First, let me start out with the stats for the ones who have been living under a rock. Marvel’s Black Panther made a record of $218 million at the weekend box office - the largest President's Day weekend opening, surpassing 2016 Deadpool of $152 million. It’s received an A+ CinemaScore, the only Marvel film to have done so besides 2012’s The Avengers. Comscore’s PostTrak survey of the audience showed outstanding numbers with 77% rating Black Panther as “excellent” and another 18% as “very good.” The director Ryan Coogler (only 31 years old) is destined for great success. He only had $900K budget for Fruitvale Station, and it made $16 million. He then had $40 million for the movie Creed, and it made $173 million. Marvel gave him a budget of $200 million for Black Panther, and he already gained that back and then some. Kudos to you, Ryan Coogler.
Now back to my opinion on this film – Marvel has created a masterpiece with Black Panther. I plan to keep this review spoiler-free and leave out details because I want you to go in with fresh eyes and experience this the same way I did when I saw the film 2x this past weekend.
With a star-studded cast—including Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and Marvel’s first black superhero star since Blade, and Michael B. Jordan as the villain Erik Killmonger. The movie was so good that, even though I fully support the superhereos, I did sympathize with Killmonger. Jordan gives a top villain performance, giving Magneto and Loki a run for their money. Black Panther is so well-written and executed (not to mention the brilliant soundtrack headed by Kendrick Lamar) that my daughter kept jamming during the movie, it will surely keep breaking records and top all previous Marvel movies.
Wakanda’s most powerful warriors are women. We quickly realize how T’Challa would be nothing without his loyal warriors and Queen Mother. My favorites were the general Okoye (Danai Gurira) taking on enemies single-handedly and if you want to know who the scene stealer is in Black Panther, that award goes to Shuri (Letitia Wright). She steals damn near every scene in the film, and I’m 110% confident that audiences will walk away talking about Shuri long after the film ends. I also would like to add that the focus on her being the smartest person in the universe is so strong, and many characters in the Marvel universe—including Tony Stark himself—have a lot to learn from Shuri’s technology and skills.
Most important for the Marvel universe, it introduces Wakanda, a fictional, technologically advanced African nation that is hidden in plain sight. Wakanda is an abundant source of Vibranium, the alien metal used to make my beloved Captain America’s shield and the Winter Soldier’s arm, the resource sought by Avengers villain Ultron and used to help synthesize Vision into being. This all shows that Wakanda has major significance in the world Marvel and Disney are creating.
It's revolutionary on so many levels. From the cultural relevance, Afrofuturism, family/tradition, and so much more. Black Panther represents an encouraging trend in cinema. With a majority black cast, it portrays black people and culture from a place of power and self-reliance. It shows what black writers, actors, and characters can do when given the opportunity to take center stage. Boom, take that haters!
The final word: I left feeling empowered and excited for what’s to come for T’Challa and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just as Wonder Woman meant so much to women empowerment and women's strength, Black Panther is filled with so much culture and everything I’ve ever desired in a live-action version of this popular superhero and yet so much more. Quite frankly, the experience is indescribable. I left the theater wanting to see this movie at least 10 more times. I already know that Black Panther‘s weight in gold at the box office will be in repeat viewings because we just won’t want this cinematic experience to end. I give it a 5 out 5 stars. If you have seen it, let me know what you thought. Wakanda forever! -xo Mel