoil — disagreements with Nakia regarding what Wakanda should and should not be sharing with struggling countries — and incoming treachery from a rabble-rouser named Klaue (Andy Serkis) and his cohort, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
While Klaue poses a threat, he doesn’t quite hold a candle to what’s bubbling just beneath the surface in Killmonger. While Klaue has his eye on Wakanda’s abundance of the most sought after metal — or, anti-metal — in the world, vibranium, Killmonger has a much different agenda.
A diplomatic man, T’Challa takes on the power of the Black Panther to defend his people while acting in Wakanda’s best interests. He struggles to find his voice as a king, and that wavering may cause him to falter.
With Okoye faithfully by his side and Shuri — the tech genius of Wakanda — whipping up wild and fantastic new gadgets for her brother in her lab, nothing can prepare them for what’s coming.
I wish I could offer insightful comparisons between the film and the comics, but I never did get into this world. What I CAN tell you is that for a Marvel movie, Black Panther blew me away.
That said, as a film in the general sense, Black Panther blew me away.
It is remarkably topical and pragmatic in the delivery of its message. Every move Black Panther makes is deliberate and Director Ryan Coogler lets his voice be heard loud and clear.
A renaissance for the superhero genre, Black Panther breathes new life into the waning phenomenon of the caped crusader ideals laid down by previous franchises. It speaks to the malaise coating every inch of this country and gives reprieve in spades.
Gratification, I suppose, is the best word to use here. An overwhelming satisfaction fills the theater and there, in the darkness, everyone has been on this journey together and are better for it. Boseman, Kaluuya, Bassett, Jordan, Nyong’o, Wright, and Gurira deliver the desired movie-going experience with flawless, gorgeous, and unstoppable excellence.
Black Panther is powerful and bold, unapologetically saying — in no uncertain terms — what so many are thinking. Speaking eloquently, I can easily say that this movie will leave viewers feeling a deep sense of empowerment and liberation.
Not speaking eloquently, you’re gonna cream your cosplay.
Black Panther is in theaters this weekend and sold out at theaters across the country. I can’t wait to see it again myself — Wakanda forever!