When you walk out of the cinema hall after watching Black Panther, you feel as if you have seen the other side of the Marvel cinematic experience. The side that feels very fresh, connects with you, and is something that you have never expected Marvel could be capable of pulling off, so brilliantly.
Hats off to Director Ryan Coogler for making that happen. Black Panther is outright an African extravaganza from the start. It tells the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the challenges he faces when it comes to ascending the throne as a king and protecting his people and country, Wakanda.
Wakanda was long ago settled by five warring tribes who united under one king, empowered by the mountain of “vibranium” – the strongest metal in existence – implanted in the earth by a wayward asteroid. As its civilization became ever more advanced, Wakanda grew more and more secretive, under the leadership of a succession of kings who took on the mantle of the Black Panther.
The film opens in Oakland in 1992. The Black Panther/King of the day, T’Chaka (who died in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War), travels to confront a treasonous Wakandan. This one grew disillusioned with his homeland’s selfish isolationism after witnessing black people’s suffering throughout the tumultuous period.
We cut back to present day. After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. However, fate has different plans for him. He is confronted by a powerful enemy that rigorously tests T’Challa’s abilities as the king, and as Black Panther.
Events throughout the movie puts T’Challa into the center of various conflicts that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.
Though T’Challa becomes the king of Wakanda, he is frequently confronted with one question: How can Wakanda stand alone as a nation, while black people around the world suffer. He is tasked with the job of deciding how he’s going to position Wakanda to aid in the liberation of black people throughout the world while also protecting his country.
Throughout his quest to find an answer, he is supported by the luminous Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, a Wakandan spy and his love interest. He also has the warrior Okoye, the stunning and ferocious Danai Gurira on his side. His mother, Ramonda, is played by Angela Bassett. Two newcomers also shine: Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s spunky sister, Shuri, and Winston Duke as M’Baku, a rival tribe leader who challenges him for the throne.
Black Panther is an epic and immersive movie. The visual thrills are quite suspenseful and there are a few tear jerker moments – especially the dad and son talk between T’Chaka and T’Challa. This is a superhero film that is fiery, radical and revolutionary. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, a villain shines throughout the movie.
Black Panther’s got it all – style, humour, action, fun and passion. It is sort of a cultural event that delves deep into customs and traditions. No matter how hard Marvel tries, it possibly won’t be able to top Black Panther in terms of showcasing cultural identity in such a beautiful way. Definitely a must watch!