By Megan Bianco
By now, it’s pretty obvious that Marvel movies are fool-proof, no matter how underwhelming or barely decent the quality of the blockbuster might be. The mega franchise celebrates its 10th anniversary this year since 2008’s Iron Man, and even when critical disappointments like Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor: The Dark World (2013) or Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) occur, they still do well financially. But the current Marvel release, Black Panther, is one of the more original superhero films to come out in terms of direction.
Days after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Prince T’Challa of Wakanda (Chadwick Boseman) is still mourning the death of his father, King T’Chaka (John Kani). At the same time, a new villain, Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) is on Earth ready to overthrow the Wakanda government in revenge for the murder of his own father by T’Chaka. T’Challa’s former flame and Wakanda spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and his precocious, tech savvy little sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) work alongside T’Challa to better Wakanda as a nation. Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya and Angela Bassett co-star.
Black Panther is directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler of Fruitvale Station (2013) and Creed (2015) fame, and this is another success in his rise from indie cred to studio filmmaker. Much like the Guardians of the Galaxy flicks, Panther’s atmosphere and environment aren’t as typically comic-book style as you would think with something like Spider-Man or Batman. The characters are fresh, and some political questions are brought up in a surprisingly fluid way.