Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ryan Coogler|
|Produced by||Kevin Feige|
|Music by||Ludwig Göransson|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$520.1 million|
Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict with global consequences.
Wesley Snipes expressed interest in working on a Black Panther film in 1992, but the project did not come to fruition. In September 2005, Marvel Studios announced a Black Panther film as one of ten based on Marvel characters and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Mark Bailey was hired to write a script in January 2011. Black Panther was announced in October 2014, and Boseman made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War (2016). By 2016, Cole and Coogler had joined; additional cast joined in May, making Black Panther the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast. Principal photography took place from January to April 2017, at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Busan, South Korea.
Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2018, in 2D, 3D, IMAX and other premium large formats. It received critical acclaim, with praise directed toward its visuals, screenplay, characters, direction, costume design, action sequences, soundtrack, and performances. Critics considered it as one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance. It has grossed over $520 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2018. Its four-day opening weekend gross of $242.1 million in the United States was the second-highest of all-time and its three-day gross of $202 million was the fifth highest of all time which also set the record for biggest debut by an African American director.
Centuries ago, five African tribes war over a meteorite containing vibranium. One warrior ingests a “heart-shaped herb” affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first “Black Panther”. He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. The Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.
In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his undercover brother N’Jobu in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.
In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death,[N 1] his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milajeregiment, extract Nakia, T’Challa’s ex-lover, from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and convinces him to yield rather than die.
After Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum, W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover, urges him to bring Klaue back dead or alive. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T’Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross’ custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is severely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T’Challa takes Ross to Wakanda where their technology can save him.
While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors.
Black Panther is another Marvel, pardon the pun. And to me it reflected several eras of African American culture. The colorful native culture, the 80’s gang war culture, and the modern culture where uber rich superstars of color live lavishly while children in other parts of the world eat rice and live in poverty. I really like the film, and its pacing, though there was a lot more violence than I expected. The special effects were amazing and up to Marvel standards. It was exciting, and I recommend it, especially if you like the other Marvel superhero films. 4 stars – MR