It’s no secret that this Marvel universe has pulled together quite a cast of characters—a genius billionaire, Norse god, a gifted surgeon, a brilliant scientist/hulk, and a super soldier (to name a few). Now, with “Black Panther,” they’ve found a king, and so much more.
To start, we get Wakanda, a (fictitious…unfortunately) East African nation, that hides its true self from the outside world. Centuries ago, an enormous amount of vibranium (here’s a link for the non-nerds) landed there and given this small nation enormous technological advancements, something they decided long ago they must keep hidden from the outside world, for their own protection. This true Wakandan nation is led by its king, the Black Panther.
However, the outside world usually has a way of getting in, and although it’s been more than 20 years since Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who we last saw in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” made off with a quarter ton of vibranium, his violation of this nation is still felt.
When the current king is killed (which everyone, of course, remembers happened in “Captain America: Civil War”), his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) must take the throne.
The throne that T’Challa inherits is not its challenges and he’s immediately faced with a decision between the way things have always been done and the way others think things should be done.
Lucky for T’Challa he is surrounded by some incredible support—his sister (Letitia Wright), his mother (Angela Bassett), his head of security/bodyguard (Danai Gurira), his ex/spy/generally awesome human being (Lupita Nyong’o), and eventually his own CIA agent (Martin Freeman…Hobbit reunion!).
Meanwhile, Klaue and his henchmen (who happen to include Michael B. Jordan…who is incredible in this movie…and that’s all I’ll say because spoilers) plot to round up all the vibranium they can. What follows is a tour de force that rivals just about everything we’ve seen from Marvel to this point.
The significance of this movie of course goes well beyond its lead up to the next Avengers film, and it is quite literally in right in front of you in black and white. The profoundness of this movie is that it goes so much further than the obvious.
You may have noticed that T’Challa’s inner circle (CIA agent aside) is all female, and more than a few moments in this movie pit the men against the women. But here’s the best part, neither side is entirely right or entirely wrong (but of course the women are more right). The movie addresses gender and cultural divides with incredible grace and thoughtfulness all while including everything else you’d expect from a Marvel Comics movie.
This whole new world feels like just that for Marvel, and it’s clear the winds of change are coming as we ride this gust into “Infinity War.” I for one welcome the change and humbly and gratefully welcome its new king.