Hidden in the heart of Africa, underneath the holographic, vast canopy of the jungle, lies the technologically advanced utopia of Wakanda.
“Black Panther,” rated PG-13, boasts an all-star cast of the industry’s finest, featuring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya and many others. “Black Panther” marks director Ryan Coogler’s third feature film and continues his perfect track record with this non-stop thrill ride of a superhero flick.
The story picks up not long after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” In the wake of the assassination of King T’Chaka, the throne and mantle of Black Panther is left to his son, T’Challa (Boseman). The audience is wistfully propelled through the exotic and cutting-edge world of Wakanda as we witness the coronation of Prince T’Challa.
The world, only for a moment, seems at peace, until Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis, steals a vibranium weapon from a museum in Wakanda. Helping him complete the daunting task is a mysterious figure, portrayed by Jordan, who seems to know too much.
Alerted about the theft, T’Challa, along with his head guard, Okoye (Danai Gurira) and former love, Nakia (Nyong’o), race to South Korea to apprehend Klaue and retrieve the weapon. Unbeknownst to our heroes, after this mission, Wakanda will never be the same.
“Black Panther” is a refresher of the blockbuster superhero genres for a number of reasons. The primary reason and cause for a February release is it being the first Marvel Studios movie to feature a black superhero with a predominantly black cast. The movie is also a breath of fresh air, due to its contained and singular story within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something audiences haven’t seen in a while.
This is arguably the best-looking film to come from Marvel Studios and the most culturally relevant. The movie’s music transitions from a traditional score, to flavors of hip-hop and R&B, without missing a beat or feeling out of place. The film’s companion album was curated by Top Dawg Entertainment and written by hip-hop sensation Kendrick Lamar. This well-placed marketing decision only heightened the excitement surrounding the blockbuster.
Wakanda’s juxtaposition of traditional African tribal culture within the most advanced society to exist on planet Earth is a sight to behold. The film’s visuals are transferred straight from the comic pages — creator Jack Kirby would be proud. The impeccable aesthetic of alluring tribal garb, paired with panther laser gauntlets, is an image that will never escape the mind.
The film’s opening weekend brought in an estimated $241 million, which makes it the fifth largest opening weekend in history. Hopefully, the success of this well-crafted blockbuster will usher in a new wave of diversity in big budget films.
“Black Panther” is a triumph that introduced us to a world and story that we had yet to experience on the big screen.