by Hunter Johnson
Marvel is known for making films about all different kinds of superheroes. They have made movies about a billionaire in a metal suit from LA, a kid in stars and stripes from Brooklyn, and an alien who flies around with a hammer. And now, the newest addition to this colorful cast of is a man who dresses up as a cat.
“Black Panther,” directed and written by Ryan Coogler, is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It tells the story of King T’Challa of Wakanda as he must suit up as the Black Panther in order to protect his nation from outsiders.
Taking place in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, “Black Panther” is a beautifully made film about culture and society. The African elements are easily the greatest parts of the film as the story revolves around ideas that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to explore. The film tells a story about kingship and what it means to both protect one’s own and help others at the same time. The actual people of Africa in this movie are also mesmerizing to watch. The costumes and makeup are astounding, and the accents are beautiful.
Chadwick Boseman carries the movie as the Black Panther, King T’Challa of Wakanda. He brings a gritty and nuanced performance to this character, a true leader who wants nothing more than to protect his nation.
Michael B. Jordan plays Killmonger, the villain of the film. Often, Marvel villains are the weaker point of the film. But in “Black Panther,” Jordan portrays Killmonger’s complex character brilliantly.
The film also stars Lupita Nyong’o as Wakandan spy Nakia, Danai Gurira as Wakandan warrior Okoye, and Martin Freeman as CIA member Everett Ross, who are all excellent in the film.
However, the two actors that steal the whole show are Andy Serkis and Letitia Wright. Andy Serkis reprises his role from “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as Ulysses Klaue and is extremely engaging to watch. He gives a no-holds-barred performance that shows just how crazy his character is. Letitia Wright plays Shuri, T’Challa’s little sister who is the genius behind most of the technology used in Wakanda. She is a very likable character and adds a lot of complexity to the relationship between her and T’Challa.
The plot is where the film struggles the most. While the dialogue between characters is written well and the action is great, the story itself is predictable and unoriginal. The film takes very few risks and often repeats the same story clichés seen in dozens of other action films.
The other main issue with the film is that the protagonist and the antagonist have the exact same powers. Marvel films have a track record with their hero and villain having the same superpowers. “Iron Man” did this, along with “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” the first “Captain America,” and “Ant-Man.” At this point, it’s no longer exciting to watch the main hero fighting someone with the same powers.
Despite the negatives, the positives of “Black Panther” far outweigh them. This film is beautifully crafted and has a very memorable cast, with the villain specifically being much more engaging than most Marvel villains. “Black Panther” is another win for Marvel and makes audiences only more excited for “Avengers: Infinity War,” the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which comes out in less than three months.
Hunter Johnson is a freshman theatre major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He spends his time acting on stage, reading and watching Star Wars, and occasionally doing homework.
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