5/5 – absolutely stunning.
(Spoilers, of course)
When I entered the theatre to see “Black Panther,” I was honestly worried. I had heard so many amazing things about the movie, even though it had only been out for about a week. Before then, I’d avoided any trailers or info; I wanted to see this movie on its own merits.
When I came out I had tears in my eyes. The movie was incredible.
Any expectations or worries I had about the film were smashed in about a couple of seconds. I was enthralled from the first moment of narration and the visuals and stuck in my seat until the post credit scenes. The movie follows the character T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, as he returns home to the reclusive and incredibly advanced country of Wakanda to take the mantle of king. Once home, he is forced to confront a challenger to his throne in the form of Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) and prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war. Alongside him are Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o), both of whom are members of the Wakandan special forces, known as the Dora Milaje, and the princess and genius Shuri (played by Letitia Wright). Other minor characters include M’Baku (Winston Duke), leader of another tribe in Wakanda and challenger to T’Challa’s throne, Agent Ross (Martin Freeman), an ally of T’Challa’s from “Civil War,” and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), a minor antagonist from “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Where on earth do I begin? The movie was stunning in every sense of the word. The scenery and setting were absolutely breathtaking, and the landscape of Wakanda was incredible. It was full of color and light and managed to blend a more natural landscape of cliffs and mountains with a technologically advanced country of the future. I think some of my favorites were the scenes where T’Challa enters an ancestral plane depicting an African savannah, backlit by a sunset-lit sky. It was jaw dropping. Another favorite was Shuri’s lab, a blinding building of white and deep blue form its location in the Vibranium mines. The music at every moment provides a thunderous beat, a heartbeat for the whole movie.
It also fuses typical movie soundtracks with African music and rap. Kendrick Lamar even participated in creating the soundtrack. I could only describe it as something triumphant and bold, and I was honestly driven to tears by the soundtrack at the end.
The costumes were bright and bold as well—the Dora Milaje’s uniforms were incredible, and the black panther costumes in the movie were simple yet held incredible detail. Even the costumes worn by characters such as W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) and N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown), who had an unfortunately short amount of screen time, would draw the eye at every moment.
But what really took the cake were the characters.
The narrative of each character was built with a complexity that had me rooting for nearly everyone. Almost every character was endearing and compelling, and each were played with an expertise that was astounding. I fell in love with Shuri, the young and brilliant princess who flmed her own brother getting humiliated “for science” and could hold her own in a battle as well. I admired Okoye, the stalwart general who kicked ass in a red dress, using a spear and was dedicated to her duty and country. Lupita Nyong’o stole my heart as Nakia, who protected the royal family and stayed by T’Challa’s side throughout the whole film. But overall the two winners were T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. Chadwick Boseman’s performance as the Black Panther was powerful, commanding, and kingly, and I was blown away by his speech in the ancestral plane. I loved how dynamic and three dimensional his character was, moving from a determined warrior to a teasing older brother. And Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, drove me to tears. I have never cried over the villain in a film before, but the character was complex, nuanced, and sympathetic in a way I’ve never seen before.
Each character had their own motivations that wove itself into the movies overarching theme.
I spend a lot of time watching superhero films, but none of them have blown me away or driven me to tears the way “Black Panther” has. It was brilliant in a way that I haven’t seen before and likely won’t see for a long time. It was incredible, and I can’t wait until I can see it again. Not only that, but the movie has two post credits scenes, so remember to stay after and watch.