REVIEW: Black Panther

Review by Dustin Heller

The wait is finally over, and we have a new Marvel Studios superhero movie to check out this weekend.  Black Panther is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 18th film overall.  Wow, that’s a lot!  More importantly, this is the first Marvel movie with a predominantly black cast.  The movie is directed by Ryan Coogler, who is batting a thousand after his first three films, Fruitvale Station, Creed, and now, Black Panther.

Coogler not only directed, but he also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole.  Chadwick Boseman reprises his role as the Black Panther with supporting roles from Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker.  Black Panther has been rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture.

The film picks up where Captain America: Civil War left off as T’Challa has lost his father in the bombing and he must return home to take over the throne.  He successfully defends his claim as king and Black Panther, and now must rule the people of Wakanda.  His first mission is to capture and bring home the notorious villain, Ulysses Klaue.  The mission was going as planned until Klaue was taken from captivity and brought back to Wakanda by an unknown member of T’Challa’s family.  T’Challa must now defend his throne again, this time against a ruthless killer who doesn’t believe in keeping the peace for Wakanda or the rest of the world.

Just when you thought that all the Marvel movies were starting to feel the same, they go and break the mold again.  Black Panther is definitely a game-changer in more ways than one.  We finally have a black superhero get his own movie, and not only that, it genuinely celebrates black culture through and through.  Without question, Disney made the right decision to hire Ryan Coogler for this project.  His unique style and vision were much needed in the semi-stale superhero genre.

The fairly simple and straightforward storyline is executed with precision and balance.  Black Panther gets away from the snarky comedy that is common in the recent Marvel films and plays its characters a little more seriously and real, but don’t worry, there are quite a few laughs along the way.  The action is fast and hard-hitting and the CGI is good, not great–a few of the scenes came across as a little too animated.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend seeing it in 3D as it is pretty dark and somewhat hard to navigate at times.  As for the cast, I loved every one of them and especially Michael B. Jordan.  He is quickly becoming one of my favorites in all of Hollywood.  Not that you need me to tell you, but everyone should get out of the cold this weekend and head to your local theater to see Black Panther–the Marvel movie the world needs and has been waiting for.

Grade:  A

Black Panther opens in theaters on Friday, February 16