Black Panther is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and it stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, as part of Phase Three of the MCU.
Many millennia ago a vibranium meteorite crashed into Africa, over time the vibranium in the meteorite greatly enhanced the soil of the lands. Five tribes found the rich soils and a massive amounts of vibranium in a mountain ready to be mined that can last for thousands of years and began a war over the land until a Shaman ate a heart-shaped herb infused with vibranium to gain supernatural strength and end the war. Four of the tribes joined the shaman to form a new nation called Wakanda, while the other one, named the Jabari, exiled themselves to the mountains.
For countless generations the king of Wakanda has per tradition consumed the Heart Herb and taken the mantle of "Black Panther" to protect Wakanda and their vibranium. Wakanda used their vibranium to quickly progress in technology faster than any country in the world, however the nation feared that other countries will wage war to take vibranium for themselves so a massive cloaking dome was placed over the country to hide themselves while putting a facade of poverty-stricken farmers with almost no resources.
In 1992 a large amount of Vibranium was stolen by terrorist Ulysses Klaue, allegedly with the help of the king's brother N'Jobu who fled to USA. King T'Chaka sent his councilor Zuni to spy on N'Jabu and later decided to confront his brother himself. The confrontation resulted in T'Chaka killing his own brother in self-defense. T'Chaka knew N'Jobu had a son but he decided to leave his nephew abandoned and orphaned instead of taking him to Wakanda.
In the present day T'Chaka was murdered during the Sokovia Accords conflict, forcing his son T'Challa to take the throne and become the new Black Panther prematurely. After the Avengers conflict ended T'Challa went back to Wakanda to be properly coronated but first he tried to convince his former lover Nakia to come back to Wakanda for the coronation. Nakia insists on staying away from Wakanda to support the African countries that are actually poverty stricken and feels Wakanda should be sharing their resources with them, but nevertheless agrees to go to the coronation.
As per tradition, each of the Wakandan tribes can nominate a warrior to challenge the prince for the throne, the challenge absolutely won't end until either warrior yields or dies and T'Challa must be stripped of his Black Panther powers to make the fight fair. At first none of the tribes challenge T'Challa but the leader of the Jabiri M'Baku appears to volunteer himself as challenger. T'Challa wins by forcing the M'Baku to yield so he wouldn't die, therefore officially making him the new King of Wakanda. Later that night T'Challa is given back his Black Panther powers by eating another Heart Herb, during the process he contacts the afterlife and has a brief talk with T'Chaka. Meanwhile in USA, N'Jobu's son Erik Stevens schemes with Ulysses Klaue to get him more vibranium in exchange of getting Erik into Wakanda.
T'Challa goes to his sister Shuri's lab where she's working on new devices and improved Black Panther armors. After picking one of the armors news break that Ulysses Klaue was spotted in USA. T'Challa, general Okoye, and some of Wakanda's best warriors all plan an assault on Klaue to capture and take him to Wakandan justice for the stolen vibranium. The Wakandans track Klaue to a night club where T'Challa also finds general Everett Ross, who he had met when he captured Helmut Zemo back during the Avengers Civil War. Ross is also planning to catch Klaue and is reminds T'Challa that he kept secret the fact that "the king of a third-world country of farmers is running around in a bulletproof cat costume". Ulysses Klaue uses a mechanized arm cannon to fend off the Wakandans and Ross' agents but he's ultimately captured by T'Challa and taken into Ross' custody.
Ross interrogates Klaue over his weaponry and vibranium deals, Klaue insists that the Wakandans are liars hiding their technology and power which Ross shurgs off at first but becomes suspicious over T'Challa's Black Panther armor. Suddenly Erik Stevens appears and rescues Klaue while mortally injuring Ross, who had shielded Nakia from a bullet. T'Challa tries to stop Stevens, he failes but not before noticing Stevens was wearing a Royal Wakandan collar. Okoye reluctantly agrees to take Ross back to Wakanda to give him medical attention since he saved Nakia's life. Back in Wakanda the residents are very disappointed at T'Challa for failing to capture Klaue and T'Challa forces Zuri to tell him the truth about what happened in 1992 and how his father left a young Wakandan boy orphaned and homeless. Devastated, T'Challa begins to doubt his father's regime and figures out that whoever rescued Klaue must be his cousin.
Everett Ross wakes up in Wakanda and identifies the person that took Kalue as "Erik Killmonger", a dangerous terrorist that specializes in taking down nations from the inside. The Wakandans remain weary of "an outsider" but allow Ross to stay only out of gratitude for saving Shuri. A few days later Killmonger arrives at Wakanda with Ulysses Klaue's corpse as leverage to talk to the king. Killmonger reveals himself to the N'Jadaka, N'Jobu's son therefore he's part of the royal family, meaning he has the birthright to challenge T'Challa for the throne. T'Challa knows N'Jadaka is up to no good but still accepts the challenge. Killmonger tells T'Challa that he plans on helping poor countries around the world... by turning Wakanda into a terrorist nation waging war against every rich country in the world and forcing a dictatorship regime with Wakanda ruling the world. Killmonger overpowers T'Challa during the fight and throws him down a large waterfall, seemingly killing him and becoming the new king. Killmonger is given the Heart Herb and immediately starts his plans to wage war. Okoye, despite her friendship with T'Challa's family, is forced to side with Killmonger.
Shuri, Nakia, Ross, and T'Challa's mother escape the palace with a heart herb and a Black Panther suit and go to the Jabiri tribe hoping M'Baku can take down Killmonger before its too late. M'Baku refuses but reveals that they found T'Challa barely alive and rescued him. T'Challa is given the herb to recover his power, during his contact with the afterlife again T'Challa angrily asks T'Chaka why he left Stevens abandoned that night. T'Chaka says that he did so because he had to keep Wakanda secret no matter what. At that moment T'Challa decides that Wakanda's paranoia to stay hidden is what created the monster Killmonger who is about to turn the country into a terrorist group; Wakanda cannot stay hidden any longer.
The next day, before Killmonger's fleet can depart, T'Challa returns to confront Killmonger once more; since he didn't yield and is still alive the challenge for the throne hasn't ended. Okoye rebels against Killmonger and declares that he's not the true king yet. One of the four tribes sides with Killmonger while the others side with T'Challa, starting a massive fight. T'Challa and Killmonger fight once more, falling into a train railroad that deactivates Vibranium forcing the two to fight without relying on their Black Panthers while Ross takes down the fleet. Ultimately, T'Challa comes out victor by fatally stabbing his cousin in the chest, just like T'Chaka did to N'Jobu more than 20 years ago.
Accepting defeat, N'Jadaka congratulates T'Challa on his victory and comments that when he was a kid his father always talked about the beautiful sunsets of Wakanda. T'Challa honors N'Jadaka's wish by taking him to watch a sunset before he died peacefully.
In the aftermath, T'Challa regains the throne and declares to that Wakanda will no longer hide themselves to the world and will help poor countries around the world, for that he purchases the building where N'Jobu was murdered and turns it into Wakanda's first international outreach center and holds a conference at the UN where he publicly reveals Wakanda's real nature.
In the post-credits scene Shuri is taking care of Bucky, who is slowly recovering from his brainwashing and now goes by the nickname "White Wolf".
Why It Rocks Forever
- The movie tackles the issue of poor countries around the world not getting support from rich countries, but in a rather subtle way that doesn't shove the message down the viewer's throat nor pander to anyone.
- Ulysses Klaue, who briefly appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, makes a return as a secondary antagonist as a callback to how Klaue was the one who murdered T'Chaka in the comics.
- Amazing, top-notch acting and performances, especially from Chadwick Boseman.
- Wonderful cinematography with many impressive backgrounds.
- Klaue and Shuri are both amazing and hilarious comic reliefs.
- Dramatic and emotional moments, like Killmonger's backstory, when both T'Challa and Killmonger enter the Ancestral Plane, and when T'Challa falls off a waterfall.
- Top-notch and wonderful CGI in the Wakanda sections of the film.
- Good action scenes, however the movie isn't purely action and is very character-driven.
- Nakia is much more interesting than most "love interest" characters in other MCU movies. She isn't just there to be rescued and proves to be a capable warrior on her own.
- Okoye is a great character, and is portrayed amazingly by Danai Gurira.
- Killmonger is a sympathetic well-written villain, something that doesn't happen very often in MCU movies. Killmonger is clearly an evil antagonist but at the same time he has a valid reason behind his actions, so much that even T'Challa agrees to his leftist views at the end.
- The movie is for the most part completely focused on its own plot. Outside a few flashbacks of T'Chaka's death in Captain America: Civil War, Ulysses Klaue, and Everett Ross, the rest of the MCU is completely ignored.
- Excellent directing of Ryan Coogler.
- It has a great soundtrack of Ludwig Göransson, and it is also the first ever soundtrack released in the MCU that has singers.
- It's so good that it's the first ever superhero film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also proved to the Academy that just because it was a big superhero blockbuster, doesn't mean that it isn't as good as smaller films, causing the Academy to back off on the idea of making a "Best Popular Films" category.
- "The REAL question is WHAT ARE THOSE?!"
- After Chadwick Boseman passed away, the intro on the Disney+ version was changed specifically as a tribute to him.
- Despite being better written than most MCU villains, Killmonger is still the typical rival with the same powers as the protagonist.
- The CGI is not the best except for anything in Wakanda, especially the final battle with T'Challa and Killmonger which looks like a video game cutscene.
- Despite how advanced Wakanda is, their houses are still made out of mud and straw and many of the buildings look very dirty. Though it might make sense because they might be learning survival skills for if Wakanda gets destroyed.
- The line where Killmonger talks about his ancestors jumping off a slave boat to their death begs the question of how they're his ancestors to begin with.
Black Panther received critical acclaim for its direction, screenplay, acting (particularly that of Boseman, Jordan, and Wright), costume design, production values, and soundtrack, although the CG effects received some criticism. Many critics considered it to be one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance, with organizations including the National Board of Review and American Film Institute naming it one of the top 10 films of 2018. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 97% with an average score of 8.3/10, based on 515 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories—and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.". It was the best-reviewed live-action superhero film on the site, beating The Dark Knight and Iron Man (both 94%). Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 88 out of 100, based on 55 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, the second live-action superhero film to receive that grade after Marvel's The Avengers. Filmgoers polled by comScore's PostTrak service gave the film a 95% positive score and an 88% "definite recommend", with a third of people planning to see the film again.
- Black Panther was first introduced in a Fantastic Four comic in 1966. He was co-created by comic book icons Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
- Black Panther was developed in the early 1990s to star Wesley Snipes as the Marvel superhero. The inability to match a script with a director caused the project to stall – but allowed Snipes to work on a different Marvel project, Blade.
- This movie was the first comic book movie and superhero movie to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
- This is the second time that cinematographer Rachel Morrison has worked with Ryan Coogler. They’d collaborated previously on Coogler’s first feature film, Fruitvale Station.
- Black Panther’s presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was first teased as early as Iron Man 2 in 2010? At the end of that film, Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark is seen standing in front of a map which features the fictional African nation of Wakanda.
- Production designer Hannah Beachler created a “bible” for Wakanda’s history that was 515 pages long.
- Coogler used color coding to tell a story. Purple represents spirituality, royalty and high rank while the color blue in the film represents colonization, which is first seen in N’Jobu’s apartment.
- Nakia, portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o was inspired by Harriet Tubman. The scene in which Nakia manages to spirit away Shuri and Romanda is meant to call up the historical icon and the Underground Railroad.
- A lot of the background plates for the Wakandan exteriors were shot in South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia.
- The waterfall set was 120 feet wide and 40 feet tall with 150,000 gallons of water running through it.
- Ryan Coogler was inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln when filming the waterfall challenge scene, specifically the political arguments and challenges inside congress.
- Costume Designer Ruth Carter made history as the first African American to win the Costume Design Oscar.
- This movie inspired a rise in black cat adoptions, one shelter in particular ran out of black cats. Of course they names the kitties Killmonger.