Black Panther firmly places itself as the shining example of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is royal in nature. The film exemplifies a cinematic standard that stands on its own compared to other MCU products. Strong cinematography, good fight choreography and one of the strongest villains this franchise has to offer puts Black Panther on the highest tier of Marvel films, joining the ranks of The Winter Soldier. Coogler takes this character seriously. This commitment extends to Black Panther’s mythology, legacy and lore. Black Panther is a film that expands on the best parts of the “Marvel formula”, throws aside it’s campier nature and doubles down on telling a story that holds a message that resonates after the credits roll.
The cast of Black Panther is just as powerful as the story presented. With almost an entire cast of people of color, led by a director of color, the film breaks ground for blockbusters and carries impact on a worldwide scale. Much like Wonder Woman in 2017, Black Panther carries itself as more than just a superhero film, it understands the pressure that is on its shoulders. While there have been PoC led superhero films in the past, Black Panther brings this to the mainstream like never before. Chadwick Boseman does a spectacular job as T’Challa. Black Panther was impressive in his introduction in Civil War but with his own solo film, T’Challa has been propelled to one of the standout characters of this franchise. I expect Black Panther to take the lead role in this universe as the Original Avengers start to end their time in the franchise. Michael B. Jordan is simply one the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Played through sheer anger, without much humor, and a thirst for revenge, Killmonger is vicious, powerful and most of all, compelling.
The themes of Black Panther push the story into new grounds for Marvel. Themes about family, heritage, lineage, honor, royalty and politics are embedded in this story, combining to make the most compelling film in the MCU. The film challenges many notions about the world and does not shy away from challenging Wakanda itself. Coogler doesn’t pull any punches when making political statements about global politics, the meaning of inclusion and the true discovery of unity. Black Panther doesn’t shy away from the larger message, nor does it shy away from it’s own pressure. It fully embraces the culture, sounds, feel and message that a film like this warrants and needs. Coogler delivers all of this in spades.
Ryan Coogler’s directing can not be understated with Black Panther. Coming off of films like Fruitvale Station and Creed, Coogler follows up that impressive resume with another amazing film in Black Panther. Ryan has his entire career ahead of him and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Black Panther is casted to perfection with supporting characters that have distinct personalities, agency and purpose. Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Letitia Wright’s Shuri, standout and impress as powerful women of color who stand right next to the Kings themselves. The cast is stellar from top to bottom and create one of the best ensembles in a comic book film.
Black Panther could have easily been another “generic Marvel Film” by falling into the same tropes of other Marvel films, or not fleshing out it’s villains properly. Fortunately, Black Panther rises above all of these things to deliver something fresh, exciting and powerful. It is worth noting that Phase 3 of Marvel has done a fantastic job of letting their director’s make the film they want. Black Panther honors that well in what is the best phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Much like Wonder Woman’s impact in 2017, Black Panther provides that in 2018. The cultural and social significance of this film is one that will keep it in the fans of hearts and audiences alike for years to come.
Overall, Black Panther is a film that simply clicks on all cylinders. Impressive story, great lead and supporting actors, an amazing director and an even better overall message culminate to create a truly beautiful experience. Black Panther is the best film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.