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Synopsis:

The global cultural phenomenon of “Black Panther” has dominated the box office charts emerging as the third biggest movie of all time domestically with over $665 million – the first film in eight years to spend five weeks at No. 1 – and rising to the global top 10 of all time with over $1.3 billion. In the acclaimed film, T’Challa returns home to the hidden high-tech African nation of Wakanda to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king, following the death of his father. But when a man named Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) appears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he’s drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Pitted against his own family, the king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and embrace his future as an Avenger.

What We Thought:

Black Panther is my favorite film of the year so far. I first saw it at the theater and looking at the box office numbers, you probably did too. It’s one of the biggest films of all time.

What separates this film from other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies is Michael B. Jordan’s character, Erik Killmonger Stevens. Killmonger is the MCU’s first fully developed villain. Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War gets a full arc, but Killmonger came first. In fact, unlike Thanos, you probably root for Killmonger at some point in Black Panther. I did and I know others who did as well. Not only do you understand why he becomes the “bad guy” against Black Panther and Wakanda, but his development makes so much sense and is full of reason that you might think he’s actually right.

What I also liked about the film is that it’s funny and uses comedy right. I’m one of the few people who did not like Thor: Ragnarok. People thought it was funny and I simply didn’t. Its comedic elements did not work for me. This did. Letitia Wright plays Shuri, T’Challa’ sister, and pretty much steals the film. For every joke that missed in Thor: Ragnarok, it landed in Black Panther. Shuri is a mix of James Bond’s Q (the technology and gadget person) and Rod from Get Out, the wise cracking sidekick. Danai Gurira has to play the straight-faced tough character with Lupita Nyong’o the love interest so Wright gets most of the comedic relief. She has some pretty fantastic back & forths with Martin Freeman which makes me hope both characters return in future MCU films.

The Blu-ray has some fantastic bonus features and the film looks great in HD. The deleted scenes and gag reel are fantastic. There is a sneak peek at Ant-Man and The WASP and a look back at the past 10 years of MCU movies.

I’m white so I’m coming at Black Panther from a totally different point of view than some of the people who will be buying it. I see it as a MCU film because I’m a comic nerd. I didn’t feel bad about myself afterwards nor did I feel preached to. I simply had a good time. I walked away thinking about socio-economics more than anything else. Jordan’s character talks about rich vs. poor and wants his revenge because of it. Coogler and Chadwick Boseman give us a blockbuster comic book movie first and foremost and slide in messages without us realizing it. That’s a pretty genius way of tackling issues.

Highly Recommended!

BONUS MATERIAL:

  • Director’s Intro
  • From Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion – Delve into the film’s making
  • Crowning of a New King – Explore the world of “Black Panther” in all its color and complexity
  • The Warriors Within – Get to know Wakanda’s women and the actors who portray them
  • The Hidden Kingdom Revealed – Wakanda’s diverse people
  • Wakanda Revealed: Exploring the Technology
  • Deleted Scenes
    • U.N. Meet and Greet
    • Okoye And W’Kabi Discuss the Future of Wakanda
    • T’Challa Remembers His Father
    • Voices from the Past
  • Gag Reel
  • Exclusive Sneak Peek at “Ant-Man and The Wasp”
  • Marvel Studios the First Ten Years: Connecting the Universe
  • Director’s Commentary

Cast & Crew:

  • Director Ryan Coogler
  • Chadwick Boseman
  • Michael B. Jordan
  • Lupita Nyong’o
  • Danai Gurira
  • Martin Freeman
  • Daniel Kaluuya
  • Letitia Wright
  • Winston Duke
  • Angela Bassett
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Andy Serkis

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