Seated in the row behind prolific author Tananarive Due and Entertainment Weekly columnist Anthony Brenzican, I was excited to share my thoughts about what we were about to experience.
I don't think anyone would argue that Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther has one of the coolest looking suits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (The effervescent British import Wright and actress/playwright Gurira, especially, feel like they could easily hold their own films; it's hard to remember the last time any females, let alone women of color, even came close to creating such fully formed roles in a cineplex tentpole.) Martin Freeman is great too as Central Intelligence Agency agent Everett Ross, a Bisquick-blond Boy Scout who spends about 90 percent of the movie just looking awed to be there.
But Black Panther is so much more than the title character's first standalone film. "Then I saw [the scenes with T'Challa and T'Chaka] and was blown away". The solution to the problem being: We don't have enough of this, so we're going to make more.
Black Panther pits T'Challa against Erik Killmonger, a hulking whirlwind of rage and charisma that whips through Wakanda with self-righteous fury.
According to the British Board of Film Classification, Black Panther has a run time of 134 minutes (2hrs 14 minutes)!
BLACK PANTHER Movie Review!
Past Coogler star Michael B. Jordan (from "Creed" and "Fruitvale Station") draws praise as the "politically engaged" villainous Killmonger - which is good news for Jordan after he endured 2015's flop featuring Marvel characters, "Fantastic Four". Dual-wielding weapons is Letitia Wright (Urban Hymn, Humans) as Shuri, tech genius and T'Challa's 16-year-old sister.
The question of whether this isolationist nation should prioritise protecting its people above all else, or reach out to those less fortunate, is dealt with thoughtfully by Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole, who position the conundrums within the context of real history. It shakes off a sluggish start thanks to a memorable cast of characters going up against Marvel's best-realized villain in nearly a decade.
"Don't you just want to play a character where you lay on the sofa and do nothing at all?" I'm also curious to know the fate of one of them, since they have yet to be announced in Avengers: Infinity War.
The final word: it's afro-futuristic and Blackity-black as hell. Quite frankly, the experience is indescribable. Its themes including the importance of a wealthy nation taking on responsibility for the betterment of the whole world especially hit home for me in the Trumpian age of America First.
Aiding and abetting this unsafe ploy is Erik Killmonger (a beyond-charismatic Michael B. Jordan of Creed), an ex-US military agent who knows more than he is letting on about the mystical Wakandan way of life. "For children (and adults) of color who have longed forever to see a superhero who looks like them, Marvel's first black-superhero film is an answered prayer, a landmark adventure and a new film classic". And again after that. T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), not yet a king, is riding in his hovercraft shuttle with spy and former paramour Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and General Okoye (Danai Gurira), leader of the Dora Milaje, the Panther's personal honor guard.