The country of Wakanda is seemingly the poorest country on Earth, but, in reality they are the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. They, have, however ensured that this secret does not become wider knowledge as it would threaten Wakanda’s peaceful tranquility. However, an outsider threatens to use Wakanda’s power for evil and aims for world domination meaning that Wakanda’s secret may no longer a secret to the outside world.
The Black Panther film seemed to be making more buzz than The Avengers: Infinity War sequel (which is to be released later in the year). Naturally, much of that positive buzz (and, depressingly, some negative buzz) has been around the fact that The Black Panther is the first Marvel film to feature a predominately black cast, and spends most of its time in Africa. As shown by the immense anticipation this movie clearly means a lot to a great number of people who perhaps feel they are finally been represented in the biggest of genres.
Which is a shame really then that the most revolutionary thing about it is the cast and setting. I liked the cast (who were all perfect in their roles) and setting (it provided an interesting backbone for the film’s main themes), but the film followed the exact same formula as the many Marvel movies before it, making the ‘radical’ tags placed upon seem quite overly reactionary. Yet, the Marvel formula has proven to work again and again, and The Black Panther is another hit for the studio.
As with many other Marvel movies, it is the cast that make the film. Chadwick Boseman makes for a likeable lead as T'Challa who, driven by the desire to rule as a good king. is caught in the middle of a powerful debate that looks to change Wakanda isolationist stance. Boseman initially made his debut in Captain America: Civil War and he seems more then capable of holding a film on his own without any other superhero backing him up.
On the slightly more weaker side Michael B Jordan’s Erik is not a complex villain, even if his motivation was one that you could empathise with (Andy Serkis was more fun to watch in a villainous role). It’s almost as though the film wanted to avoid dwelling too much about his motivations so that it wasn’t another black film solely about black issues, instead it aimed to be just a film that’s wide ranging in its appeal.
As likeable as Chadwick Boseman is, it’s the women of Black Panther who steal the show. Lupita Nyong'o is great, but I very much liked Letita Wright's scene stealing performance as the gadget girl and firesome warrior, Shur.
Wakanda is miles ahead in terms of technological advance to the rest of world, and their staunch isolationist policies and perhaps even selfishness in their desire to remain hidden when over 100 million people are starving close to home is an issue that dominates Wakandain politics. The film doesn’t take the country of Wakanda to account for their culpability at the death of 1000s and perhaps gives them an easy ride. However, it does prove to be the main motivation for Erik’s desire to use Wakandain weaponry to allow fellow marginalized black people (who fee; they have been betrayed by Wakanda) to overcome the racial barriers that society has set up.
It's a fun film that copies Marvel very well worn, and successful, formula of which there is very little reason to change.