Here’s why you should see ‘Black Panther’ before ‘Avengers: End Game’
Whether you’re a Marvel fan or just possess a passing interest in the cinematic arts, don’t even think about gracing your local cinema to see Avengers: End Game until you’ve seen Black Panther.
Yes, we know you might have superhero movie fatigue; yes, we know you might still be mourning the loss of our great love Stan Lee; and yes, we know that you might just want to Netflix ‘n’ Chill in your pants this weekend, but if you want to round out the Marvel Cinematic Universe story that began a whopping ten years ago, ya gotta get down with Black Panther.
Not only is the film a fresh, genre-bending flick with energy and charm bursting off the screen, but Black Panther is also an absolute riot of a time at the movies, a politically charged thriller that speaks volumes about the times we’re living in. We felt the need to get the praise off our chests. So before you check Avengers: End Game out, read our top eight reasons to get hyped for your trip to Wakanda.
Exploring the city-state of Wakanda
Social media was totally abuzz with Black Panther trailers and teasers trickling out leading up to its release. The African-set superhero film was set in the fictional country of Wakanda – a nation vastly technologically advanced compared with the rest of the world thanks to its Vibranium resources. As such, it’s put up a literal barrier to keep everyone else out.
Wakanda is also a full display of afro-futurism – an artistic movement that might finally get its moment in the sun. Exploring this city-state nation, complete with mixed biomes from snowy mountains to deep canyons, is an absolute treat.
The Tolkien white guys
Not exactly high on our list because, I mean, look at the film! It’s still worth pointing out, however, that Bilbo Baggins and Gollum get a good show. It’s quite rare to see live-action Andy Serkis, and he’s great fun in Black Panther. Meanwhile, Martin Freeman’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to be just wandering around being awed by everything.
Michael B. Jordan makes the best Killmonger
Erik “Killmonger” is the antagonist in Black Panther, and what he presents is honestly one of the best villains since the Joker in The Dark Knight. Killmonger is guided by angry rationale, and a fully fleshed-out motivation that’s steeped in emotion. Michael B. Jordan brings both deftness and weight to the role – an absolute highlight of the flick.
Its take on race is an absolute triumph
Turns out Spike Lee’s seminal film Do the Right Thing ended up a central inspiration for the racial commentary in Black Panther. It’s a clever film that manages to explore, with substance and utter respect, the black experience. Director Ryan Coogler has his finger on the pulse of present debates, as well as debates that have been raging for decades – it just took a tentpole superhero film to flesh out this conversation about race. In this respect, Black Panther is a total triumph.
Letitia Wright is everything
Letitia Wright had a stellar 2018 – having starred in Black Mirror season four’s best episode “Black Museum” – and her turn in Black Panther catapulted her to stardom. While she’s great comedic relief, and her cheeky charisma is utterly infectious, Wright’s character Shuri is also bold and fearless. She’s a young woman who constantly roasts her brother, King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), but she also happens to be the smartest person on the planet, with more brains than Tony Stark. So rad!
Dora Milaje is also everything
Wakanda’s highest military leadership is the Dora Milaje – an elite group of women warriors, led by Okoye (Danai Gurira) – who protect the nation at all costs. Coded into the narrative is an in-depth focus on the female lens, showing women as leaders & warriors. A noteworthy scene involves T’Challa’s ex Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), brought to vivid life by cinematographer Rachel Morrison. In this snippet, Okoye shows off the full power of the Dora Milaje tradition. It’s amazing to watch.
The soundtrack is badass
Coupled with some incredible songs from Kendrick Lamar, Ludwig Göransson manages to create a soundtrack that evokes all sorts of emotional tones and touchstones. Embedded within is the soul of Africa, with music coming from regions across the continent.
T’Challa is Wakanda’s true king
There is a reason why Ryan Coogler, of Creed and Fruitvale Station fame, was picked to oversee this project. Coogler’s forte lies with male characters figuring out their place in the world, and in Black Panther he brought that to the spotlight. T’Challa is a new king trying to fill big shoes: he has to deal with trauma in his family while also overseeing the vast responsibilities of ruling Wakanda. As such, Chadwick Boseman is an absolute knockout as the lead.
Black Panther has become a landmark not just for the superhero genre, but for modern filmmaking itself. A huge congrats to the cast & crew. Long live the king!