February 16, 2018

R: February 16, 2018 | R: 140 minutes | R: PG-13

Where do I begin?

This movie deserves all of the hype it’s been getting and then some.

If you’re like me and you’re just tired of the same super hero movies over and over again, fear not! Marvel finally made a movie that’s actually about something that matters!

I applaud Marvel for giving Ryan Coogler this film because he knocked it out of the park. This movie addresses racism and doesn’t shy away from the history of colonialism. Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda - an advanced civilization that is blessed with mining the strongest metal on earth, Vibranium (what Captain America’s shield is made of). He struggles to learn what kind of king he should be and find his own path. He ends up discovering that he has a cousin, N’Jadaka aka Eirk Killmonger, played by Micheal B. Jordan. N’Jadaka wants the throne for himself, to spread weapons of Vibranium across the world to other Africans who are suffering. This is not the way of Wakanda and he and T’Challa go head to head. Danai Gurira plays Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, warrior women who are bodyguards of the throne and king. She gives and amazing performance that will fill you with girl power! Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, T’Challa’s love interest and a humanitarian who is always working to save young girls in Africa, you will love her kind heart and she’s also a badass!

Michael B. Jordan gives an absolutely breathtaking performance. You will love him, and find yourself rooting for the villain. Marvel movies suffer from their villains, with the exception of Loki, most are more of the same and barely memorable. Killmonger is the villain we’ve been waiting for and Michael did not disappoint. I kept wondering where is he? When are they going to show him again? I was so captivated by his story, I didn’t feel like he was wrong for what he believed in, I just wanted more.....

This is hands down the best marvel movie since Civil War and you will not be disappointed. The soundtrack, best ever! Graphics? Nailed it! If this movie doesn’t win awards I don’t know what life is anymore.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

AshleyK Ashley K. (Contributor) is a frequent traveler currently living in San Diego. She's a super nerd who enjoys all kinds of movies and doesn't always think the book was better.
Click Here to check out Ashley K's Articles.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fair weather Marvel fan; the more buzz surrounding the newest one, the more I'm inclined to get up at 4a to see the 6a show in IMAX. Historically, the trailers of these movies have been mainly comprised of white men -- Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Thor, Captain America -- and the occasional woman.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the Black Panther trailer jam-packed with striking men and women of color.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the movie we need right now. For a myriad of reasons, this is the two-hour escape that we've been begging for, and it's finally here.

Following the death of his father, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his African nation of Wakanda. Hiding from the rest of the world, Wakanda is thought to be a third world country, when in fact, it is akin to a divine utopia. Returning to Wakanda as well is T'Challa's former flame, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o). An operative of Dora Milaje -- a special forces team that is made up of exclusively women -- Nakia has come back to see T'Challa crowned the new king.

Waiting to receive him in Wakanda are his mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright). With them, head of the Dora Milaje -- Okoye (Danai Gurira) will look on as the new king takes his rightful place as ruler of Wakanda.
Amid the serenity of his new responsibilites is personal turmoil -- disagreements with Nakia regarding what Wakanda should and should not be sharing with struggling countries -- and incoming treachery from a rabble-rouser named Klaue (Andy Serkis) and his cohort, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).

While Klaue poses a threat, he doesn't quite hold a candle to what's bubbling just beneath the surface in Killmonger. While Klaue has his eye on Wakanda's abundance of the most sought after metal -- or, anti-metal -- in the world, vibranium, Killmonger has a much different agenda.
A diplomatic man, T'Challa takes on the power of the Black Panther to defend his people while acting in Wakanda's best interests. He struggles to find his voice as a king, and that wavering may cause him to falter.
With Okoye faithfully by his side and Shuri -- the tech genius of Wakanda -- whipping up wild and fantastic new gadgets for her brother in her lab, nothing can prepare them for what's coming.

I wish I could offer insightful comparisons between the film and the comics, but I never did get into this world. What I CAN tell you is that for a Marvel movie, Black Panther blew me away.
That said, as a film in the general sense, Black Panther blew me away.
It is remarkably topical and pragmatic in the delivery of its message. Every move Black Panther makes is deliberate and Director Ryan Coogler lets his voice be heard loud and clear.

A renaissance for the superhero genre, Black Panther breathes new life into the waning phenomenon of the caped crusader ideals laid down by previous franchises. It speaks to the malaise coating every inch of this country and gives reprieve in spades.
Gratification, I suppose, is the best word to use here. An overwhelming satisfaction fills the theater and there, in the darkness, everyone has been on this journey together and are better for it. Boseman, Kaluuya, Bassett, Jordan, Nyong'o, Wright, and Gurira deliver the desired movie-going experience with flawless, gorgeous, and unstoppable excellence.
Black Panther is powerful and bold, unapologetically saying -- in no uncertain terms -- what so many are thinking. Speaking eloquently, I can easily say that this movie will leave viewers feeling a deep sense of empowerment and liberation.

Not speaking eloquently, you're gonna cream your cosplay.
Black Panther is in theaters this weekend and sold out at theaters across the country. I can't wait to see it again myself -- Wakanda forever!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
Click Here to check out Katie's Articles.

Black Panther is the long awaited follow up on the title character as he travels to his home nation, Wakanda after the events of Captain America: Civil War. T’Challa is crowned king and quickly has to deal with an old enemy as well as a new one that could change the fate of Wakanda forever.

*I promise no spoilers!*

During the final scenes of Civil War, viewers got a brief look at the fictional African nation called Wakanda. The highly technologically advanced nation is home to T’Challa and in Black Panther we get to see just how advanced the nation truly is.

The plot overall went in a different direction than I expected based on the trailers (in a good way). I had no idea what to expect and the end product was much better than anything I could have imagined. Most of the other Marvel movies deal with totally made up things that cannot be applied to everyday life but Black Panther can in a way. This helped to make the movie feel more personal and real adding to it an emotional and relatable appeal unlike any I’ve seen before.

The characters were so powerful and captivating they each commanded attention and also made more of an emotional connection with the audience than every before. The Wakandian culture was deeply embedded throughout the film and a combination of both real and fictional traditions which was interesting to watch. T’Challa played by Chadwick Boseman felt like a true king and watching him struggle with the difficulties of the throne truly set him apart from any other character.

The women in this movie also played a huge role and it was empowering to see such strong, resilient women kick butt while also holding the country together. Between T’Challa’s love interest, his sister (my favorite character!), his general and his mother, there were so many strong women that gave off the aura of being intelligent, independent and courageous women that would stop at nothing to protect their beloved country.

Also in superhero movies the villain must be as captivating as the hero (if not better) and Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger did an excellent job with his role. Several times I gasped and got chills at his actions and words and he definitely gave other villains in the Marvel Universe a run for their money.

I can truly say I’m happy with how this movie turned out and how they brought everything full circle with the storyline. It really felt as if I was watching a comic book come to life and I could not take my eyes away. Also in true Marvel fashion make sure to stay until the very end (and I do mean the very end) for a treat.

Definitely go out watch this film when you get a chance, if not watch it multiple times like I plan to. Wakanda forever!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ashley Ashley (Senior Contributor) is an Orlando native who loves watching movies. Her favorite genres include comedies, thrillers and sci-fi.
Click Here to check out Ashley's Articles.

Black Panther is a film about a Prince becoming the King of a nation, while struggling with the sins made by the previous generations of leadership. Yes, there is fighting and cool suits and gadgets, but this film is about something much more real and grounded. This story is exactly the twist I hoped for and expected from the incredible writer/director Ryan Coogler. Black Panther has an All-Star cast, and I’ll just list off as many as I can remember.

Chadwick Boseman is T'Challa/Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan is the villain Erik Killmonger, along with Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira better known as Michonne from The Walking Dead, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis and Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out. Like I said, All-Star cast, and NO ONE brings less than their best here.

I absolutely loved Chadwick Boseman in this film. He portrays T’Challa as a rightful King while also not making others feel below him. He has great banter between his younger sister Shuri and the general of his army Okoye, but also has countless tests and challenges to overcome in this film, many of which are caused by Erik Killmonger.

Killmonger is most definitely the MCU’s best villain since Loki. That is not only due to the great writing involved with his arc, but also the fantastic and charismatic performance of Michael B. Jordan. Although you cannot sympathize with him about killing the innocent, it is impossible not to understand his side of the argument throughout this film, which only makes him more terrifying. A villain who has a point to be made but also evil in their heart, are most terrifying to me.

With all of this said, Black Panther is not a perfect film. It follows one somewhat predictable Marvel origin story trope of having our hero fight against an evil version of himself, although in this film it makes much more sense than in the past. There were also some poorly done effects sprinkled throughout an unbelievable showcase of quality visual effects. There are scenes that have T'Challa’s helmet come off and on seamlessly, showcasing that on set for specific shots, he was wearing no helmet at all. But there are also offbeat green screen shots that are poorly finished, very similar to Hela’s entrance scene in Thor: Ragnarok, which had the location changed last second. I completely understand that this can be a nitpick, but this is the 10-year anniversary of the MCU, and effects are the last thing I should be worried about.

Overall, I absolutely loved Black Panther. Although I was able to see this film early, I still have my IMAX seats for the Thursday night premiere ready to go. Wakanda is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to find myself back in that world for Avengers: Infinity War in May. Chadwick Boseman was perfectly cast for this role, along with every other member of this team and this is one that EVERYONE should check out.

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Logan Logan (Contributor) is a Texas native and a massive fan of all genres of film. You can find him talking about movies on YouTube as half of the CraZCouple or in line for the latest Star Wars/Comic Book film.
Click Here to check out Logan's Articles.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has found its king. Ryan Coogler breathes back life into the biggest movie franchise of all time, bringing an all-black ensemble with a deeply-rooted African superhero in the forefront. T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the Black Panther, the newly crowned king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced hidden city. Rich in vibranium, the most expensive and strongest metal on Earth, Wakanda is home to the most extravagant and exciting place a Marvel movie has seen in years.

Rounding out the cast is the brilliant Angela Bassett as T'Challa's mother. Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, T'Challa's love interest who plays a large role in crowning him. Letitia Wright is perhaps the biggest revelation as Shuri, T'Challa's super smart sister who parallels James Bond's Q in helping the team beat up bad guys from their home base in Wakanda; after all, she possesses a huge amount of the stuff that Captain America's shield is made of. Danai Gurira also stars as Okoye, Wakanda's strongest warrior and leader of an entire army. The action sequences in the movie are mostly wonderful, but the ones featuring the woman above are exceptionally incredible in showing women straight up outfight male counterparts without using fancy suits or special superpowers. It would be an understatement to say that BLACK PANTHER is dominated by the presence of powerful, intelligent female characters.

However, superhero movies are often only as good as their main villains. Michael B. Jordan is the Killmonger, and he delivers in a grand way. Jordan's outstanding performance of a character oozing depth, motive, and strength results in the MCU's best villain yet. Andy Serkis's Klaue and Winston Duke's M'Baku are also intimidating threats to the Black Panther team, but they ultimately end up with too little screen time.

Coogler doesn't pull any punches in Black Panther's sociopolitical commentary— exploring themes of colonization, alienation, and discrimination, all the while providing a colorful backdrop that represents the continent of Africa in its vibrant nature. It's in his mimetic flow that Coogler's script presents the most important point of any big-budgeted studio film this year, that behind the thinly-veiled racist remarks of "shithole nations" is where white supremacists and their apologists', like the U.S. President, biggest fear exists. The fear that a country without European and American colonizers can not only thrive itself but also have a lot to offer to the world. To dig a little deeper, Coogler firmly shows during the after-credits sequence that immigrants are vital beacons of hope in communities abandoned by political agendas.

Between the copious CGI and excitement of cool action sequences, it's easy to forget why the world needs a movie like this. The ending itself encapsulates and symbolizes the hopefulness that awaits and reminds us that the storm, too, shall pass. BLACK PANTHER's biggest contribution will be similar to WONDER WOMAN's last year, giving underrepresented minorities a metaphorical mirror in which they can see the version of themselves that mainstream cinema has denied them for so long.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Gerardo Gerardo (Contributor) is a film student living in Philadelphia. He usually prefers independent and classic films, but he will watch anything in theaters.
Click Here to check out Gerardo's Articles.