Wakanda Forever! That’s all I can say after walking out of Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER on its opening night.

The Ultimate Guide to the Upcoming BLACK PANTHER Film

Much like the Vibranium of the movie, this movie is a precious gem to be treasured. Director Ryan Coogler combines vivid comic book imagery with dominant themes, terrific action, and fabulous acting that make Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER, the timely movie we need in 2018.

The World is Watching

Most of Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER takes place in the (sadly) fictional African nation of Wakanda. Wakanda has spent centuries masquerading as a third world country, but it hides within its borders a secret. That secret is the power of Vibranium, the world’s most powerful and rare metal.

With Vibranium, Wakanda has developed into a nation far more advanced than any other in the world. However, the Wakandan elected to form an isolationist utopian regime in the middle of Africa rather than spread their technological knowledge throughout the rest of the world.

Marvel's BLACK PANTHER
Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Now that King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has taken the throne, he must decide whether to upend his ancestors’ legacy and expose Wakanda to the world. It’s a question Americans should be familiar with: Should we use our resources and wealth to help people in need across the world even if it exposes us to other dangers? Yes, BLACK PANTHER is very much a film about the refugee, impoverished minorities, the silenced. It is a call to action for those who are able to help those who are in need.

A Country Unlike Any Other

Afrofuturism is a genre of Sci-Fi we do not see enough of on-screen. Afrofuturism takes cultural aesthetic ideas from Africa and combines it with modern science fiction tropes. Through Afrofuturism Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER provides us with visuals, unlike anything I’ve seen.

Rotten at the Core: The Torpedoing of BLACK PANTHER

I almost wish I had not watched any trailer for this movie just for the surprise of seeing Wakanda for the first time. The moment when Okoye (Danai Gurira) declares “we’re home,” it is to a pile of deserted hills and jungles that Americans stereotypically believe all of Africa looks like. This makes the reveal of Birnin Zana, the Golden City and the capital of Wakanda that much more rewarding.

Marvel's BLACK PANTHER
Birnin Zana, the Golden City of Wakanda. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Wakanda’s expansive architecture, slick ships, and enormous shuttle system look appealing enough. Combined with the aesthetic design of Africa, Wakanda takes on its own life. The vast arrays of colors, sculptures, connection with nature, and advanced traditional outfits truly make Wakanda feel like nothing we’ve seen in a superhero movie before, let alone in the MCU. Wakanda is truly a marvel of cinema.

Heavy Is The Head

It is accepted that the person who does not crave power but accepts it when necessary makes the best king. Such is the case with T’Challa. T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father, trained his son all his life to be king. However, T’Challa became monarch prematurely after T’Chaka died in an attack from Zemo (as seen in CIVIL WAR).

Now T’Challa must establish a path for his home of Wakanda. Will he embrace the world in need as Nakia (Lupita Nyongo’o), the resourceful spy and T’Challa’s former girlfriend, suggests or maintain his isolated utopia as W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya), The leader of the Border Tribe and T’Challa’s best friend, advises the King.

Marvel's BLACK PANTHER
Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa with Lupita Nyongo’o’s Nakia. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Throughout this film, T’Challa must learn to not stand in the shadow of previous kings. He has to rule the way he believes is best. Tradition and culture are integral to Wakanda, but the nation also must focus on the future.

Chadwick Boseman once again kills it as the titular hero. He can emit resounding strength and boyish vulnerability and switch between the two at the snap of a finger. He also perfectly evokes the physicality necessary for this important hero. After the success of this film, I believe that Boseman’s T’Challa will become a poster boy for the MCU much in the same way as Captain America and Iron Man.

The King’s Retinue

Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER contains one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory, so it is only right that I list a few of my favorite characters and performances.

The World of Wakanda Is In For A Rumble In BLACK PANTHER [Video]

Firstly, I have never seen WALKING DEAD, but now I want to after watching Danai Gurira in this movie. As the badass general of the Dora Milaje, Okoye is emblematic of the type of strong females I want to see more of in movies. She possesses much of the same charisma and raw power as your 80s action star (and she’s a far better actor than most of them). I am so excited that we’ll see Okoye return in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR since she is so fantastic in this film.

Secondly, there is Shuri (Letitia Wright), the funniest, smartest character in the film and also my newest favorite character. As T’Challa’s 17-year-old world class genius sister, Shuri is Wakanda’s staple millennial princess. She prefers to wear a t-shirt and jeans to ceremonial outfits, spends most of her time building suits and tech that Q and Tony Stark would gush at, and serves with unyielding strength for her brother. Letitia Wright’s Shuri provides a burst of energy emerges every time she enters a scene.

Marvel's BLACK PANTHER
Letitia Wright as Shuri. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Then there is M’Baku (Winston Duke), who is in the film much less than our aforementioned characters. M’Baku is traditionally known as Man-Ape in the comics – a stereotypical depiction of an African tribal chief. Marvel had to depict this character perfectly. They had to present M’Baku, and his Jabari’s as a serious, imposing force in the film but also not stereotype them into just another isolationist tribe in Wakanda. The 6’4” statuesque Duke can be readily imposing when he needs to be, but also understated, witty, and surprisingly funny.

Enemies of Wakanda

Andy Serkis is one of my favorite actors, and so it was clear he would portray a great Marvel villain. He does just that as he beautifully portrays the playful yet menacing Ulysses Klaue. Serkis plays Klaue as the megalomaniacal, eccentric nemesis to T’Challa. He’s an incredibly entertaining villain to watch, and it’s a pleasure whenever he’s on screen.

BLACK PANTHER Villains: The 3 Foes of T’Challa’s Wakanda

The greatest performance in all of Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER is in my opinion none other than Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmmonger. To all those complaining about Marvel having lame villains, well now we have a fantastic one! Michael B Jordan brings a Gangsta rap, Black power vibe that brings this film to the next level.

Marvel's BLACK PANTHER
Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Killmonger, who is one-part Malcolm X, another part Chris Kyle, and another part Toussaint is a such a fantastic villain for many reasons. Firstly, Michael B. Jordan brings humanity to this slightly psychotic man who has been itching for revenge throughout his life. Then there’s the fact that I found myself sympathizing with Killmonger through much of the movie. There is a debate to be had, whether Killmonger was actually in the wrong for his “evil plan.” Erik’s perspective is a crucial one that lends weight and importance to this movie.

Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER

Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER stands as one of the best movie experiences I have had in a long time. I was merely awestruck throughout my time watching the film. Ryan Coogler is a genius for nailing this film in nearly every way.

It’s too early for me to say where Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER stands amongst all the MCU films, but it is one of its best. In my mind, it stands right next to AVENGERS, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR as the franchise’s most defining movies.

I simply can’t wait for the rest of the world to react to this phenomenal movie. Now excuse me while I move to Africa, worship the Panther God Bast, pledge allegiance to T’Challa all in my hopes of discovering the magical world of Wakanda!

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