Marvel’s newest adventure is here! Ryan Coogler’s long-awaited Black Panther finally debuted in theaters on Feb. 16, and the response has been incredible.
When we last saw T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in Captain America: Civil War, he was reeling from the unexpected death of his father, King T’Chaka. Now, with his solo movie, we’re about to see how he deals with mourning, as well as the unrest in his native Wakanda as he follows in his father’s footsteps. However, Coogler’s film is more than the story of a superhero avenging his father or bringing his country under his helm, Marvel’s Black Panther has much more in store.
A superhero on the backburner
Whether you’ve read the Black Panther comics or not, we were all excited to see what T’Challa is capable of as Black Panther. With his black vibranium suit, sharp claws, and Wakanda’s expansive technology, Black Panther is obviously an outstanding superhero. (He may be even more lit than Iron Man.) However, T’Challa isn’t too concerned about being anyone’s superhero when we meet him at the start of this flick.
In an interview with i09, Boseman explained, “He’s dealing with making the transition to filling the footsteps of his father. So it’s probably going to feel like it’s more about the political unrest than the superhero, initially.”
Full of uncertainty
In the trailer for Black Panther, T’Challa seems so certain and sure of himself (as any king would need to be.) However, it turns out that he’s struggling with his confidence as a new ruler. There is conflict between Wakanda and the CIA. He’s dealing with the foreign villain Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis) and, of course, his main adversary, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Executive producer Nate Moore told Cinema Blend, “You see some of the other leaders in Wakanda and how they interact with T’Challa sort of indicates how they feel about him. And I think for him, this is a guy who wasn’t planning to be king anytime soon. So he [is] sort of being thrust into a leadership position almost before his time. So he’s not even sure if he’s the right leader for Wakanda.”
A fresh new look
Apparently, it took Marvel months to convince Coogler to take on the movie because he wanted to be sure he could bring in his own people and put his stamp on the film. With his longtime collaborators, co-writer Joe Robert Cole, composer Ludwig Göransson, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison, Coogeler has created something that doesn’t look or feel like any other Marvel movie.
Slash Film’s Peter Sciretta tweeted after seeing the film, “Black Panther looks, feels and sounds unlike any Marvel film to date. A visual feast. Wakanda is amazingly realized, the antagonist actually has an arc with emotional motivations. Marvels most political movie. So good. #BlackPanther”
A spotlight for Shuri
In this Marvel film, women stand at the center. Not only does T’Challa’s all-female team of bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, have a massive role in the movie, so does T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). Shuri is a genius. In fact, she is a master with vibranium. In Black Panther, Killmonger gets his hands on a vibranium-laced Golden Jaguar suit that Shuri created.
Unfortunately, Shuri never thought it would be used against her brother.
James Bond meets The Godfather
Executive producer Moore describes Black Panther as “James Bond meets The Godfather.” From the technology to the family turmoil, get prepared for a high-tech spy adventure.
Production designer Hannah Beachler explained, “One of the things that we really wanted to be sure about Wakanda is the technology. I think that’s something that all the fans want to see. ‘What is this advanced civilization?’ But the other thing that we really talked about was keeping the traditions of several different African tribes. So we really delved into what that was, and how we mix this new and this old.”
Though we obviously aren’t getting a Wonder Woman-esque origin story here, Coogler made sure that we receive an expansive look at Wakanda and T’Challa’s lineage including snippets of him as a child.
Production designer Beachler explained, “You see a lot of masks, all the panther masks, and you see how they do a lot of their rituals, and it will be fabulous and wonderful. And then also the dream states that he goes into when he meets the ancestors.”
A most fearsome villain
Many agree that Jordan’s Killmonger is the most diabolical villain Marvel has ever given us. LA Times’ Jen Yamato tweeted, “BLACK PANTHER is incredible, kinetic, purposeful. A superhero movie about why representation & identity matters, and how tragic it is when those things are denied to people. The 1st MCU movie about something real; Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger had me weeping and he’s the VILLAIN.”
Jordan told i09 of his character, “True villains, the really good ones and the interesting ones, the watchable ones, truly believe what they’re doing is the right thing. And if you can somehow blur that line for the people … if you can kind of get them to see that other point of view, I think the battle’s won.”
Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.
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