At long last, Wakanda is entering the public eye with Marvel’s latest film “Black Panther,” and critics are hailing Ryan Coogler’s adaptation of Marvel’s famous black superhero as a triumph of blockbuster cinema.
With 49 early reviews in, “Black Panther” currently has a perfect 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics raving about Coogler’s vision for the African utopia and its conflicted king/superhero, played by Chadwick Boseman. Kudos have also gone to Coogler’s long-running collaborators, including including production designer Hannah Beachler, editor Michael P. Shawver, and newly minted Oscar nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison for helping turn Wakanda into a living, breathing world.
But the biggest praise has gone to the film’s supporting cast, with critics hailing Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Erik Killmonger as the latest addition to Marvel’s recent streak of intriguing villains after years of forgettable foes. The women of Wakanda have also been praised as show-stealers, with breakout star Letitia Wright standing out as Black Panther’s excitable tech wunderkind sister Shuri.
“‘Black Panther’ boasts a lot of black talent on both sides of the camera, which is unusual enough for a big studio movie, but this is also one of the most Africa-centric films Hollywood has ever produced,” wrote TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde. “American viewers don’t get much of a look at one of the planet’s most gorgeous and populous continents, so it’s exciting to see the wildly popular Marvel movies take us there.”
Read more of “Black Panther”‘s rave reviews below:
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“With dialogue that deftly explores serious questions, such as how much if anything do wealthy countries owe the poor and oppressed of the world, ‘Black Panther’ draws energy from Coogler’s sense of excitement at all he’s attempting. The result is a superhero movie that’s worth seeing twice, and that is a rare sighting indeed.”
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“It’s fascinating to watch a film of this size casually reckon with (or even merely allude to the existence of) the complex dynamic between Africans and their extended diaspora. The villain speaks in the language of slaves and oppressors, the hero wants to rewrite those roles from scratch, and the friction between their differing ideas of power is manifest through character-driven conflict that feels rooted to the ground they’re fighting over. It doesn’t matter that you know who wins in the end, or that the movie seldom deviates from its staid ‘Macbeth’ structure, because being Black Panther and becoming Black Panther are two very different things.”
Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds
“It’s afro-futuristic and Blackity-black as hell. It’s 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.”
Tim Grierson, Screen International
“Even if “Black Panther“‘s story is a little plodding, Coogler and his creative team have crafted an absorbing, specific world for the viewer to explore. Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison and production designer Hannah Beachler envision a Wakanda that, to the rest of the world, looks like just another desolate, impoverished African country — only to reveal that the seemingly inconsequential nation is actually incredibly technologically advanced thanks to a treasure trove of a rare metal that powers its hidden cities and sophisticated spacecraft. Combined with Ludwig Göransson’s propulsive, rhythmic score, “Black Panther” has a look and feel that separate it from other MCU movies, placing the film in its own unique universe.”
Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“It’s important to the movie’s politics and myth-building that he is surrounded by a phalanx of women, among them a battalion of women warriors called the Dora Milaje. These aren’t moviedom’s irritatingly token strong chicks, the tough babes with sizable biceps and skills but no real roles. For all his father issues, T’Challa is enveloped by women who cushion him in maternal, military, sisterly and scientific support. A female general (Danai Gurira) stands by his side; his baby sister (a vivacious Letitia Wright) provides gadgets and withering asides à la Bond’s gadget guy. Angela Bassett swans in as the royal mother, while Lupita Nyong’o, as a spy, makes the case for her own spinoff.”
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Unlike other Marvel superheroes, T’Challa is a king, a real-life royal with a burden of responsibility. Does he keep Wakanda safe by hiding its technological advances or share them with volatile intruders, who are eager to weaponize resources meant to strengthen and heal? In “Get Out,” Jordan Peele satirized white appropriation of black culture. Here, Coogler makes black identity invincible, but avoids simplification by turning Wakanda into a society of different tribes, each with its own customs, goals and political agendas that reflect a conflicted world very much like our own.”