[*** stars / *****]
Distinct from all preceding MCU movies, Black Panther rocks because of its never-seen-before African setting, the accent fun, the lovely all-black lead cast, and thankfully not going for a "wanna end the world" villain. We have seen too much of that.
The human emotions plumbed in the story makes the plot very relatable.A king brother ends up killing his sibling that leads to consequences in the next generation is a sturdy family entanglement tale.
There are some great jokes, the overall tone is engaging, the action sequences could have been faster and fiercer. Wakanda, the myth of an advanced country hiding behind Africa's impoverished exterior makes for great optimism. Wakanda as a city doesn't get explored as much though.
The grounded tone and performances add to the texture. Chadwick Boseman suits the righteous title character, while Micheal B Jordan is a perfect foil as the villain. Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Dania Gunra as Okoye are brilliant and pitch-perfect, adding to the film's unique vibrant quality.Winston Duke is a hoot as a rival tribesman, Martin Freeman plays an American agent with usual efficiency.
Though the film doesn't go for character depth, we get a breezy run through, making for consistently engaging viewing.
Black Panther has a rare quite charm that comic book movies seldom have.
That is why, despite lacking anything irresistibly impressive, Black Panther works at many levels to make it a satisfying watch.