REVIEW: ‘Black Panther’ is the start of a new dynasty for MCU

by Maria Siragusa, FILM CRITIC

22 February 2018



Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa the heir to the throne of Wakanda and the mantle of the Black Panther in the MCU’s Black Panther. Courtesy of Marvel Studios.


For years Marvel has been dropping breadcrumbs about the mysterious Black Panther and the obscure city of Wakanda throughout stories of other superheroes in the Marvel universe.

Some of these little pieces were finally wound together in Marvel and Disney’s newest film, Black Panther, which was released on February 15th in theatres across the country.

With a hefty budget to make the magic of this movie happen and a powerful story that’s unlike many that have been told before it, it’s no surprise that Black Panther was nothing short of stunning. The nation of Wakanda came to life through beautiful visuals, while the talented cast displayed the complex relationships and bonds that helped build this masterpiece of a movie.

After the death of Prince T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) father, King T’Chaka of Wakanda (John Kani), in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa returns home to Wakanda to assume the role of king.

To the outside world, Wakanda is a poor third world country composed of farmers and simple people just barely making due with their limited resources. Yet the reality is that this African nation is thriving more than the richest countries across the globe, mostly due to the land’s secret cache of vibranium — the Marvel Universe’s strongest metal, the nearly indestructible ingredient behind Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s armor, and the villainous robot Ultron.

Trouble comes to this secluded country when a notorious arms dealer, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) threatens to reveal their precious secret and disperse some of their high-tech weapons.

He is accompanied by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) who is on a more personal mission to infiltrate the Wakandan society. King T’Challa is forced to transform into his superhero counterpart, The Black Panther — ancient protector of Wakanda — in order to preserve his society and the people within it.

The cast of Black Panther is completely stacked with award winning actors and actresses that do a wonderful job in telling this powerful story of a hidden people.

These strong females and the predominantly black cast speak to one of the many important messages of the film, and it’s a message that excites the minds of people from all over, from very different walks of life.


Chadwick Boseman portrays T’Challa as a thoughtful and kind ruler. He struggles with trying to fulfill his father’s wishes and legacy as a great ruler and doing what he believes is right, especially if it is not necessarily something that a king should do.

His team is composed of his ex and now outside world spy, Nakia ( Lupita Nyong’o) and fierce leader of the Dora Milaje — the all-female army of Wakanda — , Okoye (Danai Gurira). The team works harmoniously together and shares an intense bond through their culture and beliefs, orchestrated by director Ryan Coogler and script writer Joe Robert Cole.

These strong females and the predominantly black cast speak to one of the many important messages of the film, and it’s a message that excites the minds of people from all over, from very different walks of life.

How often is it that racial minorities and women take center stage of a movie? This small nation is Africa is presumed to be poor and suffering by the outside world is actually more prosperous than any white nation. The women in Black Panther are also shown in a way that keeps them from falling in the shadow of men as they normally do in movies. They are not damsels in distress or helpless creatures kept hidden under the arms of men. They are presented as a groundbreaking scientist — displayed by the scene-stealing Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) — , powerful queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), brave bare-headed warriors, and important spies.

Furthermore, costume designer Ruth E. Carter did an extraordinary job in bringing the people of Wakanda to life. The clothing of their people is traditional to them and is unlike any other that has been created in the Marvel Universe. It really displays their culture and the differences and personalities of various characters.

No detail was unaccounted for in Black Panther. Along with costumes, the graphics of this film were striking and spectacular. The land of Wakanda has so many things about truly beautiful and unique to its land and those that call is home which were all displayed sensationally.

Unfortunately, there were some questionable choices made in the script. Numerous one-liners that were meant to be funny and connect to the audience fell flat as unnecessary. After Marvel’s success with Guardians of the Galaxy and the humor used within it, the studio has started incorporating more of this kind of humor to their films, but Asgard and Wakanda are not the place for it.

Thor: Ragnarok was filled to the brim with this pointless humor. The jokes didn’t do anything for the plot and few were actually funny. A good film doesn’t need constant jokes to be good. Other elements, like the cast, visuals, and plot are more important than having a few empty chuckles.

According to Disney and Marvel Studios, Black Panther made an estimated $192 million opening weekend in North America and another estimated $362 million internationally. This makes Black Panther the fifth-largest movie opening of all time, right behind multiple other Disney productions.

It’s expected that a major shake-up is on the horizon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2018’s The Avengers: Infinity War. But if the majesty of Black Panther is any indicator, the universe is going to be left in some pretty capable hands.

Wakanda forever!



Maria Siragusa is a film critic for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL

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