Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FILM REVIEWS -


fes­tooned with Os­car-win­ners and nom­i­nees adds lus­tre to a lean script co-writ­ten by Joe Robert Cole, teas­ing out ten­der ro­mance and bruis­ing blood­line ri­val­ries.

T’Challa (Chad­wick Bose­man) re­turns to grief-stricken Wakanda – a paci­fist, tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced so­ci­ety “hid­den in plain view” – fol­low­ing the mur­der of his fa­ther, King T’Chaka (John Kani), in a ter­ror­ist bomb­ing.

Four of the African na­tion’s five clans, in­clud­ing the bor­der tribe led by T’Challa’s best friend W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya), sup­port his as­cen­sion but the Jabari moun­tain peo­ple com­manded by M’Baku (Win­ston Duke) loudly voice their op­po­si­tion. Frag­ile al­le­giances frac­ture and CIA-trained op­er­a­tive Erik “Kill­mon­ger” Stevens (Michael B. Jor­dan) stages a bloody coup.

Flanked by for­mi­da­ble body­guard Okoye (Danai Gurira), T’Challa rouses his sup­port­ers in­clud­ing his mother Ra­monda (An­gela Bas­sett), spunky sis­ter Shuri (Letitia Wright) and old flame Nakia (Lupita Ny­ong’o).

Black Pan­ther re­peat­edly flexes its im­pres­sive tech­ni­cal mus­cles.

Pulse-quick­en­ing skir­mishes above and be­low Wakan­dan ground are chore­ographed at a fu­ri­ous pace, and a car chase through the night-time streets of Bu­san in South Korea em­ploys slow mo­tion ac­ro­bat­ics to truly dizzy­ing ef­fect.

Dur­ing qui­eter, con­tem­pla­tive mo­ments con­flicted char­ac­ters wres­tle with moral obli­ga­tions to share wealth and knowl­edge with less for­tu­nate kin.

That tug of war be­tween self-preser­va­tion and phi­lan­thropy pro­vides plen­ti­ful dra­matic meat for the cast to sink their teeth into, ex­em­pli­fied by a tense bond be­tween Bose­man and Jor­dan’s em­bit­tered and ide­al­is­tic ri­vals.

“The world’s go­ing to start over and I’m go­ing to be on top,” growls Kill­mon­ger.

Black Pan­ther comes thrillingly close to join­ing him at the sum­mit.

■ Re­leased Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 13

Black Pan­ther pushes its fe­male char­ac­ters to the heart of the ac­tion, such as Shuri, above, played by Letitia Wright Lupita Ny­ong’o as Nakia, Chad­wick Bose­man as T’Challa/Black Pan­ther

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