The performances in this film were nothing short of spectacular. Each character had something unique, exciting, and integral to offer to the story, and the actors who portrayed them left practically no room for fault or critique, especially the women. The females stole the show, and rightfully so! Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia) Danai Gurira (Oyoke) and Letitia Wright (Shuri) are nothing short of powerhouses in this movie, and their authority, demeanor, and even humor was radiant from start to finish! Plus, their ability to obliterate anything in their way in style and a smile on their face never disappoints.
Now, that isn’t to say the leading men don’t have their own cards to play. As a matter of fact, they brought the entire deck to the table. Both Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan give this film its roots, providing the backbone for what very well may go down as one of the greatest superhero films to date. Of course, Boseman’s T’Challa (The Black Panther) boasts his own set of impressive feats, but the real outlier here is Jordan’s infamous Erik Killmonger, who I would argue is the MCU’s strongest, most well-developed villain ever. In the past, we have witnessed some decent antagonists, some even likable ones, as well as those who we wish had never been a part of the franchise altogether, and would prefer to wipe from our minds. In Black Panther, the exact opposite is true. Without giving any spoilers, Killmonger’s intentions, as well as his reasoning, are so well thought out and presented in the film that he becomes so much more than simply the “bad guy” who wants nothing more than to see the termination of the world as they know it. At his core, he is a human being, with a human heart, who desires nothing more than for wrongs to be righted, and justice is given to those who may, or may not, deserve it. Michael B. Jordan embellishes the already elaborately conceived character into an absolute standout among villains, even other heroes, in today’s industry.
Altogether, Black Panther is not just another superhero movie. It is a film so enriched with culture, lesson, and moral that, if made apart from the Marvel franchise, would undoubtedly be able to stand on its own. If this film attests to anything about Ryan Coogler’s ability and vision as an artist, it is that he deserves as much power as Marvel is capable of giving him. When you see this movie, you too will leave feeling as if you are returning from a completely different world, and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Review by Austin Noll
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