Review of 'Black Panther'

black_panther.jpg Following on from the events of Captain America: Civil War T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), aka the “Black Panther” returns to the technologically advanced (and hidden) African nation of Wakanda to claim the throne. In London a Wakandan “vibranium” (the source of the technology used by the Wakandans) axe from a museum by a gang led by the ruthless Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). An attempt to sell the axe goes sour with the gang apprehended by CIA operative Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) though a short while later they are broken out by accomplishes. Seriously injured during the escape Ross is taken to Wakanda where their advanced medicine is used to save his life. In all this a new threat emerges to T'Challa's rein as king…and threaten world stability.

This film has received a lot of acclaim for featuring the “first” black superhero (with a black director to boot) but what is the film actually like? It is quite different than other superhero movies with, surprisingly, quite a sedate pace (ok, for a superhero flick) with the filmmakers not afraid to delve into the personality of the characters rather than rely on endless big action scenes. The plot too here is sophisticated with a number of unexpected twists. There is real passion here - both for the people and the story. This does mean that the film may not appeal to many expecting, shall we say, more action (lots of talk, talk…). Having said that, there are some tremendous action sequences here: Very stylised and incredibly well choreographed. Unlike other films, the action here is easy to follow as it unfolds (yes, Transformers, I am talking about you…but there are many others that are also guilty). To be sure, yes, I did find it difficult to keep up at times but to me that just makes it more interesting.

The realised portrayal of the technologically advanced Wakanda is stunning but also very African though, it might be suggested, perhaps a slightly stereotypical vision of Africa with the chaotic street markets at the base of the slick skyscrapers. It is all fresh and interesting yet with the realistic complexities of modern society. Refreshing and interesting. Even here with the opulence and glitter there are also those without which pay a critical role to the events as they unfold.

An interesting and refreshing superhero movie for a new age. Depth and texture that is sorely lacking in others.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2018-03-19

Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Studio: Marvel Studios

Year: 2018

Length: 134 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Ryan Coogler: