Black Panther (PG)
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan
Directed by Ryan Coogler
With Black Panther, Marvel Studios enters a new phase: its first movie with a black actor, Chadwick Boseman, in the lead. (Pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel was also the first to launch an African-American-led movie, Blade, starring Wesley Snipes, in 1998). While Black Panther offers a refreshing and exciting change of scenery in the franchise (now in its 10th year), it’s not without its shortcomings.
BAGUS! CHADWICK BOSEMAN
Steely, stoic and magnetic, Boseman’s T’Challa, the ruler of the fictional African nation Wakanda, is a statesman first, and superhero second. Simply put, he was born to play a king.
BLEAH! THE ACTION
Chalk it up to Ryan Coogler’s (Creed) inexperience as an action director, the fight scenes are mostly quick cuts and close-ups. The CG-heavy vehicular chase in Busan is kinda disappointing, but it does end on a funny note.
BAGUS! THE SETS & COSTUMES
Wakanda is a sight to behold: a thriving metropolis where hi-tech and tradition meet. The tribal outfits — like Danai Gurira’s elite guard garb — are absolutely gorgeous. The MCU movies are generally visually stunning, unlike the DC ones, which are sooo depressing to look at.
BAGUS! SOCIAL COMMENTARY
It may be a fantasy but it’s rooted in contemporary concerns, unafraid to steer away from the #BlackLivesMatter topic. How a secretly powerful country like Wakanda chooses to address those issues forms the basis of T’Challa’s beef with Michael B Jordan’s aptly-named villain Erik Killmonger.
BLEAH! THE ENDING
Call it superhero fatigue, but I’m rather blasé about final act brawls. Here, you know Black Panther will emerge triumphant ’cos he’s also in Avengers: Infinity War (out Apr 26), where he famously says to Captain America, “Get this man a shield!” Make mine a Tiger. (***)