Black Panther Review
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With each passing year, the Marvel Cinematic Universe grows to include more heroes and villains, more storylines, and more fascinating settings. Audiences have followed the adventures of loyal soldiers, otherworldly gods, sarcastic billionaires, and a whole lot of science experiments gone wrong. But Black Panther is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Black Panther travels to the African country of Wakanda, a seemingly poor and insignificant nation that’s hiding a remarkable secret. After the king of this highly advanced and secluded country is killed, his son, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), prepares to take over the role of leader and protector of the people of Wakanda. But the stirrings of dissention among the nation’s tribes lead to even more challenges for the new king as one of Wakanda’s old rivals and a new enemy both threaten their solitary way of life—and when the CIA becomes involved, the nation’s secrets begin to come out.

With its latest superhero adventure, Marvel once again exhibits a remarkable ability to let each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe set the tone for the solo films. Instead of forcing a growing group of characters and filmmakers into one specific mold—and one specific tone—each film generally feels like its own new creation. With each new installment, fans know that it won’t be just another Marvel movie; it’ll be something striking and different and maybe even surprising. And while last fall’s Thor: Ragnarok was one of the most playful installments, Black Panther is far deeper—and more political, too.

The film’s individual style is remarkable, mixing the colors and music and style of African culture with a futuristic twist. It’s both tribal and high-tech. In one scene, T’Challa engages in hand-to-hand combat with another Wakandan leader while the rest of the tribes look on. Soon after, he visits the laboratory of his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), who’s like his very own Q.

T’Challa, meanwhile, is a regal character—the thoughtful and benevolent young king of a strong nation. The nation’s history makes it powerful and advanced—something that generations of kings have kept secret from the rest of the world. And as T’Challa faces threats from those who seek to exploit Wakanda’s otherworldly resources, he’s also forced to consider the reasons for their secrecy. He’s challenged by rivals as well as by his friends and advisors—like Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), who believes that Wakanda’s powers could be used for so much good throughout the world. So while the action sequences revolve around villains like Andy Serkis’s wildly over-the-top Ulysses Klaue, that’s just a small part of the conflict.

For that reason, Black Panther isn’t the kind of heart-pounding, action-packed adventure that other installments have been. It’s more serious and dramatic and even more thought-provoking. But by the time it builds to the final battle sequence, audiences will be invested in the characters and their story—making it all the more gripping.

With its individual style, its thoughtful action and drama, and its strong characters, Black Panther is both completely Marvel and perfectly unique. The action isn’t exactly non-stop—and it doesn’t have the playful tone that others do—but it’s a powerful addition to the franchise.

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