DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler (Creed)
STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, and Andy Serkis
REVIEWER: Lyall Carter
Following the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to be crowned king of the reclusive yet technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Challenged by factions within his country and by a mysterious outsider (Michael B. Jordan) from without, T’Challa must use his super human powers as the legendary Black Panther to defend not only his beloved homeland of Wakanda, but also the world.
If Waititi’s Thor Ragnarok was Marvel’s comic comedy caper, then Black Panther is its entry into dramatic thriller territory. Although it contains everything there is to love about a Marvel film: super powered heroes, a dash of humour, and plot lines connected to the rest of the franchise, Black Panther feels more grounded and believable as only Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy has done for comic book films before.
Although Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa is solid and without fault, it is the villains of the piece that are the most intriguing, full of depth, and entertaining. It is so easy to forget just what a superb character actor Andy Serkis is because so often he is cloaked in some CGI creature, but he excels as the violent, neurotic, wide eyed arms dealer. But the real stand out has to be Killmonger, perfectly potrayed by Michael B. Jordan, who has crafted a villain unlike anything we have seen since Ledger’s Joker. Killmonger is more than just a one dimensional ‘baddie’ attempting to gain world domination, he is a displaced soldier fighting for justice for his oppressed people.
Beautiful costume and set design, a fantastic cast, and a riveting dramatic plot makes this Marvel’s most mature outing yet. Wakanda forever.
Another home run for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a taut, dramatic, thriller that twists, turns, and surprises and the most human of super hero villain since Ledger’s Joker.
Black Panther is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K and digital from all good disc and digital retailers.
SPECIAL FEATURES BLU-RAY
CROWING OF A NEW KING
Explores the creation of Black Panther in the 1960s during the height of the Civil Rights movement in the USA with Black Panther being a revolutionary cultural moment in that the hero was not only a person of colour but is the smartest, strongest, and most technologically advanced hero in the Marvel universe.
Discusses the introduction of Black Panther during Captain America: Civil War and how even though the film is culturally an African story it explores wide reaching themes of an individual finding their place in the world.
THE HIDDEN KINGDOM REVEALED
During this feature we gain insight into the nation of Wakanda. Not only is it a magical place, Wakanda is more technologically advanced than any other place on earth even though its culture, history, and tradition is old. Wakanda stays out of the spotlight and in the shadows.
The film makes explain that it was really important place that could exist on earth. They looked for cultural references that are alive in Africa and went to Africa to get reference points which they then integrated into the sets and costumes of the film. Inspiration for the many tribes of Wakanda were taken from all over Africa using their dialects, dress, and how they adorn their bodies.
The film makers discuss the geo politics of Wakanda – some want to keep Wakanda secret yet some want reach out to the outside world. Themes are explored in Black Panther about the need of a greater understanding of one another and our cultures.
THE WARRIORS WITHIN
Female leadership is very prominent in the nation of Wakanda and Ramonda, Black Panthers mother and a noble African queen, reassures T'Challa (Black Panther) that he is ready to be king of his people
Shuri is at the very heart of the story and can make fun of T'Challa as his little sister.
Nakia is Black Panthers equal - dangerous, strong, independent and their romantic relationship is complicated.
Okoye is the best fighter in Wakanda; their James Bond and although she is extremely close to T'Challa their relationship is not romantic.
WAKANDA REVEALED: EXPLORING THE TECHNOLOGY
Wakanda is built on vibranium and run on vibranium as it powers their cities and their tech. Captain America is the first time you see vibranium in the Marvel universe. Black Panthers suit is made from verbranium and all weapons are made out of it.
FROM PAGE TO SCREEN: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
A discussion between the film makers and comic writers.
The comic book writers inform us that there wasn’t a lot of black characters in the 70’s and when Black Panther came along he was unique. He was a black superhero, rich, smart, a king, and defeats the Fantastic Four – Marvel's strongest superhero group at the time. All of this was delivered to a predominant white male audience.
Black Panther was revolutionary for comics and for pop culture in the moment especially because of the civil unrest at the time.
The film makers inform us that there was an entire group of people trying to find the best version of the Black Panther film. What does it mean to be African? If Wakanda existed how would it make you feel? All of these things have been happening yet nothings been done about it very interesting. Am I my brothers keeper? Or do you even see people as your brother? All of these questions and more need to be asked and answered by the film as well as exploring colonialization, borders, and identity.
Christopher Priest, BP comic writer, says that he found it deeply moving to see Wakanda in the first act – for a person of colour. A model not just for Africans or people of colour but of humanity that if we worked together instead of participating in petty squabbles a lot of issues can be sorted out.
MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS - CONNECTING THE UNIVERSE
A look back at all of the Marvel films from the last ten years and how the interconnect.
Some great laughs to be had here!
EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEAK AT ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
A little behind the scenes featurette of the upcoming film.
As always with Marvel movies the special features are pretty in depth and Black Panther is no exception. Buy the Blu-ray if you want to explore the world of Black Panther and Wakanda a little bit more.