Black Panther

Black Panther ★★★★½

MCU Smackdown

MCU #18: I wanna live in Wakanda!

Black Panther has so many things going for it, one of which being a fantastic setting in Africa with the hidden technology city of Wakanda. Living in (certain parts) of Africa would be fantastic. Having visited five countries there, it has unimaginable beauty. Combine that with cutting edge technology and a (mostly) peaceful monarchy and it seems like a pretty euphoric place to live (at least to me.)

Black Panther hits on all cylinders under the deft guidance of writer/director Ryan Coogler who excelled in Fruitvale Station and the Creed movies. His task was much harder given the world building that had to be achieved to introduce all the elements of Wakanda (culture, dress, warfare, politics, etc.).

The casting is stellar. Chadwick Boseman, God rest his soul, is the Black Panther to the T. It's hard to watch him perform without getting sad thinking about his recent passing. Michael Jordan brings his swagger from Creed and is thankfully a more grounded villain than we are used to. The supporting cast is huge and are all excellent, including Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

The final battle scenes are epic -- little did we know that it was giving us a taste of what was to come in Avengers: Infinity War.

This reminded me of that goose-pimply feeling I sometimes get when watching the original Lion King. Wakanda just felt like a similar place of family and tribal connections, openness and forgiveness. Or maybe it's just a primal recognition in our genes of a shared ancestry with Africa, whether that is 100,000 thousand to a million years ago.

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