Movie Review: Black Panther

By Ceara Kelly, Contributor
[Marvel; 2018]
Rating: 9/10

It’s official, all other superhero movies are canceled. Nothing will ever top Black Panther. Everybody else can go home.

Despite being a Marvel movie, Black Panther manages to stand out and seem like a whole different genre of film. Not only is it set mostly in the fictional country of Wakanda, far away from the basic Avengers drama, but the actual plot leaves it feeling more like a futuristic political thriller or spy movie rather than a generic superhero film. The characters also managed to be more sympathetic than any previous MCU heroes or villains. All of this works together to form a unique and thrilling experience previous superhero films usually lack.

The movie picks up just a matter of weeks after the events of Civil War. T’Challa has returned home for his coronation after the murder of his father, and just in time to hear of the resurfacing of Ulysses Klaue, Wakanda’s longtime enemy after he stole from them almost 20 years ago, working with exiled Wakandan, Erik Killmonger. The plot goes from there as they work to apprehend them both and learn of a secret that can throw Wakanda into chaos as old lies resurface.

All of this takes place in Marvel’s most colorful and diverse film to date. The fact that Marvel finally learned what a color palette was one of the best twists of the movie (and it had plenty). Even better, the color was brought through not just the beautiful African scenery, but the culturally-inspired costumes for each of the tribes. The designers for Black Panther made sure that not only was the first black superhero surrounded by other people who looked like him, but they incorporated cultures of real African nations into the costumes, the buildings and the life of all Wakandans. It leads to a beautiful movie that lacks any dull moments. Even the less colorful scenes had such beautiful patterns and scenery that you could find a new detail each time you watched.

Culture isn’t just incorporated into the costume and set design. The entire film is a not-so-hidden commentary on how we treat minorities in our society and our duty as human beings to help those in need. Wakanda, a traditionally isolationist country, is faced with the consequences of ignoring the plights Africa has gone through over the years. Jordan and Nyong’o’s characters mirror each other in the debate on how the country should help the less fortunate around the world. The contrast of their ideals really hit the message home and leave you pondering your own actions, and how they hurt or help the betterment of the world.

The movie holds heavy themes of refugees, discrimination and colonization, but its wonderful humor and characters brighten up even the darkest scenes. Even when the situations in the film looks hopeless, the love between the royal family leaves you with some glimmer of happiness, and next thing you know the theater is roaring with laughter when one of the most threatening characters in the film proves to be a kind-hearted jokester. The layers of each character leave you satisfied yet wanting more of the world. Michael B. Jordan manages to make you sympathize and laugh with the tyrannical Erik Killmonger.

Black Panther has already been one of the most anticipated Marvel movies to date. It’s already made $404 million worldwide, and it deserves every cent and more. With so many wanting to see it again and again in theaters, there’s no doubt that it will go down as one of the company’s biggest successes.

Watch the trailer here:

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