Taking place after the Marvel movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Black Panther” is set in the secretly technologically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the new king and Black Panther of Wakanda after the murder of his father. However, when T’Challa returns to Wakanda to accept his new role, rogue Wakandan Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) threatens Wakanda’s safety by attempting to take over the throne. Alongside Wakanda’s army of female warriors, T’Challa uses the power of the Black Panther to defend his nation and the people and resources in it.
Overall, I thought the plot was very entertaining and refreshing compared to the previous Marvel movies of 2017. The cultural blend of the royal African kingdom of Wakanda and the urban streets of the Bay Area created a completely new superhero setting rather than the typical New York City scene. Watching the film in 2018, I thought its message was very powerful, touching on currents issues like inner-city poverty, racial violence, and the exclusion of minorities. However, I see this film to be a period piece, meaning not many of the motives behind the characters actions or words could be applied to life in 20 years. In that respect, while I appreciate the underlying lesson of the film, “Black Panther” went slightly overboard in trying to insert political activism (in particular Killmonger’s last lines), resulting in some of the story’s message becoming unintentionally cliché.
Not one actor or actress “stole the screen” for me in terms of acting. This, however, is because very rarely did one actor or actress have a solo scene. The women and men together were a powerhouse ensemble, working off of each other’s performances to create a spectacular Marvel Universe.
I usually don’t speak to music in these reviews. However, the combined work of composer Ludwig Göransson and Kendrick Lamar resulted in an unusual but phenomenal African/rap fusion soundtrack.
Ria’s Rate: 8/10
No specific element of the film was life-changing on its own. As a complete work, however, “Black Panther” terrifically exceeded my expectations and became a story that needs to be heard.