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Black Panther released in theaters almost a year ago, to the day. My sister Linda and I saw it right after its February 16, 2018 premiere. So why, I’ve asked myself repeatedly, is there not a review for it posted on my blog? I loved this movie. How could I have NOT written a review for this Marvel Universe movie that is among the Best Picture nominated films this year?
I checked back through posts in February and March of 2018….for an answer. And I found the reason. Just after Black Panther released, I began a nine day movie marathon at my local theater, watching all of last year’s nominated films. I viewed the final movie just before the 2018 Academy Awards aired. And that is how this superhero flick slipped past me, review wise. During the nine days of movies, I saw 12 or 13 films, total, with Black Panther being one of those. I’m sure I intended to write up a review later and then just forgot that I had not produced one.
That’s easily rectified. This evening I watched Black Panther again, as a refresher before at last writing a review. I still love this film!
Black Panther Cast
This action adventure film stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther carries a PG-13 rating, for scenes of action and moderate violence, and has a run time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.
Black Panther is nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Original Score, Best Song for “All the Stars”, Best Costumes and several technical categories.
A Prince Becomes King
The film opens with Prince T’Challa (Boseman) learning that his father, King T’Chaka (Brown), has died. Okoye (Gurira), head of the all female fighting force in his country, escorts T’Challa back home to Wakanda. Along the way, they extract T’Challa’s former lover, Nakia (Nyong’o) from an undercover operation that she leads.
Wakanda formed centuries ago, when five warring African tribes squabbled over a meteorite that fell to earth. Made of an alien metal called vibranium, the meteor affects heart shaped herbs growing nearby. When one of the warriors eats the herb, he acquires superhuman abilities. He becomes the first Black Panther, uniting four of the tribes to form the nation of Wakanda. The people of Wakanda use the vibranium to develop highly advanced technology. Fearing people will seek to take what is theirs, the Wakandans isolate themselves from the world, even as they build an astounding city.
T’Challa returns home, reuniting with the former king’s most trusted friend, Zuri (Whitaker), his mother, Queen Ramonda (Bassett) and sister, Princess Shuri (Wright). Though young, Shuri runs the nation’s technology department. At the kingship ceremony, T’Challa is challenged by the leader of the fifth tribe, the Jabari. M’Baku (Duke) is unsuccessful in overthrowing the prince. T’Challa becomes king and allows M’Baku to live and leave with his tribesmen.
A Threat to Wakanda and the World
In London, black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) teams up with an ex US black ops soldier, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Jordan). Together they steal an ancient Wakandan weapon from a museum. Made of vibranium, Klaue intends to sell the axe to an unknown buyer. T’Challa, Okoye and Nakia wait at the rendezvous site in secret, having been tipped off by T’Challa’s longtime friend, W’Kabi (Kaluuya). W’Kabi lost his parents because of Klaue. He longs for revenge.
The deal goes wrong, when the buyer turns out to be undercover CIA agent Everett Ross (Freeman). The Wakandan axe is recovered. However, Ross is seriously wounded in the ensuing chase and fight. T’Challa and his escorts return to Wakanda with Ross, where Shuri uses her technology skills to save his life.
Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and journeys to Wakanda himself. Once there he reveals that he is Wakandan…the only son of Prince N’Jobu. Killmonger’s father was brother to the former king. While living in the US with his young son, N’Jobu dies by the King’s hand for selling vibranium as a weapon of war. King T’Chaka leaves the boy Erik orphaned, and alone.
Erik challenges T’Challa’s right to the throne and the two battle. T’Challa is wounded and thrown over a waterfall. Assuming he died, Erik becomes king, and the Black Panther. His intentions for Wakanda are less than honorable. His actions threaten the nation, and ultimately the world.
If ever Wakanda needed a good man, with a good heart as their king, it is now.
My Thoughts on Black Panther
This is one of my favorite Marvel Universe films. I love the culture of Wakanda. For centuries the people have hidden who they are, to protect themselves and their technology. They fear what the wrong person could do with vibranium. However, the younger Wakandans realize that hiding their light, so to speak, their magnificent gifts, is not the best way to live. The desire to offer help to the world and to make a difference, changes long held beliefs and old perspectives.
Chadwick Boseman is wonderful as the good hearted King T’Challa. He transforms into the Black Panther for the purpose of saving lives, not to terrorize. Another favorite character, for me, is M’Baku, portrayed with humor and a deep sense of honor by Duke.
The storyline and characters tie in with the bigger Marvel Avengers story, which continues this spring with Avengers: End Game.
This is the first time the Academy has nominated a superhero type film for a Best Picture Oscar. Black Panther is a powerful movie with deeper messages. And it has done incredibly well, worldwide. I’m looking forward to seeing how it fares at the Oscars.
M’Baku, played by Winston Duke.
Heading to the Oscars
As a reminder, here are the Best Picture nominated films. Click the links to read other reviews.
I have four films left to see this next week, as the Academy Awards air next Sunday night, February 24. This weekend I intend to mark The Favourite off my list and pick up the last three movies during the week.
I love movie award season. It makes my heart sing to see great films and interesting films and off the wall films, and all the people involved who labor to bring these works of art to the big screen, rewarded for creativity.
I’m cheering for Bohemian Rhapsody to capture the big award. However, there are several nominees, including Black Panther, that I’d be thrilled for if they took home the Oscar. I’ll be watching…with eager anticipation.
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