Aside from being one of the more important blockbusters of modern times, which it has rightfully been commended for, Black Panther also does a brilliant job of standing on its own two feet away from the Marvel universe, in more ways than one.
In fact, the only reference to the Avenger world is at the start of the movie where we see T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) inheriting the throne of Wakanda from his father who we saw die in Captain America: Civil War. Director Ryan Coogler clearly avoided any temptation to hinge it on the success of the Avengers franchise and make the most of what brilliant material was available to him.
Concealed from the rest of the world, the futuristic Wakanda is home to an out of this world material that is in danger of being taken advantage of by the modern day South African pirate, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), and then contender to the Wakandan throne, Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan), the cousin T’Challa never knew he had.
One of the most striking features of the movie is its score, composed by Ludwig Göransson and Kendrick Lamar, who combine tribal beats with the more familiar orchestral sounds, capturing the tone of the movie with pinpoint accuracy.
Not only is the sound impressive, but the film is visually fulfilling, particularly when scanning the imagined Wakanda – an advanced city concealed by great African plaines. That said, one of the best scenes of the film is far from home, consisting of a car chase brilliantly choreographed in Korea.
It’s no secret that the movie stands out for its positive representation for the black community, but it was also a pleasure to see women so positively appreciated in Black Panther. T’Challa’s tech savvy sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okeye (Danai Gurira) are arguably the unsung heroes of the movie. Lupita Nyong’o is also one of the many brilliant actresses to play a key role in the movie.
The film hits a slight pothole by falling for the classic Marvel third-act trap, climaxing with a CGI filled battle sequence, consisting of attack rhinos which flatter to deceive. Thankfully, the rest of the film is joyous enough not to have it ruined by the typical superhero endings we’re now so used to and tired of.
As a fan of the Marvel universe, I wouldn’t go as far to saying that this is the best of the Marvel films in the franchise. But it certainly is the most remarkable of the bunch and one of the more important blockbusters you will see in modern times bearing in mind the impact it has had around the world.