Black Panther is the eighteenth film in the Marvel cinematic universe, and arguably the second best behind Iron Man one. A film that deeply delves into current ideologies instead of superficially. Unlike Civil War, Age of Ultron, or even the Winter Soldier, which only touch on controversial topics on a surface level, Black Panther shows the audience the outcome and consequences to the decisions not just of individuals, but of a nation in hiding.
The film is directed by, Ryan Coogler (Creed and Fruitvale Station) who is turning into one of our most promising filmmakers of this age. The movie stars Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa, aka the Black Panther. After the death of his father, T'Challa takes the throne and precedes to lead the nation of Wakanda. A fictional African country that lives prosperously after a mysterious space rock made out of Vibranium crash landed hundreds of years ago in the land on which they stand. The material allowed Wakanda to develop years ahead of other countries. A material so precious that it powers their technology. They share it among each other, but afraid of what the outside world might do with it, they live in secret.
T'Challa keeps this tradition of hiding to protect his people, even though the outside world changes and falls into despair. There are a few, including his freedom fighter ex-girlfriend, played by Lupita Nyong'o, who feels they should use their technology to help those who can't help themselves. A call to take in refugees and to come out of hiding has the King and those on his council worried. They have lived peacefully for hundreds of years by never getting involved.
This raises the questions: If you had the power to do something, as many feel our current nation does, would you do it, or will we continue to have an attitude of, "Not our problem"?
Actor, Micheal B Jordan plays the main antagonist, Kill Monger. With a personal connection and vendetta against the country of Wakanda. He makes a move to take the throne away from T'Challa, and it is here where I will say no more to keep myself from spoiling the film.
The film is so visually rich with landscapes, swooping shots of the countryside, and gorgeously crafted sets and practical effects. On the other hand, it falls for classic superhero movie tropes such as too much CGI at times, and big set pieces full of exploding cars and our hero running up buildings, doing back flips, all culminating into nauseating over the top action sequences instead of showing restraint. Thankfully, those scenes are far and few between. Where the movie shines is in it's moral dilemma. Character driven moments, world building, and moving speeches by heroes and villains.
The film is the most grounded emotionally in this cinematic universe. It does not rely on previous knowledge of the other films in the series as it stands on it's own as a social commentary on wealth, poverty, and race. With our highest recommendations, Black Panther receives four and half stars.