Black Panther

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by him and Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict that has global consequences.

Apparently Wakanda, formed around a mountain where a meteorite of the alien metal vibranium crashed centuries ago, has 5 tribes that went to war with each other in order to rule Wakanda. A warrior ingested a “heart-shaped herb”, that was affected by the metal, and gained superhuman abilities. He became the first “Black Panther”, and united the tribes to form the nation of Wakanda, though the Jabari Tribe chose not to follow the Black Panther’s rule. Over time, the Wakandans used the vibranium to develop highly-advanced technology and chose to isolate themselves from the rest of the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992 Prince N’Jobo, who has abandoned Wakanda after became convinced that Wakanda’s isolationist policies had done more harm than good, and vowed to share its technology with people of African descent around the world in order to help them conquer their oppressors, is confronted by his brother, King T’Chaka, then the Black Panther. When N’Jobo threatens the undercover agent Zuri, T’Challa is forced to kill his own brother and leaves his nephew, who was born to N’Jobo and his American wife, on his own as an orphan. In 2018, T’Challa is taking his role as king after his father’s death when, as part of the ceremony, he is temporarily stripped of his powers, and the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown, but T’Challa defeats M’Baku in ritual combat, becoming the new king. He allows M’Baku to live.

T’Challa is joined at the ceremony by his mother, the current Queen Ramonda and younger sister Shuri as well his General Okoye and Nakia, a spy and his love interest. Ulysses Klaue, a black market arms dealer who N’Jobu had enlisted to infiltrate Wakanda and steal a cache of vibranium, had recently surfaced to sell a stolen Wakandan artifact to a buyer in Busan, South Korea, T’Challa’s closest friend W’Kabi—who lost his parents as a result of Klaue’s actions—urges him to bring Klaue to justice. T’Challa, Okoye & Nahia go to a nighclub in Busan to capture Klaue and run into CIA agent Everett K. Ross, who is posing as the buyer to apprehend Klaue. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is just a front for a technologically advanced civilization, before being broken out by Erik, now an ex-U.S. black ops soldier who goes by the name “Killmonger”.

Ross is seriously injured during the attack, and T’Challa decides to take him to Wakanda where their technology can save him rather than pursue Klaue. Shuri heals Ross with vibranium, while T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda as a token, revealing his identity to the tribal elders and challenging T’Challa for the throne. He challenges T’Challa to ritual combat; during the battle, Zuri begs that he be killed in T’Challa’s place, so Killmonger kills him. Killmonger defeats T’Challa and hurls him over a waterfall. Killmonger is fed the heart-shaped herb, giving him the power of the Black Panther, and orders that the remaining heart-shaped herbs be incinerated. Nakia manages to extract one herb before the rest are burnt. Killmonger enacts his father’s plan and prepares shipments of Wakandan weapons to be distributed to operatives around the world, supported by W’Kabi and his army.

Nakia takes Ramonda, Shuri and Ross to the Jabari tribe where the group finds a comatose T’Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for him sparing M’Baku’s life. Healed by the heart-shaped herb brought by Nakia, T’Challa requests that M’Baku provide his aid to defeat the usurper to the throne, but M’Baku declines. T’Challa returns to Wakanda to complete his combat with Killmonger, as he had neither surrendered nor died. Killmonger commands W’Kabi and his army to attack T’Challa. While the Dora Milaje are initially loyal to Killmonger, they become disgusted with his actions and battle him, causing him to reveal he had stolen a Black Panther suit for himself. In the battle (with huge rhinos wearing vibranium armour) Shuri and Nakia fight alongside the Dora Milaje, while Shuri instructs Ross to remotely pilot a jet to shoot down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons before they can leave the country. M’Baku and the Jabari eventually arrive to fight alongside T’Challa.

T’Challa and Killmonger fall into Wakanda’s vibranium mine and continue to fight below. Okoye tells W’Kabi, her husband, that she who would kill him before abandoning the throne, causing him and his army to surrender. T’Challa uses sonic mining technology to temporarily disrupt Killmonger’s suit and fatally stab him. Killmonger declines an offer to be healed and imprisoned, choosing instead to die free as he watches the sun set over Wakanda. Rejecting Wakanda’s isolationism, T’Challa establishes an outreach center in Oakland to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri continues to help Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.

I really like the movie but the fight scenes between T’Challa and his cousin Eric leaves a lot to be desired as it was dark and the CGi was choppy. Perhaps the fact that I was watching it in a PVR screen where they don’t do dark scenes well also is to blame but the fighting left me feeling unfulfilled. There’s a lot more to the film and it was done well. 8 outta 10!

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