Black Panther: Quite possibly a masterpiece

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By: Giovanni Solano, Staff Writer

The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Black Panther, is unsurprisingly a huge hit and quite possibly a masterpiece. This is not another action movie, non-stop comedy or a paint-by-numbers film. This is a film with depth and meaning.

The movie follows T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, as he ascends to the throne of Wakanda, an isolationist and technologically-advanced African country that hid itself from the world as a third-world country of farmers.
But T’Challa’s place as both king and Black Panther is threatened when an outsider challenges his claim and threatens to plunge the world into war.

Despite the name of the film, Black Panther is not a solo film, but rather an ensemble film with a lot of great characters with equally great characteristics to bring them to life. Boseman’s stoicism is perfect for the new Wakandan king, as he struggles with decisions of tradition, progress and the type of king he must be for his country. Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o is fantastic as Nakia, a Wakandan spy, fierce warrior and T’Challa’s love interest. The chemistry between the two is more believable than in other Marvel films.

Andy Serkis is a delight as Ulysses Klaue, a South African arms dealer, smuggler and enemy of Wakanda. It’s so rare to see him deliver a performance that isn’t motion-captured, and it seems he’s having fun with it.
Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Erik Killmonger is fantastic. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler created a complicated and three-dimensional villain, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Loki made his debut in 2011’s Thor. And it’s no surprise that Jordan may be the best actor in this movie. Both Jordan and Coogler worked together on Fruitvale Station and Creed.

Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s 16-year-old sister, technological genius and princess of Wakanda, was a laugh riot. Most of the memorable lines in this movie belong to either her or Killmonger.
She left such a good impression with fans that the internet has unofficially declared her to be the best Disney princess.
Despite its c
ritics saying Wakanda doesn’t exist, the country feels lived in and real. The film has beautiful scenery, set design and costumes. A lot of Wakanda is inspired from African culture not just visually, but also aurally. The Wakandans speak in Xhosa, a South African language characterized by clicks and glottal stops and the Dora Milaje, the all-women royal guard, have a musical cue based on a group of women in Senegal.

My only problem with the film is that there wasn’t enough time spent with the rest of the cast to develop their characters more. Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira and Winston Duke each gave a wonderful performance. I would have loved to see what the original four-hour cut of the film looked like.