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Black Panther

Black Panther (2018)

I've been somewhat of a fan of this character since he was in the Marvel comic book, but I confess my like of him came more from the look (the suit) of the character and his fighting abilities. I didn't receive a lot of exposition from the comics I read about his homeland and people. I mostly read his exploits when they had Marvel "Team-Ups." So, the introduction to his home of Wakanda in Africa was a real eye-opener in the best sense. This was a world-building movie but don't let that put you off at all. Everyone has a beginning but not every character in the Marvel canon gets a trio of movies or a stand-alone movie where their background is introduced. I'm glad they gave Black Panther his own film. The land of Wakanda (the hidden part) is magnificent and the visuals just pop on the screen. I thought the first fifteen minutes or so moved a little slow, but all of a sudden, I was in this world and enjoying everything in it. The sequence where T'Challa / Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman} becomes KIng T'Challa and is challenged, from start to finish, was just splendid. All the different tribes standing in the side of the cliff openings, wearing the multi-colored robes and gowns, above the waterfalls where the challenge fight took place, was just beautiful. I honestly wished it had lasted longer.

Wakanda is also highly technologically advanced and has been for a long time. The main tech in the city is T'Challa's own younger sister, Shuri (Letetia Wright), who steals a lot of the scenes she's in by bringing a sense of humor to the proceedings and a bit of disregard for tradition. The major resource for the Wakandans is the metal Vibranium, the same material that Captain America's shield is made of. Everything in the city is powered by it and it is ingrained into Black Panther's suit and makes him nearly invulnerable. But, some bad guys, led by Andy Serkis in a scene-chewing role, steal some Vibranium and try to sell it to interested parties. This part of the movie is almost like a James Bond film, where Shuri plays the "Q" role, fixing her brother up with a necklace that he needs only to hit a claw hanging from, and instant suit! Plus, various nefarious (hey, that rhymed) parties gathering at a casino in Korea to bid on the stolen resource.

There is a mysterious player in the proceedings, played with bitter viciousness by Michael B. Jordan, in a very well-acted role. He comes to be T'Challa's worst enemy. Martin Freeman is back from Captain America: Civil War as CIA Agent Everett K. Ross, who turns out to be an invaluable help in the final battle, with a major ground war occurring between tribes. Danai Gurira is super as Okoye, the chief of the King's personal guard and a total bad ass with a spear. I loved this character and Gurira's performance. Lupita Nyong'o is luminous as T'Challa's one-time love who wants to help needy people on the outside of the hidden Wakanda even if it means exposing their secrets. Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker are on hand as, respectively, T'Challa's mother and his most-trusted advisor.

There are awesome chases with real cars and flying vehicles being controlled by virtual reality doubles in the lab. There are fights galore and some gunfights. I could go on forever but I feel I've already enthused about this movie enough. If you haven't seen it, try to catch it at the cinema. I'm glad I did as the big screen was just filled with amazing Marvel wonder.