Ever since Chadwick Boseman appeared on screen as T'Challa in 2016s Captain America: Civil War I wanted to know more. There was charisma, intrigue and depth to the character that needed further exploration, greater fleshing out and a wider story to be told.
However also since Civil War I found my self suffering from a massive case of MCU fatigue. Films after this point mostly fell flat. Subsequent films felt like stepping stones towards Infinity War, place holders to introduce characters and scenarios under which the cavalcade of character would reunite to face off with Thanos. So could Black Panther stop my superhero malaise and give me renewed hope in this never ending story?
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa returns home to the hidden, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader and assume the mantle of the Black Panther. T'Challa soon finds that this is no easy task as he faces challenges from factions within his own country and also the stranger at the gates in the form Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger.
The first thing to say is that Back Panther is one the most well balanced Marvel films in recent years and for me the most enjoyable since Civil War, There is a depth and a care for all characters involved that other films have recently lacked. Boseman and Jordan are the most charismatic pairing Marvel may have ever had on screen to date and indeed Jordan may be the best MCU villain since the original introduction to Loki all the way back in Avengers Assemble. Finally we have a villain with justified cause, a villain that has a back tory and a villain that brings an almost Shakespearean element into play as the sins of T'Challa's father come back to haunt Wakanda.
There are many show-stealers in Black Panther not least the women of Wakanda - Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) all of whom are likeable, interesting, intelligent, strong and wonderfully bad ass. I would more than happily return to a film based around these three in their own right. Much like Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman from last year, these are female comic book characters whose strengths of character give them beauty rather than their beauty being their only strength.
Politics, issues of race, equality, desire for power and the coexistence of technology and the spiritual are all put under Coogler's lens for this film and all receive fair comment and time. Yes, this film ends with the customary crash, bang wallop standard of all Marvel movies, but even this is much more watchable than previous iterations. Time has been taken to ensure the viewer cares about the characters involved and cares about what happens to them, the importance of this can not be overlooked.
Black Panther proves that there is life in the MCU yet so much so that even the post credit snippets have value and actually made me care again about what will happen next.
Black Panther is classified 12A by the BBFC
Director: Ryan Coogler
Running time: 134 mins