I'll admit I am getting comic book movie fatigue. There are so many of them coming out, and the crappiness that was Spider-Man: Homecoming or Justice League didn't help. But then Thor: Ragnarok surprised the hell out of me by being a totally disarming comedy. Now, the Marvel character Black Panther has his own movie and it's serious in tone, character-driven, and just absolutely fantastic.
Returning home to Wakanda – a hidden, technologically advanced East African nation – Prince T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) prepares to become king following the tragic death of his father. However, there are enemy contenders to the throne who also want Wakanda's secret power, Vibranium, to wage war on the world. It's up to T'Challa as Black Panther, a combination of a magic herb and a super-powered suit, to save not only his kingdom but the entire world.
The character of T'Challa/Black Panther has deep morals but lacks complete confidence, and he's well played by Boseman. Now, it is a general rule that a movie is only as good as it's villain. Well, Black Panther has two doozies – the grandiose Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who has a laser cannon for an arm, and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a lost soul full of hate. Once the layers of Jordan's character are revealed, we do understand why he is doing what he is doing. It may be evil, but it makes sense, and that makes the character resonate.
Black Panther is also bursting with strong women characters. There is T'Challa's feisty potential bride Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), his tech-savvy sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), and his loyal guard Okoye (Danai Gurira). These ladies really know how to kick some ass! Love them all!
Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) paces the film perfectly, knowing exactly when to rev up the action. There's also eye-popping production design, as well as a rousing African-tinged music score by Ludwig Göransson. Black Panther is definitely a superhero comic book movie with a difference.