Black Panther crushed box office records with $400M+ debut over the holiday weekend and we can see why. Marvel Studios has always excelled at bringing comic book superheroes to life on the big screen in a way that leaves superhero fans chomping at the bit for more by the time the credits roll. However, Black Panther sets itself apart from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its timeliness, empowering messages, and diversity.
Black Panther is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is returning home after his father’s death to take up the mantle of King. Throughout the movie, we follow T’Challa’s journey toward upholding Wakanda’s traditions while at the same time realizing some of those traditions need to be revisited in a different light. While Wakanda appears to be the “poorest country in the world,” it is anything but. Hidden behind a force field is an incredible, technologically-advanced country thanks to vibranium, a rare ore found almost exclusively in Wakanda. It turns out, Wakanda has been protecting this massive store of vibranium to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. But there are some, like Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) who know of the vibranium and want to get it out into the world.
Supporting our main hero is a cast of really strong, empowering characters who all had their moments to shine, particularly the women. The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira kicks ass and takes names as Okoye, the head of the Wakandan King’s women-only security force, while Lupita Nyong’o uses her stealth and her desire to help those who are less fortunate as Nakia. Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett add considerable gravitas as a Wakandan spiritual guru and T’Challa’s mother, respectively. Then there is Letitia Wright, who nearly steals the spotlight in every scene as T’Challa’s little sister Shuri. Shuri is a tech genius who spends her time building weapons and armor for Black Panther, but her sarcasm and wit adds a wonderful touch of humor to the movie.
The movie has an engaging storyline filled with non-stop action while also paying extra special attention to world-building. We see Wakanda filled with culture, traditions, and ancient rituals, which isn’t something we tend to see focused on in Marvel films. It was refreshing to really be able to explore the world of Wakanda and its culture.
Overall, the movie is a wild ride and Marvel has really stepped it up a notch with the latest installment into their cinematic universe. After watching the movie, we are left to wonder how vibranium will appear and be used in future Marvel movies and how it may or may not affect the Avengers. Then there’s also the matter of the final Infinity Stone — the Soul Stone — and its whereabouts. While it didn’t make an appearance in Black Panther, according to Collider, there were some major clues in Black Panther that lead us to believe the stone is in Wakanda.
Hopefully, we’ll find out if those clues are right when Avengers: Infinity War Pt I hits theatres this May.