Film Review: Black Panther (And Why You Should See It)

It’s finally here! Black Panther, the 18th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) run by Marvel Studios, focuses on the events that occurred after Captain America: Civil War, released in spring of 2016. Black Panther is not your typical MCU film, but it does revert back to MCU's last battle trope—and it looks amazing.

T’Challa returns to Wakanda, a technologically advanced African nation that is hidden from the rest of the world. Upon his return he is crowned King, but not without the demons of his father’s reign lurking in the shadows waiting to be revealed.

Directed and written by Ryan Coogler, known for Fruitvale Station and Creed, created a focused, Afro-centric film with its all-Black cast. The characters were written phenomenally, and were compelling to watch. It is evident that extensive amounts of research were done in order to create a realistic African nation. The movie itself looks amazing—the production team took designs from existing African cities and incorporated it into the film, while adding technological elements.

Chadwick Boseman returns as T’Challa, giving an amazing performance (as usual), while Michael B. Jordan portrays the villain Killmonger who has to be my favourite villain in the MCU so far. Killmonger’s motives can be understood and supported. Though Killmonger is the “tough guy” character, you can’t help but sympathize with him when he shows emotion.

The standout performance in the film had to be Letitia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa younger sister and princess of Wakanda who also designs new technology for the country. Wright took the spotlight in every scene she was in with her wit and banter with other characters in the film. Andy Serkis gave a wonderful and entertaining performance and Ulysses Klaue. Though not seen much in the film, Angela Basset, who portrays Ramonda. the Queen Mother of Wakanda, and Forest Whitaker, who portrays Zuri, both gave good performances as well.

The sense of duty is omnipresent throughout the film. The duty to one’s nation, one’s people, and one’s family is easily compelled, as well as a political message that is best seen when you watch the movie. Similar to Civil War, it’s easy to understand both sides that are being presented, but you ultimately side with the good guys.

Black Panther isn’t just a movie to some people, it means something. As an African-American watching this film, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. They were happy tears: having the ability to see a cast full of strong, powerful and intelligent African-Americans in a film just seemed so surreal to me. In that moment, I knew it was possible to see minorities in lead roles, carrying a film. All we need is a chance, and Black Panther proved very well what we’re are capable of.

Black Panther comes to theatres this Friday, February 16.