In the film “Black Panther,” T’Challa, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, (42) has been crowned the king of the fictional, African nation of Wakanda. The confident and regal, albeit, conflicted, Prince T’Challa, first introduced in the 2016 film “Captain America: Civil War,” has been elevated to the position of king, as a result of his father, King T’Chaka’s (John Kani) death, which was shown in the aforementioned film. The new king, makes it his mission to seek out, arms dealer, Ulysses Klaue, played by two-time, BAFTA nominee, Andy Serkis (Longford). Klaue has been selling stolen vibranium, which is, an indestructible metal controlled by Wakanda, and one of the materials known to be used in the construction of Captain America’s shield. Furthermore, while in pursuit of Klaue, T’Challa must contend with the character that Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) portrays, the villainous Erik Killmonger, who has aspirations of becoming king of Wakanda. Unlike, Klaue, however, Killmonger has an understandable motivation, and is guided by past transgressions. (As an aside: John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) was considered for the role of T’Challa. In addition, Wesley Snipes (Blade) wanted to play the role of the Black Panther back in the 1990s. Marvel, however, decided to pass on Snipes and the Black Panther movie, because at the time, Snipes was busy with a number of other creative projects).
There are several questions that the film concerns itself with that revolve around Wakanda’s technology. Does Wakanda have an obligation to come to the aid of neighboring countries that don’t have access to the same resources? Wakanda, throughout its history, has held an isolationist approach to other countries, and has been fortunate not to have been damaged by colonialism. What duty does Wakanda have to welcome refugees to its country? Should Wakanda get embroiled in war in order to give justice to those who live under oppression? Those are questions that, as the new ruler, King T’Challa must decide. Does he continue the policies of the past? Will Wakanda embrace a different future under his leadership?
The notable cast of “Black Panther” features Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) in the role of Nakia, a spy and T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend. Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) appears as the formidable, General Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, a group that is tasked with protecting the Black Panther, and is comprised completely of women. Furthermore, Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) plays Commander W’Kabi. Providing a bit of comic relief is Letitia Wright in the role of Princess Shuri, T’Challa’s tech-savvy, younger sister, who operates the lab that provides the Black Panther with all of the gadgets he utilizes in battle. BAFTA winner Martin Freeman (Sherlock) reprises his role as CIA agent, Everett K. Ross. Additional cast members include: Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do with it), who plays Ramonda, Queen Mother of Wakanda; Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) as Wakanda’s elder statesman, Zuri. In addition, the film features two-time Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown (This is Us) as N’Jobu, a person from T’Challa’s past; as well as Winston Duke (Person of Interest), in the role of M’Baku, the leader of The Jabari, a mountain tribe, that doesn’t believe in the use of vibranium.
“Black Panther” was directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed), who co-wrote the screenplay with Emmy nominee Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story), based on the Marvel Comics created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in July 1966. Throughout its history from comic book to screen, three other directors were considered to direct the film: Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay (13th); two-time Oscar nominee John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood; and F. Gary Gray (Set it Off).
Throughout its 134 minute runtime, “Black Panther” is a highly entertaining film, and is an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Parts action – adventure and Sci-Fi, the film premiered on January 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. While the questions the film raises are on the heavy side, the film has plenty of action and fight scenes, including an exciting car chase through the streets of South Korea. Furthermore, Grammy nominee Ludwig Göransson’s score, synchs up perfectly with what is transpiring on screen; as does the film’s soundtrack. The film is doing phenomenal business at the box-office, and with its crossover appeal, it is easy to see why. Coogler has not just directed and co-written a good superhero film, that offers a fresh approach to the genre, but a good film in general.