Wouldn’t it be nice to have flying hovercraft or zero-emission energy sources that can power a whole city?
by Tommy Duncan, Carrybeans
That was the first thought that came to my mind when I saw Wakanda, a fictional and tiny (yet awesomely high tech) African nation in the Marvel Universe. Sitting in the freezing cinema hall for one and a half hours on the second day of Chinese New Year for Black Panther? Totally worth it.
The film opens by taking us back to the time when King T’Chaka of Wakanda was killed (the ‘Vienna Explosion’ in Captain America: Civil War), his son and heir, Prince T’Challa, ascends the throne.
As the new king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has no choice but to face his personal battles as he leads this super tech-savvy yet hidden nation living in pure bliss, thanks to vibranium. Then, an old enemy resurfaces and a new one comes into play. Klaw (Andy Serkis) knows the power of the metal and wants it for himself, while Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) has an agenda all of his own.
If you aren’t familiar, vibranium is what Captain America’s shield is made of. Its powerful and malleable properties make it an exceptional resource, and Wakanda guards it fiercely. However, the outside world has found out about it and T’Challa is forced to act.
Together with a superb team comprising CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) and girl power duo Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira), T’Challa makes some big decisions to save the world from demise.
When really intrigued me throughout the whole movie is the amazing way Africa’s culture was showcased through modern machines, breathtaking scenery and impeccable fight scenes. Of course, everyone’s been talking about the carefully chosen cast, so I won’t elaborate further. But from costumes to weapons, soundtrack to linguistics, this entire film felt like a long-awaited introduction to Africa on the Hollywood stage.
Tribal music and colourful costumes designed by Ruth E. Carter doesn’t fail to bring out the Afrocentric element of this film. Weaponry was also carefully chosen, and that came through. As a sci-fi fan, I have to highlight the hi-tech equipment displayed, like the Black Panther suit that absorbs kinetic energy, vibranium car chase in South Korea and the plasma weapons. Totally geeking out here.
The plot was thick, intense and fast. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and achieved the intricate balance of good pace without chopping it up or leaving gaping holes in the storyline. The traditional fight scenes were beautiful. There were some slow scenes with more dialogue, but interesting enough for you not to check your phone.
Of course, Black Panther’s underlying message of selflessness for the greater good resonates strongly today. Against a backdrop of migration and racial issues, controversial immigration policies and the widening rich-poor divide, this film showcases Hollywood’s influence in global development and trends.
Honestly, I’m a Marvel fan. So call me biased, but I don’t see any reason why this movie should be missed (and I think the world would agree with me on this one). Kudos, director Ryan Coogler. With great satisfaction, we’re giving Black Panther a 9/10.
Here’s the trailer in case you’ve missed it.
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Featured Image Credit: Disney/Marvel