3 1/2 stars
Black Panther, one of the most highly anticipated Marvel instalments has finally been released, and critics are torn.
Yes, this is the first Marvel film with an almost entirely black cast, and sure they needed to treat the subject with caution, but I really don’t see the problem.
Of course, the story is going to take on the touchy subject of inequality, these are the times we live in, but I’m pleased to inform audiences that they didn’t just make this a black versus white agenda, inequality was shone a bright torch for people of colour, as well as gender inequality and also spoke on the subject of the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor.
We are reintroduced to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the newly crowned king of the imaginary African tribe called Wakanda who centuries ago were the recipients of a magical meteor chock full of Vibranium, a metal that has many scientific and mystical qualities.
Rather than share their wealth and knowledge, the people of Wakanda chose to develop a secret country of advanced technology and resources and hide from the world.
When T’Challa was thrust into the place of the king after his beloved father was tragically killed in Captain America: Civil War, he had a great presence to replace.
In this latest film, the new king needs to prove his mettle to not only the four tribes that support and benefit from the Wakandan spoils, but also to the one tribe that turned their backs and retreated to the mountains.
And if that is not enough, he also has a long-lost nemesis (Michael B Jordan) he is totally unaware of that threatens not only his right to the throne, but also the safety of the entire world.
His inner circle of guards are some of the most skilled and mighty warriors on earth, but they also happen to be incredibly strong and powerful women who are loyal to a fault.
The only two white people in the film are the ultimate evil guy who wants to use their Vibranium to create weapons, while the other is the bumbling American serviceman who does his best to prove that given a chance we can all work together to make the world a better place.
Now, we can take this film for what it is trying to be, a bringer of a well-timed message walking a very thin tightrope, or we can suggest it is trying too hard.
Either way this film will be remembered and discussed at length, and either hated or loved depending on what side of the coin the viewer sits on.
But one thing is certain, this film needed to be made, and the time was ripe.
It is far from the usual witty fast-paced norm we are used to with Marvel thus far, but given the essential need to treat this type of film with an amount of seriousness so as not to make a spoofy hack at the very heavy subject matter, I feel they have done a very good job and should be applauded.