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Black Panther

Black Panther
Marvel Studios bring another comic book hero to the screen with their lavish 2018 spectacle Black Panther that succeeds for the most part, despite a rambling screenplay that takes way too long to get where it's going.

T'Challa is the newly crowned king of an African kingdom called Wakanda whose guilt about the crown consumes him because he is only king because he was unable to prevent his father's death. Not long after T'Challa assumes the throne, some Wakandan artifacts are stolen from a London Musuem by Erik Killmonger, who turns out to be T'Challa's cousin and the believed real heir to the throne of Wakanda.

Director and co-screenwriter Ryan Coogler puts loving detail into this production, starting with very detailed exposition explaining the relationship between T'Challa and Erik, only when it is happening, we don't really realize this is what's going on, so at the moment, it just seems like much to do about nothing. And the story does appear to have a spark of originality because the characters are black, but there is very little that goes on here that we haven't seen in other comic book movies, it's just that this time they're done in black face. Of course, the slick, high-tech gloss Coogler applies to his story helps to disguise a lot of this face.

The characters are pretty clear cut good guys and bad guys for the most part but one thing I loved about the characterizations here was the take on the female citizens of Wakanda...no meek, seen but not heard housewives here...the female characters in this movie are soldiers, bad ass soldiers whose dedication to their army and their country comes above everything else. I can't recall the last time I saw a movie filled with so many bad ass female characters.

Coogler's direction is dark and brooding, creating some dazzling cinematic pictures that will remain in the memory, thanks to amazing production values. The film is absolutely gorgeous to look at and features first rate art direction, sound editing, music, and costumes. Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan do star-making turns as T'Challa and Erik, respectively and there's also a scene stealing turn from Leticia Wright as T'Challa's little sister. It takes too long to get going, but once it does, there's definite entertainment here.