Black Panther is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.
Black Panther picks up right after the events of Captain America: Civil War, as T’Challa prepares to become King of Wakanda after the death of his father King T’Chaka (John Kani). However, no sooner is T’Challa named King, Wakanda’s old enemy, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), breaks into a British museum and steals a rare Wakandan artifact made of Vibranium: a metallic substance of extraterrestrial origin.
The Wakandan’s use Vibranium to develop advanced technology and it holds the secrets to Black Panther’s impenetrable armour and the rare herb that provides him with his superhuman abilities.
T’Challa joins forces with Okoye (Danai Gurira), the head of Blank Panther’s personal bodyguards, and his former girlfriend, now a Wakandan secret agent Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), in order to find Klaue and stop him once and for all.
However, it turns out that Klaue is acting on behalf of a more dangerous enemy, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), a man with a mysterious past who threatens both T’Challa’s reign as King and the future of Wakanda itself.
Director Coogler breathes new life into the familiar Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) plot and characters. He manages to combine many of the best elements of past MCU films – sci-fi, family drama and political thriller as well as examining how Western colonisation and enslavement of Africa continue to have rippling effects today, through the lens of earth-based MCU.
Boseman delivers another good performance as T’Challa/Black Panther but is outshined by Jordan’s Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. Stevens is the most compelling and sympathetic MCU baddie since Loki due to both the writing and an engaging performance by Jordan.
The women in T’Challa’s life in particular Okoye, Nakia and his technical genius younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) are all well developed, with distinct personalities that shine through thanks to the performances behind them. There are too many other supporting players in the film for them all to shine as equally bright but all of the ensemble cast deliver solid performances.
Captivating cinematography, gorgeous tribal costumes, vibrant production design and pulsing score all deliver the goods when it comes to craftsmanship. The action scenes are equally impressive in the first two acts of the film but are less so in the third act as too much CGI is added which loses the emotional quality of earlier scenes.
Black Panther is one of the best MCU films yet and a big moment when it comes to racial and cultural representation. The film combines spectacle with depth of narrative which will entertain both fans and casual moviegoers alike.
Black Panther will leave the audience excited to see what happens next when Thanos comes to Earth and Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War!