Marvel films get quite a bit of stick for their formulaic plotlines and movie-to-movie universe building. But every once in a while, we get a superhero from the franchise that boldly stands out from the rest. Thankfully, Black Panther is that hero, and this movie does things differently to most of the others.
The plot centres on T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the heir to the throne of Wakanda. Last seen in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa is returning to his home country after the death of his father. Unfortunately for him, his long-term adversary Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) has other ideas and their stand-off has consequences that threaten the entire world.
While things get off to a sluggish start, it doesn’t take long before the action goes full throttle.
With director Ryan Cooglan on board (also the man behind Creed and real-life drama Fruitvale Station) the story is as much about racial tension as superhero antics, elevating the movie above the usual Marvel fodder.
Take Killmonger, for example. He’s no two-dimensional bad guy, and his backstory brings real emotion to the usual face-offs between hero and villain.
The beautiful scenery of Wakanda is perhaps the true star of the show. Part lush landscape, part futuristic city, there’s plenty to enjoy whenever it’s on screen.
The minor characters all play a vital part, too, and the strong women who stand by T’Challa’s side come close to stealing the show, especially his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), who has the movie’s best lines.
Some of the action is a little cartoony, but this is a superhero film, after all.
The bottom line
Boldly stands out from the other Marvel movies.