Black Panther Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.

The Review
Wow, Marvel is on fire and this looks like their year. Disney is certainly cashing in on their investment at the box office. The year has begun for them with the outstanding new story from within the Marvel Universe, Black Panther. It is very easy to see why critics and reviewers all over the world are falling for this film. It is an extremely well balanced cinematic outing.

There are many elements that make this a thoroughly enjoyable film experience. For me at the top of the list was the amazingly fierce strong female characters right in the heart of the story. These are heroines that do not need any help from the male characters and instead are the ones that step into the fray for the male roles. Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira are mind-blowingly brilliant and quite engaging on the big screen. Plus, like Wonder Woman the costumes are stunning but not targeted to be overly sexualized, that is not to say that both the male and female cast aren’t beautiful. They are and very much so, however that is not the central element to their characters and therefore they fit so perfectly into the story while being so engaging and interesting.

So often in the past we have had superhero films that have featured very one-dimensional characters. So, the hard work must be done with the action on screen in order to fill the gaps. This is the perfect example of a film in this genre that actually lets the action be what it was supposed to be; a part of the film rather than the central element. For example, all Marvel Films have been stunning to watch and have contained awesome action sequences, however, not all have had well planned out characters and cohesive storylines to back up that action. You could look to X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a film that did have solid action but lacked the other components. Then forward to Logan as to what can happen when all elements work towards a common goal of great cinema. Black Panther is firmly in the second camp and providing depth of character and backstory to give context to the story and develop the characters.

It is not just the ladies however that make this film rock. Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan both bring a wonderful intensity to the story and it is their onscreen presence that ties the political and social aspects of the storyline firmly into the plot. While there are two opposing ideologies at play, we see a firm battle between them. Very similar to the Marvel film in which we saw Black Panther introduced; Captain America Civil War. This is a very subtle but perfect momentum builder for the greater MCU story direction. I love it when you have a good guy and a bad guy and in their purest form very little difference between them other than the effect of their own experience, that element of life that we have no control over other than to decide how we are to respond.

How awesome is the pretty amazing Andy Serkis as the crazy arms dealer Ulysses Klau? Talk about bringing the laughs and weirdness to the role. Love it!

Then you have the racial context of this film. A superhero film where those of African descent are by far the dominant characters and the Europeans play second fiddle. Strong black characters with depth of storyline, magic stuff. While it could be confusing when looking at the historical Black Panther movement in the US, The Black Panther was actually created in July 1966, two months before the founding of the Black Panther Party. Many people mistakenly assumed the name referenced the Party, and so the character was renamed the Black Leopard. However, neither the readers nor the creators cared for that title and it did not last for long. I can see that. Panther has a stronger feel to it that Leopard.

I think the success here comes from an overall approach that Ryan Coogler (The Director) has taken for this film. Coogler insisted on bringing in collaborators from his previous films, to put his own stamp on the film and differentiate it from other MCU films that he felt were "shot, composed, and edited by the same house people." Coogler brought in cinematographer Rachel Morrison, production designer Hannah Beachler and composer Ludwig Göransson, who all worked with him on Fruitvale Station.

The Verdict
Colourful and tasty cinema at its best. A solid story played out in a delicious setting portrayed by the perfect cast. This must be moving fast towards the top of the best Marvel Films ever…

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 14th February 2018
Rating: TBC
Duration: 134 minutes 
Genre:  SciFi, Marvel
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
Director: Ryan Coogler (Creed)

The Extras
The fighting in this film is based on African martial arts. The filmmakers also cited the action scenes in Creed: The Rocky Legacy (2015) and the "Kingsman" films as an influence on the style.

Wesley Snipes had wanted to play the Black Panther in the 90s, and had gone to Columbia Pictures with a script. He later went on to play the vampire hunter Blade; he was still interested in playing the Black Panther, but Marvel decided to go a different direction while Snipes was busy creating his own superhero roles and writing superhero books and screenplays.

This was the eighteenth film released by Marvel Studios for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The name "Wakanda" comes from the Wakamba tribe of Kenya, also known as the Kamba.

Ava DuVernay was approached to direct and actually met with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and star Chadwick Boseman, but their visions on the movie did not come together.

Wakanda was mentioned as a location on a S.H.I.E.L.D. monitor in Iron Man 2 (2010). The location pinpoints the country as being situated at Lake Turkana, on the borders of Kenya and Ethopia. The region in real life is special for holding great mineral deposits (properties similar to Wakanda).

Michael B. Jordan initially auditioned for the role of Sam Wilson/The Falcon back in 2013 before being cast in this film three years later.