“The Black Panther”: more than a movie

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The Black Panther movie poster features lead actor Chadwick Boseman and supporting actors. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has a new king and, “Black Panther,” has proven worthy of the throne.

Director Ryan Coogler helmed the film and has affirmed his skill as a director, incorporating vivid visuals and wonderfully-executed action sequences. At the same time, he blends intelligent social commentary and a fully realized set of characters, creating a rare experience at the movies.

Chadwick Boseman shines as the Black Panther, T’Challa, who has inherited the throne of the hidden kingdom of Wakanda after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.”
Wakanda is a small country that has shielded itself from the rest of the world because it possesses a large amount of a substance known as vibranium that has been used to make Wakanda the most technologically advanced civilization on the planet.

If any other nation were to discover the advanced capabilities of Wakanda, a war for resources would consume the planet. Because of this, the role of the King of Wakanda is that of a silent guardian of his people, a Black Panther.

T’Challa must prove himself and learn to protect and please his people. To do this, he vigorously pursues Ulysses Klaue, a man who has attacked Wakanda before and knows its secrets.

In his pursuit of Klaue, T’Challa crosses paths with the central antagonist of the film, Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.

Killmonger is an imposing and layered villain, one of the best the MCU has to offer. Jordan embraces the character and makes Killmonger a villain who is compelling, sympathetic, terrifying, brutal and exactly what this film needs to stand above many MCU entries.

The conflict between T’Challa and Killmonger is complex, personal and riveting. The dialogue between both characters is fantastic, and the beautiful world of Wakanda provides a stage for their struggle unlike any ever put to screen.

However, causing a devastating war is not the only stake in their conflict. The humanity of all the characters is explored, and emotional ties strung throughout the whole film forge an enthralling third act.  

The world of Wakanda is a truly unique place. The design of Wakanda and the creative power that went into creating this stunning world is staggering. When one enters Wakanda, one has entered a whole new, vibrant and living universe that will leave even experienced moviegoers impressed.

Because of the incredible design, great direction, solid screenwriting, compelling acting and thrilling action sequences, one may forget to look for flaws in “Black Panther.”

Despite this, there are a couple of issues in the film that are worth addressing.

The central conflict of the film, while emotionally gripping and stimulating, takes too long to progress.

The first act of the film takes time to introduce viewers to the nation of Wakanda and the world that T’Challa must learn to navigate as king. Because of this, Killmonger takes a backseat. The film would have benefited from elongating Killmonger’s time on-screen.

Certain elements of the film feel rushed, and the movie should have allowed more time for the audience to grasp the gravity of situations into which the characters are thrown.

The “Black Panther,” may not be a perfect film, but it is a nearly magical experience that integrates all the traditional elements of a great superhero movie with resounding social commentary and a unique world that ensures that the king is here to stay.

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