#REVIEW: “BLACK PANTHER”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
In his third Feature, Director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) continues to be a major force and his most ambitious task to date Black Panther, arguably is his best work yet. The Film not only is a massive achievement for Marvel but marks something groundbreaking for the Brand in that we get to see a villain with purpose.
The Film starts-off with T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) on a mission to save estranged lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) with the help of warrior Okoye (Danai Gurira). Moving forward, he returns home to Wakanda where he is challenged for the title as King of Wakanda following the death of his beloved father (which occurred in Captain America: Civil War). Zuri (Forest Whitaker) serves as master of ceremonies in the battle for the throne. While all this is happening, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) are stealing Vibranium, a precious element native to Wakanda, disguised as artifacts in a museum in London. T’Challa has to intervene and does so, with the help of his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) who happens to be the smartest person in the Marvel Universe, using her innovation to empower her brother. Can T’Challa stop the dangerous team of Klaue and Killmonger, or will Wakanda and the world at large be threatened by this corruption in power?
Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan are absolutely brilliant in their performances with a Supporting Cast who knock it out of the park likewise. Boseman is a perfect Panther, while Jordan’s Killmonger brings a new layer of depth and emotion to the quintissential Marvel villain. Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o continues to show great presence and range with roles as both Maz from the Star Wars Franchise and now this. Similarly, Danai Gurira, is in a demanding role that mixes Comedy and Drama along with a ton of butt-kicking. Fresh-faced Letitia Wright is a scene-stealer giving this dark journey some light and energy and while both Angela Bassett and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker are seen less, they are committed fully, keeping the tone of the Film right and authentic. Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman, while tying Black Panther into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, suffer a bit from lack of development and aren’t given as much to work with.
Black Panther not only is an achievement achievement for the Superhero genre, it is an achievement in Filmmaking. Jordan‘s Killmonger stands alongside Spider-Man II‘s (2004) Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) as one of the greatest Marvel villains of our time.
Black Panther is refreshing, new, and exciting; it’s a Marvel Movie that stands on its own strength from others in a massively-successful family of Movies.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release BLACK PANTHER in theatres on Friday, February 16, 2018.