Critics are shouting "Wakanda forever!" in the first reviews for Marvel's groundbreaking superhero film.
"Black Panther" is off to a Vibranium-strong start.
The first reviews for the movie dropped at 9am PT Tuesday morning, with Rotten Tomatoes unveiling its Tomatometer score for the film shortly after -- and both are incredibly promising for Marvel fans. The movie launched with a 100 percent "fresh" rating from the review aggregator site. While that number will likely fluctuate as more reviews drop closer to the film's release, there's no denying that's a great place to start.
Directed by Ryan Coogler ("Creed") and starring Chadwick Boseman as the title Marvel superhero, the film is getting praise for its almost all-black cast, important themes, strong villain and its celebration of women in nearly all the early reviews. Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong'o also play prominent roles.
Here's what critics are saying so far. The movie hits theaters February 16.
"Black Panther" is a radically different kind of comic-book movie, one with a proud Afrocentric twist, featuring a nearly all-black cast, that largely ignores the United States and focuses instead on the fictional nation of Wakanda — and guess what: Virtually everything that distinguishes "Black Panther" from past Marvel pics works to this standalone entry’s advantage.
It not only holds its own, but improves on the formula in several key respects, from a politically engaged villain to an emotionally grounded final showdown.
Killmonger (Jordan) keeps his cards up his sleeve until relatively late in the film but emerges as the most satisfying comic-book adversary since Heath Ledger's Joker.
"Black Panther" celebrates its hero's heritage while delivering one of Marvel's most all-around appealing standalone installments to date.
With uncanny timing, Marvel takes its superheroes into a domain they've never inhabited before and is all the better for it in Black Panther.
There's a real and sustained sense of jeopardy for the kingdom and the fighting significantly involves the female warriors, who are very cool indeed. Just as he staged the boxing in Creed with intensity and invention, [Coogler] handles the more extensive face-off stuff here with freshness and brio, building to a tensely stirring climax.
Boseman certainly holds his own, but there are quite a few charismatic supporting players here keen to steal every scene they can — and they do, notably the physically imposing Jordan, the radiant Nyong'o and especially Wright, who gives her every scene extra punch and humor.
"Black Panther" is an epic that doesn't walk, talk or kick ass like any other Marvel movie – an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it.
What sneaks up and floors you is the film's racial conscience and profound, astonishing beauty. Not just a correction for years of diversity neglect, it's a big budget blockbuster that digs into the roots of blackness itself.
There aren't many superhero films that blow you away with thunderous effects and also tackle ethnic and gender issues, crush racial stereotypes, celebrate women and condemn Trump-era notions of exclusionism. It's easier and way more commercial to be oblivious. But that's not Coogler's style.
Jordan's kinetic Killmonger is no cat-stroking cartoon villain; he's a genuinely tragic figure, a self-appointed warden of social justice irreparably warped by the wrongs done to him.
[The women are] indomitable, and so gorgeously, vividly drawn that Boseman sometimes feels like a supporting player in his own story.
[Coogler] infuses nearly every frame with soul and style, and makes the radical case that a comic-book movie can actually have something meaningful — beyond boom or kapow or America — to say.
Marvel's "Black Panther" is the antidote to superhero movie fatigue.
"Black Panther" features all the right ingredients to become one of the most successful superhero films of all time. It's injected with fresh vigor, a laser-focus on character, a not-so-subtle tinge of politics, vivid world building and a jaw-dropping stellar cast.
This is certainly the most woke superhero film to date. Beneath the expected genre clichés, Coogler provides a flourish to a number of current political and social issues ranging from border security and the refugee crisis to inequality and black empowerment.
It is ultimately the truly sensational cast that holds "Black Panther" strong, especially the trio of Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright, who tear down about a half dozen superhero conventions with the strongest, best-realized female roles in this genre to date.
Te best origin vehicle for the mighty Marvel brand since Guardians of the Galaxy.
Played brilliantly by Jordan, Killmonger is the standout villain that Marvel movies have sorely needed: an enemy who feels of our time, with understandable motives and a potentially Earth-shaking scheme born out of revenge and resentment.
Superhero movies have long needed this kind of representation in terms of men and women of color, and for black audiences, "Black Panther" will undoubtedly be as culturally significant in the way it addresses subjects of identity, race and gender as "Wonder Woman" was to female fans.
"Black Panther" isn't just a crowd-pleasing superhero movie (though it is that for sure), it's a vital moment in cinema history and a heartfelt, thoughtful exploration of the scars of colonialism and the hope for healing.
This movie is a game-changer, and for all the valid critiques you can throw at Marvel, the studio deserves credit for bankrolling Coogler's fearless vision.
There is so much heart, and heartbreak, in Black Panther. There’s empowerment and pride. This is a movie that cuts deep and with the preternatural finesse of a filmmaking wizard, Coogler tackles some of the most painful, politically explosive subject matter of all time and folds it into a wildly successful piece of action entertainment so that the two aspects of the film become inseparable.
For a film that touches on so many very real and very serious topics, you might expect "Black Panther" to be an entirely solemn affair. Some parts are, but it's also an entertaining adventure film about an action hero with awesome gadgets and a super-suit, a fun film with many laugh-out loud moments, and a gorgeous movie with a distinctive visual style that can't be mistaken for any other big-budget movie.
The best villains are said to be the ones the audience can sympathize with, and Killmonger certainly fits that bill. He is the strongest villain (figuratively speaking) the MCU has produced since Loki.
A variety of topics – isolationism, the haves and have nots, social justice, and the legacy of colonialism – all add up to make this the most timely, political, and important Marvel movie to date.