Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” Zooms into Theaters


By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

There are many positive points about the film I will expand on, but easily the first question I anticipate from many superhero fans about “Black Panther” is how it compares to other Marvel films to date, considering this is the 18th film by Marvel Studios. Although I have learned a little about the Black Panther character from viewing the more recent Marvel film, “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), I have not read the source material that first appeared in 1966 as created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby in order to know the full history. Directed by Ryan Coogler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) and co-written with Joe Robert Cole (“American Crime Story,” “Amber Lake”) based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, “Black Panther” is very well written and executed to deliver rewarding entertainment, as well as also providing an excellent story about the many characters from the tribes of the mythical kingdom of Wakanda in Africa. Even if film fans are not necessarily comic book superhero fans, I will encourage them to view this feature film and discover how pleasantly surprised they will be with a story that is timely and told by voices that have emerged in cinema during the last decade. The “Black Panther” standalone film will not disappoint superhero fans, as there is plenty of action, visual effects and music to enjoy in this engaging story.

“Black Panther” features a nearly all-black cast, including many of the young best actors starring in films within the last ten years portraying representatives of the Wakanda tribes, and established actors serving as elders from the tribes, as well as a young actor starring in the role of the unexpected young villain born in the United States with ties to a tribe that rules Wakanda. There is not one actor that did not bring their “A” game to this film and show the world how capable they are in delivering excellent performances in this dramatic action adventure sci – fi feature film.

Taking the lead is Chadwick Boseman (“Marshall,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Get On Up,” “42”) who stars as Prince T’Challa/ Black Panther and Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” by this director) — supported by Lupita Nyong’o (“Star Wars: The Last Gedi,” “Queen of Katwe,” and won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in “12 Years a Slave” in 2014), Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead,””The Visitor”), Letitia Wright (“The Commuter,” “Black Mirror,” “Humans”) and veteran actors Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett.

“Black Panther” features the actresses in strong, assertive roles, including a spy and fellow elite female fighting force member, a tech savvy young lady who leads the technology division where the panther suit is created, as well as the mother of the king of the tribe. One of my favorite scenes stars Okoye (Gurira) in her warrior action facing a tribe leader W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”) in efforts to end a big battle. I won’t describe it here, but it speaks volumes when viewing it during the film.

Winston Duke (“Modern Family,” “Person of Interest”) stars as M’Baku leader of another tribe, the Jabari, that has not been especially favorable of having the Wakonda in charge, but his is a well written role for the strong character that also shows a little hint of his humor towards the latter part of the film.

Andy Serkis (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “War for the Planet of the Apes” as Caesar) stars as a South African gunrunner, Ulysses Klaue, who is trying to trade stolen goods with CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman, “Captain America: Civil War”), but this is only a small part of the bigger story here!!

I will not fail to mention that writer/producer/actor Stan Lee makes a cameo in this film as in others.

Don’t miss the story behind the “Black Panther” and Prince T’Challa (Boseman) who lost his father, King T’Chaka (John Kani), in an assassination while at the Vienna International Centre (as seen in “Captain America: Civil War”). The small country is hidden from the world, but rich in ways worthy of protection that include special powers and a one of a kind suit not to be replicated without their resources. It takes a gunrunner and a former black-ops soldier to create havoc for them, thus showing the world what Wakanda is capable of when they lead the charge.

The music by Swedish born composer Ludwig Göransson is excellent with the song selections, as he has done for prior films with this director, including “Creed” (2015) and “Fruitvale Station” (2013), as well as “Get Out” (2017). Among the artists on the soundtrack are Kendrick Lamar, SZA, The Weekend, Jay Rock and others and it is now available.

The film has English, Korean and Wakandan dialogue with subtitles. It has a PG-13 rating by the MPAA for prolonged sequences of action violence and is 134 minutes long. The official release date is February 16, but available in some theaters on Thursday, February 15th. Look at your local theater listings.

Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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