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Review: Black Panther – “Like nothing we have seen on screen before”

Ryan Coogler directs the much-anticipated latest Marvel movie: Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up) is back as the title character, after his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, while Coogler’s lucky charm – Michael B. Jordan – returns for a third time to work with the director after the two’s previous pair ups on Fruitvale Station and Creed.

T’Challa (Boseman) is still getting used to being the King of Wakanda – following his father’s passing in Civil War – but he wisely decides to surround himself with family and friends he trusts and to be open to advice and assistance, as well as confident in forging his and Wakanda path forwards. But while he is still finding his feet as Wakanda’s ruler and protector a defiant menace from the past threatens to immediately usurp him.

Jordan plays Erik Killmonger, an angry and frustrated young man who wants vengeance on the country of Wakanda after the death of his father and his subsequent abandonment at a young age. He enlists mercenary-with-a-laser-cannon-in-his-arm Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to help him get his hands on some vibranium, and stage a Wakandan coup that will leave him in control, on the throne, and able to use the country’s cutting-edge technology to aid the powerless.

Jordan is excellent, and, after Cate Blanchett’s Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, all talk of Marvel’s “villain problem” must be silenced. For the most part, Killmonger doesn’t even feel like a villain – his motivation and aims are not just relatable, but correct and totally understandable. Only his bad attitude, methods and the bumps on his skin (one for every person he has killed) signal that he is actually a bad egg.

After some thrilling Bond-esque espionage and action scenes that see T’Challa tracking Claue and co. out of his super suit, and battling them in it in a high-speed South Korean car chase, we get to see that not only does Boseman have the wisdom and regal poise of a King, but also the tremendous athleticism of the Panther.

When Killmonger arrives at Wakanda seeking vengeance and the throne, all cocky swagger and french tickler skin, the scene is set for a series of battles between two very different leaders and ideologies in a breath-taking world that combines science-fiction and African culture to create an ambitious impressive and beautiful Afro-futurism.

This eye-popping style carries through the awesome costumes and beautiful sets that are full of life, colour and tech that makes Tony Stark look like he works in Kwik Fit. The blend of this applied science with tribal weapons and battles full of rhinos and warrior women makes for action and adventure that is literally like nothing we have seen on screen before, peopled by an amazing array of positively-portrayed black talent.

Augmenting this is a killer soundtrack curated and contributed to by Kendrick Lemar that throbs and bangs throughout, making Black Panther not just unlike anything else, but also way cooler than everything else. Wakanda forever.

Black Panther is released in the UK on the 13th of February.

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