‘Black Panther’ review

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: apologies we may have forgotten to post this back during the films opening weekend… sorry!

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Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler.

Black Panther is in cinemas worldwide now!

Synopsis

After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Review

Those keeping track on my Marvel reviews will know I’m a little disillusioned with the franchise. Following the major high of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 and Ant-Man I’ve been on somewhat of a dry spell with Spider-Man: Homecoming the sole exception.

I went in to the theatre to see Black Panther feeling skeptical. Would it be another generic origin story following the Marvel blueprint? Or would it break the mould and live up to the beyond stellar reviews?

In all honesty this film has broken my Marvel curse. It had the required levity without becoming slapstick (Thor: Ragnarok). It had action without becoming a charicature of itself (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). It also had enough going for it to stand up against the plethora of origins which have gone before.

What sets Black Panther apart is something which Marvel has been lacking for me of late, heart. Whilst the stakes remain high and the setpieces are aplenty there are still characters to root for.

Director Ryan Coogler has been able to craft a blockbuster which understands that at its core are human characters. He is able to form a connection with the audience which other recent Marvel movies have failed to do.

The crutch of surrealism in comics books remains a pit fall that many a director falls in to. That is not the case here.

Chadwick Boseman is a very human hero. The weight of his fathers death in Captain America: Civil War looms large over the story. T’Challa is able to go through a full emotional throughout the movie. Credit to Coogler for maintaining world building in light of the characters introduction in a previous movie.

Michael B. Jordan also deserves a huge amount of credit in the role of Killmonger. Screenwriters Coogler and Joe Robert Cole have been able to craft a villain with true motive and development.

There’s a menacing quality to Killmonger but also a playfulness to his villainy.

Supporting cast members Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker are all brilliantly cast. Each helps in their own way to make the world of Wakanda really jump off the screen and become live.

Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis return for their second Marvel outing. Both originated their roles in Civil War. Whilst Freeman has more to do here Serkis feels a little lost. Neither feels like a token character but in many ways they are both just necessary plot devices to push the film forwards.

CGI is of the usual Marvel standard. There’s some odd fluidity to characters just CGI fight sequences but nothing to seriously distract. Landscapes in Wakanda are sprawling and impressive whilst the urban landscapes of Oakland and South Korea are equally lush on film.

Admittedly I can’t recall any of the films score which is a disappointment. But this also isn’t out of the ordinary for Marvel fare. Whilst their films are at the forefront of comic book cinema their scores are not. It’s an area I would love to see improve moving in to Phase 4.

The popular music soundtrack fits the urban landscape perfectly without becoming a stereotype. There’s no denying this is a predominantly black cast with high profile black creatives. But here diversity is celebrate and not lauded over.

Verdict

Black Panther is a solid first solo outing for a new character to the MCU. A compelling cast and better developed villain allow the film to stand out from the pack. The usual over reliance on CGI is sometimes distracting but never to a fault.

6/10

Checkout our YouTube playlist for Black Panther below! (AppleNew users click the link)

About Neil Vagg 1159 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG