BLACK PAN­THER

Sound & Vision - - ENTERTAINMENT - CHRIS CHIARELLA

THE DENIZENS of fic­tional African na­tion Wakanda fairly beam with pride, and in ex­plor­ing themes of fam­ily, duty, and honor, direc­tor/ co-writer Ryan Coogler has in­fused Black Pan­ther with what can rightly be de­scribed as an epic pos­i­tiv­ity. Pick­ing up af­ter the events of Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War, the story cen­ters on the tran­si­tion of power as T’challa (Chad­wick Bose­man) as­sumes the throne of his iso­lated, yet pros­per­ous and tech­ni­cally ad­vanced, king­dom. T’challa, a brave, wise, and con­cerned leader with a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the tra­di­tions of his an­ces­tors, is the lat­est to don the man­tle of Black Pan­ther, a su­per-pow­ered and well-equipped pro­tec­tor of the peo­ple. But the sins of his pop re­turn and he must soon con­front Erik Kill­mon­ger (Michael B. Jor­dan), that rare neme­sis with a real point-of-view. The con­se­quences of that chal­lenge could in­cite war across the en­tire planet.

All that drama, of course, comes at a price: The pac­ing is a lit­tle slower than some other Mar­vel movies, and there’s less ac­tion. The chases and bat­tles are solid, but it’s the no­bil­ity of the sub­text that el­e­vates Black Pan­ther be­yond its comic book roots.

The color pal­ette through­out is ex­tra­or­di­nary, and the night­time scenes look ex­tremely dark, so I’m grate­ful for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of high dy­namic range on this 4K Ul­tra HD disc. It’s avail­able here in Dolby Vi­sion, but even the HDR10 ver­sion I watched brings con­sid­er­ably more punch and nu­ance to the 2.39:1 im­age than was ev­i­dent in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing 1080p Blu-ray disc. The picture, which was dig­i­tally cap­tured, shows no flaws other than that it’s so sharp that the seams of the vis­ual ef­fects risk ex­po­sure.

Black Pan­ther packs a Dolby Atmos sound­track, but I demo’d the Truehd 7.1 at its core for this re­view. Same as with the Blu-ray ver­sion’s DTS-HD Mas­ter Au­dio 7.1 sound­track, I im­me­di­ately needed to ad­just the vol­ume well above my usual ref­er­ence level. When I did I was treated to an en­joy­able ride, with lots of bass to reinforce the mys­ti­cal qual­i­ties of both the ubiq­ui­tous alien metal vi­bra­nium and the fan­tas­ti­cal weapons.

The au­dio com­men­tary by Coogler and his pro­duc­tion de­signer is joined by four fea­turettes, four deleted scenes (cu­ri­ously in re­verse or­der), and more, but the high­light is a round­table with Black Pan­ther writ­ers past and present.

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