Movie Review: Black Panther
Black Panther has been hailed by some US film critics as the best Marvel movie ever.
I don't agree with them at all.
What about the Iron Man movies? Captain America: Civil War and the first Guardians Of The Galaxy? Those were great. Doctor Strange was a delight. So was Thor: Ragnarok.
Perhaps the socio-political themes - the debate between building borders or breaking them down, and the strong Martin Luther King Jr/Malcolm X references - resonate with Americans.
But these issues also drain the film of much of the fun and humour that you'd expect from a Marvel project.
That said, Black Panther is not all bad. It is groundbreaking in several ways, and for that, it deserves much praise.
This is the first superhero flick that champions the minority, with its predominantly all-black cast. It is also the first superhero flick that isn't US-centric, and doesn't destroy any cities - finally!
Black Panther is definitely a different beast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, this origin story feels more like a James Bond/Mission: Impossible spy action-adventure at the start, when T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his female bodyguards go after Klaue (a brilliant Andy Serkis), the guy who's smuggling Wakanda's treasure - precious metal vibranium - out of their secret city.
Main antagonist Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is also not your typical comic-book baddie. He's not evil. You feel for his cause. The harsh reality of politics is the real villain here.
While Boseman rocks in his Black Panther suit, Jordan owns it when he puts on his version.
Jordan exudes charisma, while Boseman is boring and disappointingly bland next to his mighty female co-stars.
Lupita Nyong'o is on fire as his kickass ex-flame, and Danai Gurira shines as his powerful and witty General.
Letitia Wright steals the thunder as T'Challa's younger sister and Wakanda's tech and weapons genius. I would love to see her and Tony Stark in the same room, just to watch them out-geeking each other.
She has a great sense of humour too.
Apart from addressing issues of race and identity, director Ryan Coogler and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison imbue this 18th Marvel film with vibrant visuals.
The climactic battle involving the Wakanda tribes and armoured rhinos is a stand-out.
MOVIE: Black Panther
STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Martin Freeman
DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
THE SKINNY: After his father’s death, T’Challa (Boseman) is now heir to Wakanda, a secret technologically advanced city that is home to precious metal vibranium. Aided by Nakia (Nyong’o), Okoye (Gurira) and Shuri (Wright), they need to defend their homeland from an internal revolt started by Erik Killmonger (Jordan).