Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Spoiler-Free Review of Marvel's Black Panther - The Hype is Real!

The hype for a solo Black Panther movie started as soon as he made his debut in Captain America: Civil War. As we get closer and closer to the film's opening date, the hype is real. I have been lucky enough to attend the World Premiere of Black Panther and just watched it last night again for a media screening at The Walt Disney Studios. My already high expectations for this movie were blown out of the water the first time and the second screening just made me love the movie even more. This is easily the best of the MCU to date!

This will be a non-spoiler review and I will do my best to keep it so.

Let's start off with director and writer Ryan Coogler, whose two previous works in Fruitvale Station and Creed are already two of my favorite movies. If you have seen either movie then you know that both films are quite remarkable in terms of character development, story and cinematography. Take that knowledge into Black Panther and you get one of the most powerful, relevant and important stories of any superhero film to date.

The film is deeply character driven and you understand each of the characters and their own particular motivations throughout the movie. The cast is amazing and they take an already solid script to a whole new level. Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya,  Letitia Wright, Forrest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman and others take on their characters and bring a reality to all of them. Their character dynamics and relationships are as complex as real relationships. The events within the movie will change all of these characters forever. There are elements of heroism and courageousness come not only in the ways we expect in a superhero film but also in the way that some of these characters have to question their own beliefs.

The country of Wakanda is created here in a spectacular fashion. It is a real, breathing place that is seen in several different lights. It is seen how others see it from the outside, how the citizens see it and how others who know of it's dark past and what may become of the country depending on the actions of the main characters in the story.

Without getting into spoiler territory, Michael B. Jordan as the villain is a standout here. One of the things lacking in many Marvel films is a true villain or antagonist. Make no mistake, his character of Killmonger has a point of view, believes his actions are justified, and for all intensive purposes believes that he is the hero. His story arc truly makes you understand why he is the way that he is and if you walked a mile in his shoes, you too might feel the same way that he does.

The action is stunning and even as each action sequence breaks out, each one is different in terms of look and style from the other. This truly creates a visual tour-de-force. Costumes and designs are some of the best for Marvel yet. And the score and soundtrack will be on my top 10 list at the end of the year for sure.

Black Panther is visually stunning and one of the smartest, action-packed movies in a long time.  It is fun, funny, relevant in a deeply emotional way. There is a new king and it is Black Panther!

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