Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Written by : Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letita Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis
Review by Nikki Alfaro
Since his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, audiences everywhere have been highly anticipating Black Panther’s solo movie which has, since it’s release earlier this year, been a critical and box office hit. If you haven’t seen it by now, first of all: what’s wrong?!? Secondly, you’re in luck because it is now available both digitally and on Blu-Ray.
The movie pretty much follows right after Civil War with T’Challa going home to claim his birthright as king of Wakanda and Black Panther. As a country that has been hidden from the world for centuries, T’Challa faces even tougher choices now as the country’s leader and protector. With threats like the M’Baku, Ulysses Klaue, and Erik Killmonger, the challenges he face in this movie are impactful and thoughtful in ways that most other MCU movies never reach. The themes and conflicts are so relevant and reflective of the world today. Tradition vs. Modernity is one of the main themes, if not the main theme and it is one that is beautifully interwoven in the characters.
Speaking of the characters, Black Panther has one of the most incredible casts in an MCU movie I’ve ever seen and Michael B. Jordan is an obvious standout performer, making Killmonger one of the best villains in the MCU. A solid supporting cast makes or breaks a superhero film and between Shuri and M’Baku and Nakia and Okoye and I can just mention everybody on the supporting cast list because they brought so much to the film. This is especially true about the women. Ramonda, played by the ever-elegant Angela Bassett, is T’Challa’s mother and the subtle backbone of their family and Wakanda. Letitia Wright as the playful and brilliant Shuri is his sister is just as strong in her innovative technological engineering as T’Challa is with his fighting prowess. Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira as Nakia and Okoye respectively and although they are both warriors in their own light, they are not interchangeable. Nakia is a spy who lives outside of Wakanda and knows the good they can do for the world and Okoye is the leader of the Dora Milaje, the greatest warrior and general under the king. To be honest, the strength of this film can be directly derived from the women. They are what Wakanda is and what they could and should be.
Going into this review, I thought I would watch the special features first before rewatching the movie, and it definitely changed my viewing experience. The love and care the whole production team and cast put into this film just bubbles whenever they talk about it.
There are four featurettes that talk about T’Challa, Wakanda, the warrior women in the movie, and the technology introduced. All of which provide excellent behind the scenes looks into the production of Black Panther. The deleted scenes add some insight into characters but ultimately, I understood why they were cut out. Still, they are worth the watch. The gag reel is amazing and my only complaint is that it was way too short. The special features also include a panel with Christopher Priest, Don McGregor, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Joe Robert Cole, Nate Cole (Executive Producer of the film), and Ryan Coogler as they discuss the pop culture impact and effect of Black Panther through the years.
Black Panther Blu-ray Special Features:
- 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
- Gag Reel
- Exclusive Sneak Peek at “Ant-Man and The Wasp”
- Marvel Studios the First Ten Years: Connecting the Universe
Buy. If you’ve already seen this movie in theatres, you don’t need me to go on about how fantastic the film is, nor would I go through a lengthy review outlining the events in the film. The one question that I should address here is whether or not it’s worth purchasing. My answer is yes. I briefly wondered if the movie would feel a little less epic on the small screen as opposed to the big theatres but that was definitely not the case. Black Panther is still just as beautiful and vibrant as it was when I first saw it opening weekend.