The story is ready to be told as director Ryan Coogler, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures bring the tale of “Black Panther.”
The death of his father, now King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his kingdom of Wakanda in Africa, but not before making a pit stop with Gen. Okoye (Danai Gurira) to pick up ex-love Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).
Standing before the other factions, Zuri (Forest Whitaker) asks if there is anyone who would challenge for the throne. After a brief altercation with M’Baku (Winstone Duke), it becomes clear that T’Challa would rule Wakanda. His mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and technology wiz kid-sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) join in the ceremony as they watch T’Challa’s victory.
But there is something that needs his immediate attention when friend W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) wants the capture of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who has stolen some of Wakanda’s source of technology. Klaue, however, is not alone as Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) has a score to settle with Wakanda.
Also looking for Klaue is CIA Agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), who isn’t happy when he sees T’Challa, Nakia and Okoye at a sting operation in an underground casino in Asia. Trying to strike a deal on who gets Klaue, chaos breaks out and the chase is on.
It soon becomes clear who, Killmonger is when he makes his way to Wakanda with one goal in mind — to get backing, which he finds in W’Kabi, and to take the throne. When the challenge goes horribly wrong, Nakia, Shuri and Ramonda are on the run and find an ally in the most unlikely place. Now the tribes begin to see the destruction of their world!
T’Challa learns that all families have secrets, but that secrets don’t always stay hidden and sometimes it is the sons that pay the price!
Boseman as T’Challa, aka Black Panther, carries himself with the elegance that makes it totally believable that he is royalty. Trying to keep the traditional and secretive ways of Wakanda, especially about the unearthly vibranium, he becomes conflicted when it is suggested by ex-love Nakia that they could do so much more for the world. Unfortunately, that falls far down his royal agenda as conflicts and bad guys need to be taken care of to stabilize the country and tribal factions. Boseman wears the suit and the position well.
Gurira as General Okoye is the only lady that could pull of a fight scene while wearing a stunning and flowing red gown. What I’m saying is, if I ever get into a fight in an underground dressy casino — I want Gurira on my side. Okoye is loyal but certainly conflicted. Nyong’o as Nakia wants to do as much as she can for the world outside of Wakanda much to the dismay of T’Challa. Don’t let the fact that Nyong’o’s character is quiet in nature mislead you because when she needs to, talking isn’t necessary — action does!
Jordan as Killmonger is the man with the attitude, and it’s not a good thing. Dealing with the death of his own father, he becomes a highly-trained killer with only one goal — make everyone pay for what has made him hostile. Jordan gives every ounce of a bad guy in his performance. Kaluuya as W’Kabi is the friend you don’t ever want to deal with. It seems there is a strong bond between he and T’Challa, yet when things don’t go in his favor he flips the script and Kalyyua makes it stick.
Gollum and Bilbo are reunited for another round of good vs. evil! Freeman as the CIA agent wants to help the people of Wakanda and definitely gets his chance. He might be a mild-mannered agent but stands up for his new friends. Serkis as Klaue gets to be as evil as he wants to be, and nothing seems to bother him, and I have to admit to chuckling once or twice.
Whitaker as Zuri has a story to tell, and I’m going to let him be the one to tell it, so no spoilers from me. Bassett as Ramonda is the queen who sees the kingdom in turmoil but would throw it all away for the safety of her family and people. Duke as M’Baku is big, bad and knows that things are changing and he must choose.
Special shout out goes to Letitia Wright as Shuri! She is her own brand of bad ass being smart, beautiful and very funny. She is the technology of Wakanda, and Wright gives this character everything and then some. I just enjoyed what she brought to the story, and embracing her characters dedication to family, country and science. There is more to her story as well, but you didn’t hear it from me.
Other cast include Florence Kasumba as Ayo, John Kani as T’Chaka, David S. Lee as Limbani, Nabiyah Be as Linda, and Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu.
“Black Panther” is the reason fans flock to the theater to experience an adventure, good story and characters that have jumped from page to screen. I have no doubt that Marvel fans are biting at the bit to be the first to see it, and I am secure in saying they will get their money’s worth.
That being said (here comes the screams), “Black Panther” falls absolutely into the Marvel universe. The formula of conflict, family, bad guys and loyalty is found in every Marvel story, and “Black Panther” follows it to the letter. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the film. On the contrary, it was what we all go to the movies for, right? Popcorn, friends and fun — on that note, “Black Panther” delivers.
Is there anything that absolutely blows me away about the film? Not really, but let me say that isn’t necessarily bad. It just means I saw exactly what I thought I would see and other than the ethereal “Lion King” moment, I went for the ride. It has action, adventure, tekkie stuff, special effects, music and eye candy for all, so take that and run. The cast brings the story everything it needs to crowd please.
So pack up the gang and make it a great Marvel/Disney night at the movies!
In the end — long live the king!