Black Panther

Rated 4.0

Scoring director Ryan Coogler to helm Marvel’s latest proves to be a major triumph. His entry into the Marvel universe is a majestic, full-bodied, exhilarating treatment of the African king title character with the crazy cool suit (Chadwick Boseman). Coogler has three films to his credit now, one masterpiece (Fruitvale Station) and two very good ones (Black Panther and Creed). He’s officially one of the best directors currently calling the shots. This is also his third collaboration with actor Michael B. Jordan, who brings a fully fleshed, complicated villain to the screen in Erik Killmonger. Man, you just have to be bad with that last name. The pre-opening credit scene involves Black Panther’s predecessor father having a confrontation in 1992 Oakland, California. A major event takes place as some kids playing basketball look on. It turns out to be one of the more brilliant and heart-wrenching setups for a Marvel movie character yet. The action cuts to present day, where Black Panther/T’Challa is dealing with the passing of his father due to an event that took place in Captain America: Civil War (massive credit to the producers and screenwriters who interlink these films together so well). He’s to become king but must pass through a ritual with some risk involved. He overcomes the obstacles, gets his throne and prepares for his rule. His kingdom doesn’t get a moment to breathe before trouble ensues. In London, Killmonger comes across an ancient weapon forged in Wakanda, Black Panther’s homeland. It’s made from Vibranium, a precious resource that fuels much of Wakanda’s advanced technology, including the Black Panther suits. With the help of Wakanda enemy Klaue (Andy Serkis acting with his real face as opposed to a motion-capture suit), Killmonger obtains the weapon, threatening world stability. The story is told with a stunning level of social relevance for a superhero film, especially when it comes to Killmonger’s motives. He’s not just some guy looking to forward himself for selfish purposes. He’s got some big reasons for having gone bad, and they make him a far more sympathetic character than, say, Loki from Thor.