Review: “Black Panther” satisfies, doesn’t revolutionize


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Marvel Studios logo.


“Black Panther” is the first black-lead movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and has built up a considerable amount of buzz, even considered by many to be a social movement.

After the assassination of his father in “Captain America: Civil War,” the new king T’Challa must return to Wakanda to complete his coronation, and solidify his status as the Black Panther.

The world of Wakanda is so visually diverse, and stunning on all accounts. From the royal throne room, to the fields of Africa, to the vibranium mines, “Black Panther” has one of the coolest settings in the MCU. All of the weapons, vehicles, technology and the mysticism of Wakandan culture help to create a unique feeling to the movie.

One of the weaker aspects of the movie was what felt like overuse of CGI. There were many scenes that were entirely CGI, except for the character’s faces, and had a fake feeling to them. Despite this overuse of CGI, the film is still shot well.

The cast in “Black Panther” was absolutely fantastic. Chadwick Boseman as the titular character is truly a presence on screen, emanating the commanding power of a king. Marvel’s casting, as usual is on point, with Boseman embodying the character in the same way Chris Evans does with Captain America, and Robert Downey Jr. with Iron Man.

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger is easily one of the best and most memorable Marvel villains to date. Jordan portrays a villain who is not only believable, but also sympathetic.

“Black Panther” was also more of an ensemble film than just a movie about Black Panther. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and T’Challa’s general, Okoye (Danai Gurira), had nearly as much screen time as T’Challa, and were just as important to the plot.

Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, was a complete surprise, stealing every scene she was in. A minor nitpick with her character was how awkward or dated some of her jokes were, such as a “What are those?!” joke, which aren’t even relevant now, and will be even less relevant years from now.

The film also tastefully translated the dated, or more culturally insensitive characters. M’Baku (Winston Duke) in the comics was originally a man in a gorilla costume, but was surprisingly one of the best characters in the movie. Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) also had an excellent transition to the screen, with a nice modernization for a lame comic book villains.

Although fewer in number, and smaller in scale compared to other MCU movies, the fight scenes in “Black Panther” are exciting, and backed up by a solid soundtrack. The third act was especially well done, with the action shifting between multiple conflicts, feeling similar at times to a “Star Wars” movie.

“Black Panther’s” original soundtrack blended African-inspired instrumentals with drum machine hip-hop percussion, and is the perfect background for Ryan Coogler’s film.

Kendrick Lamar released “Black Panther: The Album” a week before the film’s release, and was labeled as an album with music from and inspired by the movie. Disappointingly, only three tracks, “Pray for Me,” “All the Stars,” and “Opps,” were actually in the movie. However it was interesting to hear parts from the original score sampled in “Black Panther: The Album.”

“Black Panther” didn’t change the game for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It still had the goofy humor, and big CGI fights in the third act. Its unique setting and score, excellent cast, and well written villain is what makes it stand out in the crowded superhero genre.

The overwhelmingly positive reception to it also shows audiences are ready for something different, and hopefully sets a precedent for more cultural and racial representation in these big blockbuster movies.



– Excellent ensemble cast

– Unique setting in the MCU


– Some already dated humor

– Rough CGI in some scenes