Black Panther Review


Daniel Cruse, Messenger Reporter

Black Panther is directed by Ryan Coolger and stars Chadwick Boseman in the titular role, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, and many many more in a large ensemble cast. The story follows T’Challa, a young prince who unexpectedly must take up the mantle of King of Wakanda and also deal with his responsibilities as the Black Panther, an ancient protector role passed from generation to generation. Black Panther is the first of many additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to come out in 2018 and this series of films has been going strong since 2008, with around 20 films that have all performed well critically and at the box office. This next film is one that has had more anticipation surrounding it than most so the question is, does it live up to the hype?


Short answer, yes. Black Panther is easily one of the most distinct, fun, and memorable superhero films to come out in the past few years. One gripe of mine that I have had with the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a long time is that some of the films all run together like one big movie, with no distinct musical score or cinematography or directorial style, but since Guardians of the Galaxy broke that trend and brought a bright, colorful sci-fi adventure with an amazing 70’s soundtrack, they’ve continued to show more style in these movies. Black Panther is colorful and vibrant and stands out as one of the most interesting solo stories to come from the MCU. The action set pieces are visually stunning and incredibly fun to watch. The visual effects are as good as expected from these films and the scenery and landscape of Wakanda is absolutely amazing to look at, and a very fresh escape from the usual setting of a large, crowded city. The music in this film is distinctly different than previous Marvel entries, with score composed by Ludwig Göransson inspired by contemporary hip hop and older tribal music, and a soundtrack curated by Kendrick Lamar that stands out as one of the better film soundtracks of the past few years.


Story wise, the plot and dialogue are very well done and the performances all service the story in a way that feels real, believable, and relatable. Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is a very real and grounded portrayal of a young man trying his best to serve his people and be a good man, a heme that this movie deals with often, with his father telling him that it is difficult for a good man to also be a good king. Michael B. Jordan is the villain, Killmonger, and he is easily one of the best villains in the whole series of marvel films. His motivations are fleshed out very well, you understand and sometimes sympathize with him, and he is also very intimidating when the story calls for it. This is Jordan’s third collaboration with director Ryan Coogler, after playing the lead in Fruitvale Station and Creed, and I can not wait to see what these two do in the future as they seem to be an unstoppable actor/director combo.


The culture portrayed in this movie is developed so well and the people of Wakanda are all very interesting and different in their own ways, it was a very interesting journey into this fictional nation and I left wanting to know more about it. The juxtaposition between the incredible technological achievements that Wakandans have been a part of and the ancient ceremonies, like ritual combat, where they honor their ancestors ways and keep the older traditions alive is very moving and beautiful to watch. The main message of this film is in the same vein, telling moviegoers that tradition is a beautiful and important part of culture but times change and people change with the times. Wakanda seems to grow a lot under T’Challa’s reign as he is able to see that sometimes change and progress can be positive and help the world. All in all, the style of this film, the action, the story, the performances, and the morals to take away from the movie all make this one of the best superhero stories I have seen in a very long time and I can not wait to see Black Panther again in future installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.