OUT THIS WEEK...
BLACK PANTHER (12A)
If Black Panther, directed with swagger by Ryan Coogler, is emblematic of things to come from the Marvel Comics pantheon then roll on 2018, because this frenetically edited odyssey of self-doubt and redemption is the big cat’s whiskers. In some respects, this is identikit film-making: prodigal sons tormented by the loss of powerful fathers, computergenerated characters trading bonecrunching blows in mid-air, a throwaway cameo for comic book maven Stan Lee, and additional scenes concealed in end credits.
Genetic flaws aside, Coogler’s slinky picture is barnstorming entertainment of the highest pedigree, which sinks its narrative claws into present-day racial tensions, gender inequality and western imperialism with relish.
Female characters are feisty, intelligent and refuse to sit demurely on the sidelines while engaging yet flawed male counterparts have all the fun.
As one proud warrior reminds her regal lover: the choice to rule as queen rests in her hands.
A predominantly black cast 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 stained with tears of regret.
Chadwick Boseman as T’challa aka Black Panther