Movie Review: Black Panther is an African Dream

Genre: Action, drama

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira

Director: Ryan Coogler

Synopsis: After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

This is perhaps the third time, I’ve written about Black Panther since watching it a week or so ago, so perhaps my points are diluted, my words repeated or thoughts haphazard, but let the record show, that I absolutely, wholeheartedly adored Black Panther, so much so that after seeing it the first time I booked to watch twice more in cinemas.

What I have begun to enjoy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that they have been giving filmmakers the opportunities to take on the projects with their unique perspective, you can see Taika Waititi’s zany comedic style in Thor: Ragnarok, and you can strongly tell James Gunn’s hand at work in Guardians of the Galaxy. In the same way, Ryan Coogler’s direction is clearly seen in the film and with this being only his third film, it is an amazing ambition that he achieves. The film manages to fit into the superhero genre, you understand where it fits in with regards to the MCU but still manages to stand out on its’ own as an epic action, a family drama, and an utopian futuristic film. It’s easy to see how in future years, Black Panther will be heralded on its’ own separate from the franchise.

The story is simple enough, after the events of Civil War, and the death of King T’Chaka, T’Challa returns home to be crowned king of Wakanda, and he has to deal with those that challenge his rule, the decision between doing the right thing and doing what he believes is right for his people, the legacy of his father, his feelings for his ex-girlfriend etc – it sounds like a lot but the script is so sleek that it pulls it all off with excellent precision. You are just along for the ride, and you are loving every second of it.

I mentioned in my other reviews, how great the cast was, but in all aspects, you can truly see when a cast is given a role that they love in a project that they are passionate about because it shines through in their performance. All characters from the main characters like T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Erik (Michael B. Jordan) to the supporting characters such as Okoye (Danai Gurira), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) each have their own fleshed out characters with specific motivations, ambitions and pasts. You feel sympathetic and enthralled in all their lives, but they all still serve the main plot.

Michael B. Jordan has been praised everywhere making Marvel truly the saviour of Fantastic Four’s Human Torches (Chris Evans played the Human Torch in the original films), but a lot of emphasis has been put on him because of Marvel’s reputation of lackluster or one-dimensional villains, and Jordan throws that stereotype out of the window. Erik a.k.a Killmonger has genuine motivations and you can understand where is coming from, but you don’t feel completely swayed to his side because Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa is so convincible and charismatic too so you constantly feel pulled between the two, and the chemistry that the two of them have in each scene that they share doesn’t help the matter much.

Black Panther also doesn’t shy away from the important issues, especially when it comes to the questions many of us Africans were thinking when watching it, such as how can an African country live so luxuriously while other countries around them are struggling, why they aren’t doing more to help the plight of black people around the world, and we get to see that internal struggle within T’Challa and externally with Killmonger and Nakia.

The cinematography, music, costume design and set design deserves some props too for creating the world of Wakanda, it truly felt as if we were transported to another world that felt authentically African but also unlike anything we had seen before.

There is plenty more I have to say about this, but you can chat to me on Twitter about it after you’ve watched it! And in case, you didn’t get it from the review: should you watch it? Hell yes. Every African should watch this movie, every Marvel fan should watch this movie, every movie fan should watch this movie. It’s a must watch okay.

 

Hot takes:

  • There is something so warm about Shuri listening to gqom music while working in her lab
  • Andy Serkis’ Afrikaner accent is really good
  • I WILL MARRY WINSTON DUKE
  • Michael B. Jordan in glasses has me feeling things too
  • Danai Gurira’s Okoye had some great comedic moments
  • Angela Bassett’s royal aura was perfection

Rating: 4½/5

 

Ways to hype yourself up before watching Black Panther?

  • Re-watch Captain America: Civil War
  • Listen to the epic Kendrick Lamar soundtrack
  • Read these great comics

Also check out my review on Big Screen Hooligans

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