Credit: Marvel Entertainment
Marvel’s highly anticipated blockbuster Black Panther is finally out in cinemas; but does it live up to the hype?
The latest instalment in the Avengers phenomenon stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (AKA Black Panther) as well as decorated actors such as Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis.
The film, which takes place directly after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), follows the story of prince T’Challa, who returns home to his secret, technologically advanced African nation after the death of his father in order to succeed him as king.
Black Panther is compelling on a number of levels; the most obvious being visually. Director Ryan Coogler has constructed an imaginary world of overwhelming beauty in T’Challa’s secret nation, Wakanda. Futuristic skyscrapers occupy the sky, while mysterious forests lay below, making Wakanda a nation understandably worth fighting for. What’s more, the African area also has exclusive access to some of the world’s most valuable technologies, making it extremely vulnerable to the rest of the world.
Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a character with an excruciating past and a cause he is willing to die (and kill) for, poses the biggest threat to T’Challa and his nation. Jordan, who was also the star of Coogler’s last box office hit, Creed (2015), produces his most riveting performance to date. Like previous marvel villain, Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), Killmonger, in all his evil ways and frightening physicality, has a justifiable cause. This, mixed with Jordan’s excellent performance, leads the audience to understand the character, and even perhaps empathise with him.
This example of character empathy is not isolated in Black Panther. In fact, due to both intelligent writing and stellar performances from the vast majority of cast members, upon leaving the cinema you’ll find yourself thinking far more about the characters and their experiences than the film’s typical superhero action scenes, car chases and mass brawls.
This is not to say that Black Panther is without its flaws. With a run-time well over two hours, there are moments that drag out considerably. The first 40-or-so minutes in particular fail to emulate the excitement of later scenes.
Overall, Coogler’s film is yet another huge success for the Marvel universe. While it is not perfect, Black Panther delivers as an original superhero flick with both heart and excitement.
CBJ MOVIE RATING: 7.5/10
With all the relevant character development now implemented in Marvel’s superhero world, this movie’s successor, Avengers: Infinity War (in cinemas April) is bound to be an all out explosion of pure action and adventure.