MARVEL STUDIOS presents Black Panther, a story which, in my opinion, has it all . . . rich traditions, strong family ties, loyal friendships, mind-blowing technology, fierce girl power, and, of course, incredible action sequences. Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa, the son of the King of Wakanda, a fictional East African nation. When his father dies, T’Challa dutifully returns home to assume the throne of his beloved land.
Wakanda is a utopia, where technology advancements are made possible through a natural resource that’s been a long kept secret there. Cut off from the world intentionally, the citizens of Wakanda keep to themselves to protect their people from the chaos that exists throughout other parts of the world.
When he dons his superhero suit, T’Challa assumes the role of Black Panther. Unlike some superheroes, whose true identities and powers are kept hidden, the people of Wakanda not only know of Black Panther’s powers, they are in part responsible for his prowess and celebrate it. One of my favorite characters of the film was T’Challa’s sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. Shuri is a scientist whose persistence and dedication in her lab produce technological advancements that help Black Panther become virtually invincible. I love that MARVEL STUDIOS presented Shuri as being a confident and bold genius.
Although T’Challa is loved as the new king, not everyone is on board with the idea that he should be the king. As Wakanda’s longstanding tradition allows, challenges are made to his reign, and T’Challa questions whether he has it in him to be the great leader his late father was. As T’Challa searches his soul and delves into his father’s past, discoveries made shake everything he’s ever believed. I liked how the story delved into the idea that others’ past mistakes don’t dictate one’s future, and admired T’Challa’s resolve to do better than the man he once thought was flawless.
Lupita Nyong’o doesn’t star as T’Challa’s love interest, but rather his true soulmate, Nakia. Even though he is now king, Nakia doesn’t just mindlessly follow him. Instead, she challenges him to do more to help the world beyond Wakanda’s borders. I appreciated the theme of helping those in need.
My husband Mike saw Black Panther with me, and shared, “I wasn’t as familiar with Black Panther as I was with other superheroes, but as I watched, I kept thinking about how his powers go beyond his physical capabilities once he puts on his suit. His moral character was admirable with or without the suit, and he’s the kind of superhero you’d want your kid to emulate.”
Mike continued, “There were elements of James Bond, Batman, Spiderman, and Thor, but nothing felt copied or stale. The storyline kept my attention from the beginning, and I was pleased how many layers there were to Black Panther; it wasn’t just an action movie. I think it’s a definite must see!”
Mike and I discussed that although there’s some violence and one flick of a middle finger, we would be fine with our almost-eleven year old daughter seeing it. In addition to Shuri and Nakia’s characters, there are so many female warriors, and we loved the theme shown throughout that women are equal to men in terms of intelligence, strength, and bravery. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Additionally, with February being Black History Month, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the historical significance of the Black Panther cast, comprised almost entirely of African Americans. Mike summed it up by saying, “If 2017’s Wonder Woman broke the mold and set the standard for female superheroes in a lead role, then Black Panther has done the same for African-American superheroes. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wonder Woman and Black Panther are breaking records for both the quality and profitability of superhero movies. People are tired of seeing white guys save the world.”
Movie times: click here
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Ryan Coogler
Actors: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o
Running Time: 2 hours 14 minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture