Overall Score: 10/10 – This film is a breakout star from Marvel, telling a story that fans and humans everywhere have been waiting to see for a long time. Black Panther brings to life a fictional culture in full, dynamic color (with all its triumphs and all its flaws), but it tells the story of all of us, our triumphs and our flaws.
Maddie Rating: 10/10 – What can I even say?! This movie was amazing in every way and it deserves a perfect score.
Every now and then a story comes along that needs to be told. One that shows us who we truly are – that we are more than those who came before us, that we can make mistakes and learn from them, that we must always do what is right, even when (and especially when) it is hard – and that sometimes you have to choose to risk everything in order to do it.
Black Panther is the superhero movie we have been waiting for. The story is intense and dynamic, and although I wouldn’t say there are any plot twists that surprised me, that wasn’t the point. It was the hero’s journey, a parable of learning from the past and not repeating it, but surpassing it. A story of a king coming into his own and learning to forge his own destiny and do what is right.
T’Challa is one of a long line of kings and Black Panthers, ruling and protecting Wakanda, a nation with expansive technology, wealth and power that is hidden from the world and disguised by a façade of a third world country. T’Challa must learn how to rule, how to follow in his father’s footsteps while deciding what his own legacy will be.
Chadwick Boseman is phenomenal in the title role, bringing a drama and sensibility to the story that grounds the narrative. This movie is full of incredible, eye-popping technology, intense fight sequences, stunning costumes and thrilling spectacle after spectacle, but he is a quiet, powerful force guiding the entire story forward. It is his journey, but his development as a leader is matched by the insanely talented supporting Cast. Every single character in this film is interesting and engaging and has their own narrative.
T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), is absolutely adorable and a delight to watch. His friend and love interest, Nakia, is performed by Lupita Nyong’o with such grace and strength that she was one of my favorite female characters in a superhero film (or any film). Danai Gurira’s Okoye, the head of the guard, was a standout, with a fierceness and power that, to me, outshone any of the main male actors in the action sequences and in general. Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, was a convincing and compelling villain (as only the very best are).
This story is a myth – that of the Black Panther, of kingship, of the wealth of nations. Should Wakanda share its riches (technological or otherwise) with outsiders, thereby exposing itself to the world and opening itself up to attack? What is their place in defending the oppressed? They could conquer the world with their technological superiority – should they? What is their responsibility in the world, and who is it to? What would you do to defend your beliefs? This film brings up so many important questions about protected borders and safeguarded wealth that speak to the world today and the current political climate, without preaching or being too in today’s moment. This is a story that could be set in Shakespearean times or today or a thousand years from now. It tells a human story; a story I think everyone should hear.
Black Panther is a film that will give you all you could ever ask for in a superhero movie, and so much more. It will make you gape in awe, it will make you cheer, it will make you feel, and, most importantly, it will make you think.