I feel like the fact this was my fourth viewing, (first 3 were regular 2D, AMC Dolby Cinema, and then IMAX 2D), is a pretty strong hint of my appreciation of this movie! Despite this being the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the introduction to the Black Panther's home nation of Wakanda – a vibrant African nation who's technological advancements (aided by alien resources), have allowed them to stay significantly ahead of the rest of the world, as well as isolated – was a welcome change of pace because of its vibrant colors. culture, and characters. The setting, actors, action, well-placed laughs, and well-worded social commentary, all come together for this film to stand out from the plethora of superhero movies coming out each year!
Round of applause for everyone!
According to Marvel lead, Kevin Feige, Chadwick Boseman was their only choice for the Black Panther, a.k.a. King T'Challa – and this movie proved that confidence was well placed! The seasoned actors, Basset & Whittaker both bring a welcome wise presence to the screen. The women of Wakanda are epic in ways that often steal the spotlight! I know this is bold, but Killmonger & Klaue (Michael B Jordan & Andy Serkis), are probably the best two antagonists we've seen portrayed in the MCU, comparable only to Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and Vulture (Michael Keaton).
With great power...
Overall, the movie beautifully weaves in themes centered around peace, honor, and responsibility. They ask if it is possible for "a good man to be a king," – and prove how this can be so, by the end of the film. I definitely appreciated the conversation around helping others, and hardships faced by minorities. My only negative note for this category is, as with several of the other MCU films (especially Iron Man 1 & 3, and Captain America 1 & 2), there's a bit of indiscriminate killing of the antagonist henchmen characters – whether they end up with a being killed by a bullet, fall, or spear, versus simply knocked out by some sort of hit, seems to be almost a luck of the draw.
They brought the Beats!
Kendrick has helped create & collect songs that pair perfectly with the scene, tone, and messages in the film. The score, with clear African influence that pays serious respect to various African cultures, is something I've been listening to on repeat while I work, workout, and drive.
Despite the "predictability" (which I put in quotation marks since I don't really consider 'good guy ultimately beats bad guy' to be a surprise/spoiler for 99% of mainstream flicks; especially superhero movies), I thought Black Panther had one of the best written origin scripts since the first Iron Man film! I appreciated there being a couple of unexpected twists also. Director/Co-writer, Ryan Coogler, delivers is a movie that manages to avoid feeling overcrowded or rushed even as it gives us a decently thorough intro of Wakanda (history, culture, and government), while also showing T'Challa's challenges as a new king (dealing with leading, fighting, protecting, loving, etc.), and creating one of the most well-developed antagonists we've seen (Jordan), in any superhero movie.
Amazing visuals throughout, with some minor setbacks.
The costumes and set designs are vibrant & beautiful, but I was disappointed to not get longer views of the city as a whole. Most of the fighting choreography is wonderful, yet I felt the final showdown let me down by using subpar CGI, and not having more hand to hand combat, (both shortcomings which, especially in the last two Capt. America films, Marvel proved they're capable overcoming.
I laughed, I cried, and I cheered!
I wish I didn't enjoy this film so much, so I can speak about it without sounding like I'm gushing on about it, but I just enjoyed it too much not to! The movie was built with too many well-worn ingredients parts! The writing created awesome characters, who are brought to life with great acting, that stirs emotion with a story that's somewhat complex, but even more captivating throughout.