When hearing about the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one assumes it will be a hit. “Black Panther” has gone further than that.
Besides being one of the MCU’s highest grossing films on opening weekend, it also possesses a 97 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest of any film in the franchise.
While the film may not live up to the hype for everyone, it certainly has great elements for most people to appreciate.
Behind the suit is T’Challa, with actor Chadwick Boseman returning in the role in less of an origin story and more of a chance to shine. However, the spotlight is not always on him, as the film boasts a cast of colorful supporting characters.
Actress Letitia Wrights portrays T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, who designs Black Panther’s technological weapons. Think of her as the Q to his James Bond, but with more humor and pop culture references. One never knows what she will say when she opens her mouth, but they are usually eager to hear it.
Actor Andy Serkis returns in his role of the villainous Ulysses Klaue from “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” albeit with a bigger role. He shines in every scene he is in, and he is not even doing motion capture work like his other films.
However, Klaue is not the film’s biggest baddie. Instead, it is Erik Stevens, with actor Michael B. Jordan in the role, a soldier who wishes to take the throne away from T’Challa.
Many critics singled out his performance as one of the MCU’s best villains yet. This is understandable, as his actions, while not morally right, will resonate with audiences, particularly African-Americans.
Stevens wants to give Wakanda’s technology to African-Americans around the world to help them fight their oppressors. This message stands out in modern times, where racial tensions have continued even past desegregation.
The movie also discusses what a technologically-advanced country can do to help others. Whether intentional or not, this sounds similar to the relationship between nations today.
The effects, like other Marvel movies, are still great, especially in Wakanda. Though, there is also eye candy to be found in the film’s costumes, with the Wakandans’ clothes and accessories drawing similarities to real African tribes.
Despite this, the film is not without its lower points, as some audiences may see fault in some story elements.
The film gives Stevens one of the strongest introductions to an MCU villain yet, with his intelligence and intimidation already on display. However, he does not fully encounter Black Panther until later in the film.
While there are entertaining scenes between each of his appearances, it still takes a while for the film to bring Stevens to the forefront.
When it does, he begins to have a bigger role and is not blunt about telling the Wakandans exactly what he wants.
From here, however, the story falls victim to a cliché: the hero facing the villain, seemingly dying and coming back later to finish the job. While this is not a big problem, it was still irritating to see Marvel using an established formula.
Overall, while “Black Panther” did not blow me away like it did others, I still consider it a solid entry in the MCU.
With continued use of great effects, acting and fight sequences, I give the film four stars out of five. Maybe, if given time, I can appreciate it even more.