Black Panther goes beyond high expectations and does not disappoint

“Black Panther” has been breaking multiple box office records. Photo Courtesy of City Metric

“Black Panther” went beyond the already immensely high expectations I had and delivers as a powerful character piece with important messages in a thrilling package. “Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa the Black Panther and King of Wakanda, as well as Michael B Jordan as Erik Killmonger, a mysterious outsider with a grudge against Wakanda.

“Black Panther” also boasts one of the strongest supporting casts put to screen which includes: Lupita Niyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Sterling K Brown, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis.

“Black Panther” is an expertly told story. There is a lot going on, yet it all ties back to the center of the film. The multiple characters each have their arcs, wants and desires, yet they never seem unnecessary.

The movie deals with messages of racial injustice, class injustice and violence. But, that is just scratching the surface. It’s hard to talk about the overall story without spoiling it. People will be talking about this movie for a long time. “Black Panther” is a movie you absolutely need to see in theaters and should see right away. It’s a landmark of both incredible storytelling and filmmaking excellence.

“Black Panther” is directed by Ryan Coogler, famous for Creed and Fruitvale Station. The film follows T’Challa as he returns home following the death of his father. He must assume the mantle of King of Wakanda, a secluded but technologically advanced nation in Africa. T’Challa struggles with his new responsibilities until a stranger who calls himself Killmonger appears. That’s all I’m going to give you in terms of plot.

The film excels in themes that are undeniably important to the world right now. “Black Panther” is groundbreaking, not only for the Marvel Universe but for blockbusters as a whole. Its level of storytelling will set a benchmark for future films.

Marvel is set to dominate with Black Panther and it already has. According to Polygon, the film has made over $202 million as of this past Monday, making it the fifth largest opening of all time competing with Marvel’s juggernaut Avengers series.

The excellence of “Black Panther” can largely be contributed to its writer and director, Ryan Coogler. He proved his skill as a director through his first two feature films, Fruitvale Station and Creed, both of which are compact but printed with the style of a director with a vision.

With “Black Panther,” Coogler shows us what his style can be when given the unlimited financial and creative backing that comes with a Marvel film. Most of all, while watching “Black Panther,” you can truly see the passion and love Coogler has for the characters.

This passion is also brought about by the incredible performances within the film. “Black Panther” is centered around Boseman’s T’Challa. He’s effortless in the role, which is overshadowed by the more incredible performances surrounding him.

The entire supporting cast, especially, Nyong’o, Gurira, Kaluuya, Wright, Whitaker and Bassett make the whole piece in a way feel like an ensemble. Each character is given ample screen time, and each feels fully fleshed out.

However, there is still a standout among all of these. Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger is the best Marvel villain to date, in fact, I would consider him one of the best villains ever in film. Killmonger has a menace to him that permeates through the first act. Once we learn who he is and why, he goes from menacing to absolutely tragic.

Killmonger’s motives are understandable and his anger is fueled by real problems apparent in our society. Jordan gives the character-driven ambition, while still keeping the menace as well as internal pain. It’s breathtaking as it unfolds on screen, leading to a moment that drove me tears.

While most Marvel films boast a great level of production design, Black Panther goes above and beyond, weaving the beautiful and naturally influenced designs of African culture into the science fiction world of a technological super city. Everything from the props, to the makeup design and especially the costumes are bursting with beautiful colors and patterns, all of which will leave you in stunned awe.The world of Black Panther keeps your eyes glued to the screen for the entire 134-minute runtime.

The music throughout the film is perfect. Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Panther” album is great, however, it’s surpassed by the original score from Ludwig Goransson. Goransson mixes the beautiful music themes of Africa into a traditional action movie score.

Where Black Panther stumbles slightly is its action.

While the set pieces and beats are there, it feels anticlimactic and not at the level of action other Marvel movies have. The fight choreography feels burdened at most times by CGI. All of the action does serve the plot, and in that lies the best part of Black Panther.

Everything within this film is important to both breathing life into the world of Wakanda and telling an important story about a powerful yet secluded nation that must find its place in the world.

Black Panther receives an 18/20.

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