Arts & Culture

Review: ‘Black Panther’ highlights African American cinema

Miles Scroggins, Staff Writer

From Ryan Coogler, director of “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station,” comes a royal smash in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Black Panther” delivers a visually groundbreaking and action-packed thrill ride that the world has been waiting for. This film holds a torch for African American Hollywood with excellent performances by an ensemble cast. Along with intense action sequences and incredible visual effects, this movie ultimately stands out from your typical superhero flicks.
Set after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” the young prince T’Challa comes home to Wakanda, a secret technological empire in the shadows of Africa. He returns to take his father’s mantle as king and the Black Panther, the protector of Wakanda. When he feels like he could be doing more to help those in need, he considers breaking tradition to provide advanced tech and resources to the outside world. Little does T’Challa know, a vengeful enemy with a dark past has come to threaten his family and his position as ruler. T’Challa must then suit up and defend his throne to prevent an all-out war on the world.
Chadwick Boseman brings a powerful and inspiring performance to the royal, African warrior Black Panther. His character is full of heart, compassion and strength which succeeds in bringing this hero to life. His charismatic and passionate drive makes the film that much more enjoyable. Michael B. Jordan plays Killmonger, the main antagonist who fights to take T’Challa’s throne. Jordan’s performance was most sensational for bringing a street smart and smooth-talking attitude to this maniacal character. Andy Serkis plays Ulysses Klaue, a criminal who serves as a secondary villain. His character serves as more of a sidekick than an actual bad guy, but his performance adds a good amount of humor into the film. It also features some strong female roles such as tech-savvy Shuri played by Letitia Wright and female warrior Okoye played by Danai Gurira.
Wakanda may be fictional, but the representation is real. The thing that makes the movie stand out from other science-fiction superhero films is the countless references to African history and culture. It is the first Marvel film to have a predominantly black cast, and it touches on subjects of race and African American society. The film plays with historical and political aspects of black lifestyles. It molds into something for all audiences to enjoy and highlights African American narratives in a Hollywood movie. Ultimately, “Black Panther” takes everything we love in an action move and combines them into one big heart-pounding thrill ride.

This article first appeared in the Friday, February 23, 2018, Edition of The Echo.