Marvel Studio’s Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, debuted to an incredible amount of critical and financial success. After only a single weekend, the film has already taken the world by storm.
In its opening weekend, Black Panther was estimated to make over $387 million, according to The New York Times. The film has already broken records by becoming the top-grossing movie in history made by a black director, while also featuring a predominantly black cast.
Black Panther tells the story of Prince T’Challa—portrayed by Chadwick Boseman—who returns to the fictional country of Wakanda to inherit the throne after the death of his father. With the arrival of a stranger planning to usurp the throne, T’Challa must balance the favor of those who wish to keep Wakanda isolated and those who desire to bring aid and technology to the rest of the world. T’Challa must do all this while donning the mask of the Black Panther, Wakanda’s superhero defender.
Right off the bat, the film appears to be absolutely brilliant visually. Everything from sets in the projects of California to the digitally created technological utopia of Wakanda are all gorgeous. Top-notch cinematography as well as a plethora of unique locations—including snowy mountains, endless savannahs and bustling city streets—all contribute to making the film look excellent.
The film also does an amazing job creating the fictional nation of Wakanda. Along with the script’s creation of Wakanda’s lore, the film’s fantastic effects as well as excellent set and costume design truly immerse the audience in this world. These elements beautifully mix traditional cultures in Africa with a totally unique society.
The action is also an important aspect of the film. Every fight scene is breathtaking due to effects and choreography. The editing uses more long takes compared to modern action films, allowing each jaw-dropping moment to make a lasting impact.
Performances across the board allow the film to shine even brighter. Boseman wonderfully depicts his character in and out of the Black Panther suit, and truly solidifies his character’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Michael B. Jordan, who portrays the film’s main antagonist, Erik Killmonger, was also a significant highlight. Jordan’s riveting portrayal along with a well-crafted development of his character, makes Killmonger one of the most complex villains the MCU has offered since Vulture in “Spider-man: Homecoming.”
Enough cannot be said about the cultural significance of Black Panther. In addition to the film’s nearly all black cast, the film touches extensively on both contemporary and historical issues facing the black community. These issues are interwoven in the plot in such a way that they are presented naturally and efficiently throughout the film, and are integral to the characters’ motivations and the film’s eventual payoff.
If there’s one issue to be had with Black Panther, it would be the film’s climax. The director decided to have multiple conflicts shown simultaneously throughout the most intense part of the film.
Unfortunately, this made it feel like the apex jumped around to the point where it was hard to give one’s full attention to each conflict. It would have been better to provide a few more minutes of screen time for the final battle between T’Challa and Killmonger so the viewers could fully attend to this pivotal scene.
Overall, Black Panther is truly a triumph. It is an expertly crafted film that’s cultural significance makes it a perfect addition to the MCU as well as cinema at large.