Thoughts: Black Panther is King
The King has arrived for Marvel Studios with the release of Black Panther, Marvel's 18th film and first to have a leading role played by an African-American. Instead of taking the traditional Marvel approach, Black Panther shows the range and prestige super hero films can achieve.
I would like to first, and foremost praise Ryan Coogler who wrote and directed this film. He approached the source material with respect as the story of Black Panther could have been just another super hero film against larger than life odds but instead is reeled in for a more controlled, and personal story. Combine that with tremendous acting and you have a recipe for a fantastic story being told. Coogler put a lot of thought, heart, and planning into each shot that it moves the story along at a brisk pace without ever feeling too much or wasted.
Now we have to talk about the acting in this movie. Surprisingly, Chadwick Boseman isn't the stand out character like he was in Captain America: Civil War. No, that honor belongs to the villain of the film, and a personal favorite here at Media Boat, Michael B Jordan as Eric Killmonger. Due in part to a well crafted script, at no point did you feel that he was the villain, but instead someone who had been wronged his entire life and trying to right that fact in his own eyes. He is poised in everything he does making well calculated decisions that, as an audience, seems like the next logical step as he openly questions the old ways in exchange for a changing world.
However, the biggest surprise is how good the female leads are. Danai Gurira as Okoye, the lead general and overall badass steals every interaction she has with Chadwick Boseman. Danai plays the power card nicely to balance the other characters as a warrior through and through. On the opposite coin is Letitia Wright as Shuri, the sister and Vibranium expert in crafting new toys for the Black Panther. As the sister, she is very brash yet knows what she's doing at all times. She always seems like the smartest person in the room and does just enough to keep her memorable in every scene she's in. These two actresses compliment Chadwick Bozeman and Michael B Jordan as strong lead actors who bring their A-game every time. The future is big for both of them.
Black Panther does everything right to honor the storyline and make you care for all the memorable characters. While it may be as big or epic as some previous Marvel films, it does something that no other film has done. Ryan Coogler has made a great film around phenomenal actors that just happens to be a super hero film.