Verdict - Black Panther is a satisfying origin story for yet another Avenger which focuses too much on the man rather than the superhero.
Introducing a new character in its standalone movie is always a daunting task; very few people have got it right and a majority of them have failed. The war between Marvel and DC will probably go on until the end of time and currently, the trend favours Marvel. The Disney owned studio has never set a wrong foot since 2008’s Iron Man which launched its extended cinematic universe. It also meant launching new characters and then giving them their solo outings.
Marvel once again succeeds in delivering yet another satisfying origin story for one of its major characters, Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman stars as the titular character who is now the King of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The film takes place immediately after the events of Captain America: Civil War (where Black Panther was first introduced). We see Prince T’Challa (Boseman) coming back home for his coronation. He successfully fends off the challenges and becomes the King.
But, he is struggling to find the right direction, a battle we see him fighting until the end of the film. Wakanda is an isolated country which doesn’t interact with any other nation and hides its riches and technological advancements (thanks to vibranium) under the garb of poverty. The elders and past Kings chose this way as they didn’t want Wakanda to be exploited and now T’Challa faces a revolt from inside as well as outside of his country to make Wakanda visible and connect with the world.
A smuggler named Ulysses Klau teams up with N’Jadaka/ Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) to steal ancient Wakandan artefacts (made of vibranium) from museums and sells them to the Black Market. Later in the film, audiences get to see the connection between N’Jadaka and T’Challa. Michael B. Jordan effectively portrays the villainous character though he had his reasons to turn to the other side (who doesn’t). N’Jadaka breaks our hero (both physically and emotionally) before T’Challa finally becomes a true Black Panther.
The film is an effective origin story but focuses way too much on T’Challa and hence Black Panther the superhero never seems to excite you as much as Marvel’s other heroes. Focusing on the man behind the suit seems to be the trend superhero films are following these days and while Black Panther never feels stretched; it does make for a generic superhero film with no additional flavours. Marvel hasn’t set a wrong foot since 2008 and Black Panther checks all the boxes on how to make a superhero film.
Chadwick Boseman is an effective leading man and his Prince T’Challa is torn between age-old traditions and new world. His character development is integral to the future of Wakanda and he is supported by 2 of the strongest characters audiences will see in recent times. The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira as General Okoye and Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia are formidable in their respective parts. Martin Freeman’s Agent Ross serves as a sort of comic-relief while Stan Lee also makes his trademark cameo appearance.
Black Panther is a satisfying origin story for yet another Avenger which focuses too much on the man rather than the superhero. It doesn’t have the charm of Iron Man or the colourful flair of Thor: Ragnarok but maybe with a few more outings, Black Panther will develop a following of his own. The film doesn’t do anything wrong but it could have done a lot of things right.