For years, fans have clamored for a black James Bond, usually Idris Elba. In Black Panther, fans got something much better. Q has nothing on T’Challa’s sister Shuri, and even a diehard Bond fan like myself will admit this film has much more heart than any entries in that series.
As per the current Marvel standard, Black Panther didn’t disappoint – humor, action, heart. It was equally balanced, more so than Thor Ragnarok or the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, which while quite entertaining have been rather one note relying on humor. This film had moments that truly gripped at the heartstrings and felt more dramatic than is expected from a superhero movie.
Black Panther told the story of a lost son struggling with his father’s death and the weight of a nation on his back, but it also told the story of a civilization with much power deciding what it’s place in a larger world should be – a theme all too personal and all too timeless to a US audience in particular.
The cast was stellar –
|Chadwick Boseman, a solid character actor with tons of versatile roles such as Jackie Robinson in 42
|Michael B. Jordan a young actor who’s been in the business for a long time but it just now really coming on with his star turn in Creed
|Lupita Nyong’o, who many might not realize played the lovable Maz Kanata in the current Star Wars films
|Danai Gurira, who already owns the small screen as Michonne on the long running Walking Dead
|Daniel Kaluuya, star of the hugely successful Get Out last year
|Sterling K. Brown, who just won a Golden Globe for This is Us
|Martin Freeman of Sherlock and Hobbit fame
|Andy Serkis who’s digitized characters from Golem to Caesar of the current Ape films
The director Ryan Coogler, only 32 years old and hot off his passion project Creed with the aforementioned Michael B. Jordan, wove many elements from that franchise into this one. Similar to Rocky IV (which ironically enough is getting a callback in the upcoming Creed 2 as Jordan’s character goes up against the son of Ivan Drago), Coogler relied on the hero getting his rear handed to him halfway through the film, assumed to be done, only to regroup and come back in the end. It’s a proven formula that works and is on grand display here.
The sets, the locations…it was all lavish and worthy of the rich heritage for which this film is deservedly getting so much attention from the African American community in particular. Far too often the world seems to write off that area of the globe when it has so much to offer, both tangibly but also in its wisdom and perspective on life.
It is this deeper meaning that I believe raises this film to the level that it is currently achieving and being praised on by so many Hollywood actors. Black Panther is a great, fun superhero action flick to be sure, but underneath all of that is something much richer that will stand the test of time…and give DC one more example of what’s missing from their offerings.