K E Y P O I N T S
- Directed by Ryan Coogler, ‘Black Panther’ is the first Marvel film to focus on a black superhero
- With a budget of $200 million, it cost $20 million more than ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ to make and $20 million less than ‘The Avengers’
- The majority of the action takes place in Wakanda, a fictional country in east Africa which has made huge technological advancements thanks to its secret source of Vibranium
- Following the death of his father, Black Panther returns to Wakanda to take his place as King but faces a challenge from an unknown outsider
- The soundtrack was curated by Kendrick Lamar and features SZA, James Blake and Travis Scott.
S N A P V E R D I C T
A record amount of pre-booked cinema tickets, sky-high takings predictions and an almost-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. To say there’s a lot of hype surrounding this release would be an understatement. You’d be hard-pressed to find a film fan who hasn’t uttered the words “excited” and “Black Panther” at some point in the last month and the phrase “hotly-anticipated” has been redefined in the run-up to its release, which is finally upon us.
With a build-up this big comes the possibility of falling short so let’s just clear one thing up now: ‘Black Panther’ lives up to its hype - and then some.
Chadwick Boseman - playing the level-headed hero, Black Panther, King T’Challa - leads a predominantly black cast and the story at the heart of the film is as culturally significant as the cast telling it. Most of the movie takes place in the fictional east African country of Wakanda and as NPR previously observed, it’s a place “completely untouched by colonialism, [which] exists entirely outside the global systems of institutionalised racism”.
With Black Panther’s nemesis, Erik Killmonger, director Ryan Coogler presents a villain whose motivations make sense, while his sense of injustice and anger manage to inspire sympathy. The female characters - of which there are plenty, with some of the most notable being Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Romonda (Angela Bassett), Sgt. Okaye (Danai Gurira) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) - are equally well-rounded, with ambitions and talents that operate independently of the male characters.
‘Black Panther’ is genuinely funny, with quips and one-liners that inspire laughter and applause (this is not an exaggeration, joyous clapping broke out numerous times at the London premiere), rather than sighs and groans, and then there’s the soundtrack, artfully curated by Kendrick Lamar, who took charge after being asked to contribute a song or two. It’s Kendrick we’re talking about, so naturally, the music is a fine work of art in its own right and it passes the test of being a great listen long after the film’s closing credits have ended. Oh and speaking of credits, this is Marvel after all, so stay until the end. The very, very end.
B E S T L I N E S
“What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world."”
Nakie to T’Challa:
“Only you can decide what kind of King you want to be."”
B R E A K O U T S T A R
As Black Panther’s sister, Shuri, Letitia Wright is a certified scene-stealer, with all the best lines and smartest tech.
Thankfully, it’s unlikely that this will be the last fans will see of her and there’s already talk of a standalone Shuri film.
‘Black Panther’ is out in UK cinemas now. Watch the trailer below...