BLACK PANTHER LASHES OUT POWERFULLY
BLACK PANTHER (M) LASHING OUT POWERFULLY, WITH CLAWS AND EFFECT DIRECTOR: RYAN COOGLER (CREED) STARRING: CHADWICK BOSEMAN, MICHAEL B. JORDAN, LUPITA NYONG’O, LETITIA WRIGHT, ANDY SERKIS RATING:
Black Panther doesn’t just hit its marks. It leaves marks. Landmarks.
As the first Marvel movie blockbuster to put a superhero of colour at the epicentre of the action, much will be made of the significant blows struck by Black
Panther. Not just in the interests of racial diversity (the movie’s raucous, yet respectful embrace of black culture and history is a breakthrough Hollywood moment), but also gender equality (the women of Black Panther are no passengers in this fast-moving tale).
Black Panther begins in the wake of those scenes in Captain America: Civil War where we were first introduced to Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his secret superhero guise of Black Panther.
Upon the death of his father, T’Challa ventures home to the mysterious kingdom of Wakanda, where it is assumed he will take the old man’s place on the throne.
Pretending to be a primitive country has been a brilliant cover for Wakanda, an incredibly advanced, almost utopian society. The design and deployment of technology here is light years ahead of the so-called ‘civilised’ world. The secret to Wakanda’s great leaps forward is a rare substance known as vibranium, a metallic ore with energy-transferring properties that can be manipulated in sophisticated ways.
Infamous arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) has got his grubby paws on some vibranium, and has every intention to sell it to the highest bidder. Aiding and abetting this dangerous ploy is Erik Killmonger (a beyond-charismatic Michael B. Jordan of Creed), an ex-US military agent who knows more than he is letting on about the mystical Wakandan way of life.
Once he gets his newly crowned head around the Klaue-Killmonger alliance, T’Challa must quickly assemble the best fighting force he can find to extinguish the threat completely. A noticeably high proportion of T’Challa’s most trusted warriors are female. The most dynamic of them is Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), a defiantly independent woman whose commitment to broader social outreach often puts her at loggerheads with Wakanda’s insular instinct to not engage with the wider world.
Just as important to the overall feminine fury coursing through Black Panther is the remarkable character of Shuri, played by the surefire breakout star of the picture, Letitia Wright.
As for the rest of the stellar support cast, they all bring what Black Panther needs in short, sharp and shrewd doses.