Black Panther is a brand-new kind of Marvel movie. Sure, there are fights, chase scenes, costumed heroes and menacing villains, but the movie is one of the few installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that isn’t too concerned about “the bigger picture.”
And that’s a great thing for the future of America’s favorite superhero franchise. Without spoiling anything, here’s our review of what you can expect from Black Panther, Marvel’s boldest movie yet.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
For years, Marvel fans have been hearing about Thanos, the Infinity Stones and the Avengers. But in Black Panther, all three are largely absent. Instead of focusing on the epic, sprawling arc that’s been setup in Marvel’s last 10 movies, Black Panther gives fans their first peek at what the MCU might look like after the events of May’s Infinity War and 2019’s untitled sequel. The MCU’s future might be in more self-contained movies about interesting, unique superheroes and their stories.
Black Panther centers around the newly-crowned King T’Challa, who also serves as the country’s masked protector, Black Panther. The movies starts as he takes the throne as leader of a fictional African country called Wakanda. You might remember T’Challa/Black Panther from his MCU introduction in Civil War. But no worries if not, he’s fully re-introduced here.
And what an introduction it is. Black Panther is like Batman meets Captain America, a mysterious warrior and a noble leader. He’s calm, collected and just plain cool. But that’s not the whole story because Black Panther isn’t just another hero in a suit.
WHO IS BLACK PANTHER?
As king, T’Challa also holds the title of “Black Panther.” It’s a ceremonial position that makes the king the protector of Wakanda, too. The Black Panther gets his powers by eating a special Heart-Shaped Herb which grants him superhumanly acute senses, enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, healing, and reflexes.
In fact, T’Challa/Black Panther is probably now the third most powerful superhero in the MCU, behind The Hulk and Thor. What does he do with that power? In addition to being the protector of his people, he’s the representative of his country, Wakanda.
He rules Wakanda, and this magical African country is one of the major highlights of the movie. Like Batman’s Gotham or Superman’s Metropolis, Wakanda feels like an actual place. There are sprawling building, fast-moving trains, and it’s a technological wonderland that’s powered by a mysterious source of energy called Vibranium.
Vibranium is found only in Wakanda, after a meteor crashed there millions of years ago. Cool fact: Captain America’s shield is made of the durable metal.
The rare metal powers Wakanda in interesting ways, too. Despite being hidden from the rest of the world, Wakanda is likely the world’s most advanced society thanks to the energy source.
Vibranium also powers Black Panther’s suit, which is in the running for coolest superhero suit in history.
As the Black Panther, T’Challa wears a black and silver-lined combat suit that is composed of Vibranium-mesh that is lightweight, vibration-absorbent, nigh-indestructible and renders him immune to most physical damages especially from collisions and conventional weapons such as firearms.
Not only is the suit completely bulletproof, but it stores energy from enemy blows and can discharge that energy later with devastating effects. Let’s just say that plenty of bad guys learn the power of his suit the hard way.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
I won’t spoil the fun of the movie by giving a plot summary, but here’s the gist.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. Things don’t go as planned.
T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. Eventually, he gets his fiercest rival yet in Erik Killmonger. A tough name for a tough guy. He claims he should be king of Wakanda and wants the position of Black Panther.
T’Challa must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Wakandan army, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a civil war.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a must-see movie for Marvel fans and comic book aficionados. There are great fights, interesting characters, incredible technology, unexpected laughs and plenty of adventure. It might not fit into the typical Marvel mold you’re used to, but this incredibly unique movie blazes an entirely new path for superhero movies.